Occ Health: Incident investigation and management

INCIDENT INVESTIGATION AND MANAGEMENT

DEFINITION OF INCIDENTS
Work-related events in which an injury/ill health occured or potentially could occur. There are two types of incidents namely accidents in which injury did occur and “near-misses” in which an injury could potentially have occured

DEFINITION OF ACCIDENTS
Accident is an incident arising out of or in the course of an employee’s employment and resulting in personal injury (and/or damage to property, production losses or increased liabilities). Personal injury can include the injury of workers, contractors, public, students, visitors or interns. Personal injury falls within the scope of occupational health where-as damages to property, production losses and increased liabilities fall under the auspices of the Safety Department

DEFINITION OF A NEAR-MISS
Work-related incidents in which an injury / ill health nearly occured or potentially could have occured

PURPOSE OF INCIDENT INVESTIGATION
– Identification of root causes of incidents , primary causes and secondary causes
– To comply with legal requirements (OHSA,COIDA and regulations)
– Determine compliance with standardised operational procedures (SOPs)
– Updating risk assessments
– Uncover claims

CAUSES OF ACCIDENTS
– Lack of control (failure of management systems)… Was induction done? Was training performed according to job skills matrix? Where is the training schedule? Is there proof of training compliance?
– Workplace factors (physical conditions of the work environment)
– Unsafe conditions (inferior standards and/or work practices)
– Personal factors (factors that are inherent to the employees themselves)
– Unsafe acts (employee acts that are wilfully or unwilfully negligent). These acts are due to lack of knowledge and experience or due to non-compliance to set standards

Accident investigations can only be done properly if the injured as well as supervisors are interviewed.

COMPARISON BETWEEN A MEDICAL EXAMINATION AND INCIDENT INVESTIGATION

MEDICAL EXAM VERSUS ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION

Subjective (symptoms) vs Telephonic report
Objective (signs)  vs Accident scene exam
Assessment versus Identify root cause
Plan for versus Plan for recovery
Prescription versus Implementation
Follow-up versus Re-evaluate

ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS
The basic components of root cause analysis is
– Man
– Machine
– Method
– Material
– Environment
– Management

MANAGEMENT
No or poor management involvement
Lack of or insuffient risk assessment
Training or education lacking
Poor employee involvement
Poor recognition of hazard
Previously identified hazards weren’t eliminated

METHODS
No or poor procedures
Practices are not the same as written procedures
Poor communication

MACHINE / EQUIPMENT
Incorrect tool selection
Poor maintenance or design
Poor equipment or tool placement
Defective equipment or tool

MAN
Inadequate capability
Lack of knowledge
Lack of skill
Stress
Improper motivation

MATERIALS
Defective raw material
Wrong material for the job
Lack of raw materials

ENVIRONMENT
Orderly workplace
Job design or layout of work
Surfaces poorly maintained
Physical demands of the task

Many incidents occur because employees don’t apply their minds.
Four stages of alertness or mindfulness
– Stage    Green    Oblivious
– Stage    Yellow   Aware
– Stage    Orange  Alert
– Stage    Red        Engaged

There are many factors that can affect mindfulness or alertness, such as physical or mental disease, psychological problems to to home or work stressors, drug and alcohol abuse, fatigue, shift-work, mental burnout, unhealthy nutritional patterns, over-exertion, distractions during active procedures and many other health impairments.