Companies fall down on accident investigation

Many employers do not have adequate procedures for assessing
the causes of workplace accidents according to new research from the Health and
Safety Executive.

It shows that there is no common model for incident
investigation and companies employ a range of ad-hoc and largely unstructured approaches.

The HSE study finds that the likelihood of a more
comprehensive or sophisticated method for incident investigation increased in
proportion to the size of the company.

“Prime responsibility for accidents lies with duty holders,
primarily employers. Common sense suggests that if lessons are to be learned
from accidents, then their underlying causes should be understood,” said Karen
Clayton of HSE’s operations unit.

The HSE estimates that businesses could save £600 million
per year in preventable accidents if every single reportable incident that is
currently not investigated by employers was investigated and acted upon.

The HSE is currently carrying out a consultation with a wide
range of stakeholders on proposals for a new duty to investigate accidents,
dangerous occurrences and diseases. The closing date for comments on the
consultation document is 3 September 2001.

By Katie Hawkins

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