Employers fail to learn by their mistakes

Employers are not investigating accidents properly and so are failing to
learn the lessons they need to improve health and safety in the workplace, the
Health and Safety Executive has warned.

A study by the executive, Accident Investigation – the Drivers, Methods and
Outcomes, has found that:

– Employers do not have a common model for accident investigation,
preferring to employ a range of approaches to accident investigation that are
largely unstructured and ad hoc

– Most firms provide little or no support for incident investigation

– The bigger the company, the more likely it is to have a comprehensive or
sophisticated method for incident investigation

– The person driving an investigation can have a major impact on the
approach adopted, an influence that can be moderated by a robust support structure

– The majority of companies still consider they have a structured approach,
despite the limitations of many investigations

Karen Clayton, of the HSE’s operations unit, said: "A great deal of
potential learning about the causes of accidents and their prevention is not
taking place.

"Proper investigation is important to update workplace risk
assessments, and provides employers with an opportunity to review and change
working practices."

The survey assessed 1,500 cases by telephone followed by 100 face-to-face
interviews

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