Washington State University
SAFETY POLICIES AND PROCEDURES MANUAL

GENERAL WORKPLACE SAFETY
2.26
Revised 1-08
Reviewed 7-13
Environmental Health and Safety
335-3041

Investigating Accidents

PDF link

OVERVIEW

The investigation of accidents and near misses is an essential part of the University's accident prevention program. A thorough investigation reconstructing the chain of events leading to an accident or near miss identifies unsafe acts and conditions requiring corrective action. An accident investigation and subsequent implementation of the corrective action minimizes the potential for future accidents.

INVESTIGATING MAJOR ACCIDENTS

Personnel from the offices indicated in the table below investigate major accidents resulting in death, serious injury (i.e., fractures, amputations) or in-patient hospitalization of WSU personnel and notify other appropriate University units and/or request assistance as needed.

If Injured Persons are: Investigating Office: Contact Telephone:

Students nonemployees /
Visitors

 

 

PRIMARY: Risk Management

 

SECONDARY: Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S)

509-335-6893 during business hours;
208-835-8200 after business hours

In Whitman County:
    509-335-3041 during business hours;
    911 after business hours
Outside of Whitman County:
    509-332-2521 (24 hours/day)

Residence hall occupants Residence Life--Central Staff 509-339-0285
USDA-ARS employees USDA-ARS Safety, Health, and Environmental Management Office 509-335-7766
All other employees (including student employees /
Volunteers

Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S)

In Whitman County:
    509-335-3041 during business hours;
    911 after business hours
Outside of Whitman County:
    509-332-2521 (24 hours/day)

Offices that investigate major accidents are responsible for ensuring that investigators are trained and that investigations are documented, in accordance with the University's Internal Investigations Training and Policy, EPM EP26. Exception: The USDA-ARS Safety, Health, and Environmental Management Office follows federal U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Worker's Compensation Program investigation requirements.

Non-Pullman Locations, All Injured Persons

The local Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) unit takes the lead in major accident investigations at non-Pullman locations and coordinates with appropriate WSU Pullman departments. (See table above.) If no EH&S staff are assigned to a specific location, the chief administrator assigns investigation responsibility to a trained local investigator and/or coordinates with Pullman departments.

Law Enforcement

Law enforcement personnel may also investigate major accidents resulting in death or serious injury. When appropriate, law enforcement personnel may direct the removal of equipment from non-work-related accidents. (See below regarding removal of equipment from work-related accidents.)

INVESTIGATING WORK-RELATED ACCIDENTS

Responsibilities

Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) >

The local Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) unit investigates all major accidents resulting in death, serious injury (i.e., fractures, amputations) or in-patient hospitalization of WSU personnel.

The local EH&S unit may investigate minor injury accidents and near misses.

Supervisor

The responsible supervisor conducts an investigation and completes a Supervisor's Accident Investigation Report when:

Unit Administrator

The unit administrator is responsible for reviewing the Supervisor's Accident Investigation Report and initiating and implementing corrective action to prevent accident reoccurrence.

The unit administrator may conduct an independent investigation if circumstances warrant.

Safety Committees

Safety committees may assist in the investigation of accidents and near misses. See 2.12 for more about safety committees.

USDA Safety Office

The USDA Occupational Health and Safety Specialist from the USDA Safety Office investigates all major accidents resulting in death, serious injury (i.e., fractures, amputations) or in-patient hospitalization of USDA-ARS employees.

Accident Investigation

Reporting

The supervisor, upon notification of an occupational injury or illness, reports the incident. See 2.24 for reporting procedures.

USDA-ARS Units

USDA-ARS units follow federal U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Worker's Compensation Program reporting requirements.

Preserving the Site

The supervisor is to ensure that the accident site is preserved as it was when the accident occurred. Equipment involved in a major accident is not to be moved unless it is necessary for victim removal or accident prevention. An EH&S representative authorizes removal of equipment involved in a major accident.

Investigation

The supervisor is to immediately investigate a minor accident. The objective of an investigation is to determine the accident cause. After the cause is determined, the supervisor is to provide recommendations for corrective action to the unit administrator. The corrective actions should eliminate or minimize the potential of reoccurrence.

Participants

Investigation participants may include the immediate supervisor of the injured employee, witnesses, an employee representative, and any other person with the special expertise to evaluate the facts relating to the cause of the accident.

During the investigation the supervisor should interview injured or ill employees and witnesses.

Witness/Injured Person Statement

The injured person and witnesses must complete a Witness/Injured Person Statement. Complete and/or print the form master on page 2.26.6 to obtain copies of the Witness/Injured Person Statement.

Attach the Witness/Injured Person Statement to the Supervisor's Accident Investigation Report (see below).

Evaluation Factors

Refer to the Supervisor's Accident Investigation Report for factors to evaluate during an accident investigation.

Supervisor's Accident Investigation Report

After the investigation and within 48 hours of the incident, the supervisor completes a Supervisor's Accident Investigation Report. Complete this form when one or more of the criteria listed under "Supervisor" applies. See above.

Obtain copies of the Supervisor's Accident Investigation Report by completing and/or printing the form master on page 2.26.5.

Routing

The department routes the Supervisor's Accident Investigation Report as follows:

Indicate the date of the Incident Report (see 2.24) and the name of the injured party.

HRS retains the original and forwards a copy of the Supervisor's Accident Investigation Report and any other attachments to EH&S.

If applicable HRS forwards a copy of the Supervisor's Accident Investigation Report to the Office of Risk Management.

The safety committee reviews the incident and forwards any recommendations to the unit administrator.

Assistance

Contact EH&S at 335-3041 if assistance is required in conducting an accident investigation or completing the report.

See the PDF forms:
2.26.5: Supervisor's Accident Investigation Report
2.26.6: Witness/Injured Person Statement
Complete and/or print as needed.