6 Steps for a Successful Accident Investigation Process

Accident Investigation Process

Accident Investigation Process comprises of all the steps taken to arrive at the root cause of very accident. It is not suppose to be done haphazardly nor blindly; instead it should follow a well though out plan and procedure.

However in this article will give a blueprint which if followed could result to a successful accident investigation process. Lets talk about “6 Steps for a Successful Accident Investigation Process“.

Before we go ahead, let us have a little recap of what an accident is.

What is an Accident

An accident could be said to be an unintended, unwanted and unplanned event which could result to death, injury or damage to human, material, equipment or structure.

The consequence of any accident is always difficult to pre-determine, it can only be predicted; the consequence can later be minor or more severe.

Steps for a Successful Accident Investigation Process

Accident Investigation Process

Here are the practical steps you could follow to achieve a successful accident investigation process;

1. Secure the accident site

When there is an accident, arriving at the accident scene on time is directly proportional the quality of report you will get. This is important for various reasons:

  • It will help you decide on the best immediate actions to take. Like, ensuring victims get proper medical care, calling for rescue where necessary, initiate evacuation, etc.
  • It will help you secure the accident scene to ensure that no evidence is lost
  • Have a first hand view of the accident and the accident site
  • Take pictures before some evidence are distorted
  • Get very relevant information before before people start planning for a cover up.

2. Plan your investigation

After securing the accident site, it is time to start planning your incident investigation. At this point, you will need to spot out the IP (s), your primary witness, secondary witness, and tertiary witness if necessary.

Based on the background information you have already had, you will pick the angle you will have to look into. Like employee training registers, equipment routine inspection and service record, jobs supervision, workspace management, etc.

All these will serve as keys when you start gathering evidence.

3.Gather evidence

Based on your investigation plan, here is where you begin to act your investigation plan.

Here are things you do at this point:

  • It is at this point that you will need to go back to the pictures you took to re-access them.
  • Take a look into the working space measurement you took
  • Ask questions about the equipment or material which is linked to the accident
  • Ask open ended questions. People you ask question includes – Work supervisors, Foremen, IP (if conscious), your witnesses, etc.
  • Access equipment
  • Ask for records and document that are relevant to the accident, etc.

4. Analyse your evidence

After getting all the information you need, its time to see how they add up. This is where you will be able to determine the root cause of the accident, the underlying cause and the immediate causes.

Note: You cannot determine this alone, this is why accident investigation is mostly done as a team. The process of analysing your evidence requires brainstorming.

It is also important to mention here that accident investigation is a fact finding exercise, and not a fault finding exercise. You should keep this in mind while analysing your evidence to help you think objectively.

5. Write your accident report

After analysing your data, you have to develop a very clear and understandable accident report. The report will cover the description of the accident, your findings, the immediate cause, underlying cause and root cause.

To end the report, you will need to give recommendations and pick an action party to implement each recommendation with a closed out time.

6. Communicate

The accident report must be communicated to the top management, supervisors, head of department and every other interested party.

This will provide a learning opportunity for everyone so as to prevent re-occurrence.

Accident Investigation Process


As already stated, accident investigation is a fact finding exercise and not a fault finding exercise and to get facts you must follow a well structured process.

This is very important because if you do not get to the correct root cause of any accident, the aim of preventing re-occurrence will be defeated. So follow this Steps for a Successful Accident Investigation Process if you must get a good result.

Stay Safe!!!

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