Office of Procedures, Records, and Forms Safety Policies and Procedures Manual

GENERAL WORKPLACE SAFETY
2.26
Revised 1-08
Reviewed 7-13

For more information contact:
   Environmental Health and Safety
   509-335-3041

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Investigating Accidents

Forms:

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:Contact Investigating Office: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 occupantsResidence Life--Central Staff509-339-0285
USDA-ARS employeesUSDA-ARS Safety, Health, and Environmental Management Office509-335-7766
All other employees (including student employees / Volunteers

EH&SIn 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, 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.

<h5Non-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 1). 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 Preserving the Site 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:

  • An employee involved in a minor occupational accident is unable to work the subsequent full shift due to a resulting illness or injury, or
  • The employee receives medical treatment, or
  • Events and conditions involving a near miss or noninjury accident indicate there was a high probability of serious injury, illness or significant property damage.
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 SPPM 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 SPPM 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 to obtain copies.

Attach the Witness/Injured Person Statement to the Supervisor’s Accident Investigation Report.

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.

Obtain copies of the Supervisor’s Accident Investigation Report by completing and/or printing the form master.

Routing

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

  • Original — Human Resource Services (HRS) (mail code 1014)

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

    Human Resource Services 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 Risk Management Services.

  • Copy — Dean of Students, if the injured party is a student
  • Copy — Unit administrator
  • Copy — Unit safety committee chair

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

  • Copy — Departmental office files
Assistance

Contact EH&S at 509-335-3041 if assistance is required in conducting an accident investigation or completing the report.