Learning from the Unexpected

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Learning from the Unexpected

Taking the time to learn from past experiences is one of the most important steps you can take toward preventing work-related injury. It is essential for effective safety management.

Whenever there is an incident (such as an accident or close call), try to learn from it so that it doesn’t happen again. While memories are still fresh, find the root causes of the problem, and then address them.

Find out what happened......and also how and why it happened – get the big picture:

  • Take control of the scene
  • Check the equipment/materials involved
  • Protect the scene to preserve evidence – rescue work is the only exception
  • Take pictures of the scene
  • Interview witnesses and keep notes. Get written statements from those involved
  • Find out the root cause(s)
  • Write down corrections you need to make
  • Follow-up promptly and address the causes

Employers are required by law to formally investigate incidents that:

  • Resulted in serious injury to a worker or the death of a worker
  • Resulted in injury to a worker requiring medical treatment, or
  • Had the potential to cause serious injury

For detailed information and resources for investigating and learning from incidents please go to the module on Incident Investigations.

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