One of the best predictors of a future workplace injury is one that has already happened or one that almost happened (near miss). Thoroughly investigate all workplace accidents and near misses and involve your employees too. They can provide a unique perspective as to why something happened. Being on the front line, employees can witness accidents. Our Accident/Near Miss Investigation Checklist can help you document your findings.
Your investigation should always dig down to the root cause or causes of the accident or near miss. Sure, an employee might have taken a shortcut to get the job done. But, there may also have been a malfunction in a piece of equipment that wasn’t caught, or a safety precaution hadn’t been implemented yet. And, always investigate a near miss the same way you would for a workplace injury. You might be able to identify a hazard and make changes before someone gets hurt.
Documentation is a critical part of your safety plan. Any time there is an accident or near miss, you need to establish records of what happened, what the investigation revealed, and what corrective actions were taken. These include any disciplinary actions that may have been taken for an employee who did not follow proper procedure, whether training needs to be updated, or any other necessary step to prevent the accident or near miss from happening again.
You can use the records of any accident or identification of a new hazard to update your policies and procedures as well as your IIPP. And, you can incorporate these matters into new hire training so that the next generation of employees at your workplace can also learn them, even though they weren’t around at the time an incident occurred. You can also reference the past while training your employees on how to perform tasks the right and safe way from the start.
6. Review and update
Cal/OSHA requires that you review workplace hazards whenever your IIPP is first established, when a new hazard is introduced at the workplace, when management is made aware of a new or previously unrecognized hazard, when new employees begin work, and when any employee is given a new job assignment without previous training for the new duties. In all of these circumstances, you will need to update your IIPP to include identification and mitigation of newly identified hazards.
In addition, a regular review of your IIPP is also recommended. An annual review allows you to double and triple check to ensure all the provisions are met. Additionally, check to make sure corrective actions implemented after previous accident investigations are still in place. Check to see if there are any new processes, jobsites, or company functions that are not yet reflected in the current program. This is also a good time to evaluate the age and condition of vehicles and tools. Do you need to make replacements? Will replacements be needed in the next couple of years? Is there a process for phasing out older tools and equipment? As you bring in new equipment, you’ll need to make sure employees receive the proper training on those as well.
Having an IIPP that meets Cal/OSHA regulations puts you in compliance with the state and helps you avoid citations. Having a successful IIPP helps you take workplace safety to the next level, where employees are involved in establishing and maintaining a safe workplace. When employees take a lead role in important matters like workplace safety, other members of the staff will follow their lead.
Follow these 6 steps for a successful IIPP that helps your bottom line!