Accident Investigation for General Liability

Purpose:

The purpose of an accident investigation is hazard detection: to identify the cause factors of the accident or mishap and the damage and/or injury occurring in the course of the mishap. Cause factors of accidents and cause factors of injuries and damage occurring in the course of an accident can be two different matters. Both, however, are the subject of the accident investigation. Other important reasons for conducting accident investigations include determination of the extent of damage and injury, and demonstration of the company’s commitment to safety.

Accident Causes:

A major precept of good investigation is to consider every possible cause or factor that may have contributed to the accident. Even if the available evidence seems to point conclusively to one cause, all the factors that led or contributed to this cause must be revealed and properly categorized. Whether the apparent probable cause is mechanical or human failure, it is imperative that every factor that could even remotely be considered a possible cause be studied and analyzed.

Obviously, this approach will result in more work and will often lead to a prolonged investigation, a bulky report, and perhaps a degree of speculation. Nevertheless, this method has proven to be sound. The proper classification of cause factors as “primary” or “contributory” after they have been revealed by thorough investigation cannot be overstressed.

Conclusions Based Upon Facts:

The conclusions of an accident investigation must be based on factual information. A degree of speculation and intuition is often helpful to an accident board in its efforts to follow every possible lead and conduct a thorough and complete investigation.

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