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What is the worksite accident investigation process?


When a work accident happens or nearly happens, it can be a stressful event for employees and the employer at the worksite. Whether a serious worksite incident occurs or there is a close call, it is essential that proper investigation is carried out to understand what happened and to avoid similar incidents in the future. Workers in West Virginia and other states across the nation should be aware of the worksite accident investigation process employers should follow in these matters.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, it is strongly encouraged that employers investigate all incidents that injured a workers or nearly injured a worker. This could uncover the conditions that caused the work accident. Additionally, this could also highlight the chances of workers being injured if the circumstances at the worksite had been slightly different.

Investigating a worksite accident means understanding the conditions that caused a fatality, injury, illness or a close call incident in the work environment. This does not only help employees and their loved ones seeking compensation through a workers' compensation claim, but it also helps identify any hazards in the operations occurring at the workplace and any shortcomings in the safety and health programs used.

When a workplace accident results in an injured worker, it is important to understand whether a work procedure or safety rule was not followed, and if so, why it was not followed. Additionally, this could also uncover inadequate or out-of-date safety training, procedures and equipment.

The ultimate goal of worksite accident investigation is to determine the cause of the incident and what actions could be done to prevent future incidents. If the negligence of an employer is the cause of the injury or illness suffered by a worker, he or she should understand that they have recourses that not only hold the employer responsible but also helps the worker obtain compensation for the losses and damages suffered.

Source: Osha.gov, "Incident Investigation," accessed Dec. 21, 2015

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