Safety Newsletter
August 2010
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diane adams
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In This Issue
Tips for Conducting an Investigation
Workplace Safety is No Accident
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Tips for Conducting an Injury/Illness Investigation

NOTE:  Every employer in California is required to immediately report (within 8 hours) any serious injury or illness, or death of an employee which occurs in a place of employment or in connection with any employment to the nearest Cal/OSHA office (California Code of Regulations Title 8, Section 342). 
Reportable serious injuries or illnesses include inpatient hospitalization for a period in excess of 24 hours for other than medical observation or in which an employee suffers a loss of any member of the body or suffers any serious degree of permanent disfigurement.
  • The purpose of an investigation is to find the root cause of the injury or illness so the hazard or practice can be rectified to prevent further occurrences.  It is not to fix blame.
  • Visit the scene as soon as possible following an injury or illness.  You will be able to obtain facts while they are fresh, interview witnesses before they forget important details, and provide calm and order following the situation.
  • Interview the injured worker, if possible.  "Walk" the injured through a mock re-enactment.  This will give you his/her perspective of the factors that lead to the injury or illness.
  • Talk with everyone who has knowledge of the injury or illness, even if they didn't witness it.  Interview everyone privately, one at a time (people's recollection can be influenced and/or changed by other witnesses' accounts). Whenever facts seem unclear, or there is an element of controversy surrounding the accident, consider taking signed statements.
  • Document details graphically.  Take photos, diagram or sketch the scene, and take measurements when appropriate. When a third party appears to be involved, retain evidence.  Get the name(s) of involved individuals/company(ies), addresses, phone numbers, license and insurance information. 
  • Focus on the root causes.  Don't jump to conclusions.  Try to answer the following questions:
What happened?
How did it happen?
How it could have been prevented?
Was there an unsafe act?
Determine what caused the incident itself, not just the injury.
Had proper training been given or controls in place on that topic?
  • Discuss ideas for prevention with management and interested persons. Two types of controls include:
Administrative controls: examples are job rotation, enforced rest breaks, stretch breaks, additional training, re-writing policy, enforcing current policy, transfer to another position, restricting work activities.

Physical Controls:  examples are using slip-resistant shoes, installing guards around equipment (mixers, slicers, etc), installing better flooring and/or mats, providing carts and handtrucks for material handling, etc.
  • Follow up with corrective action.  Make it visible so everyone is aware of the outcome.  This demonstrates your commitment and enhances morale when corrective action is done to improve safety for everyone.

Workplace Safety is No Accident
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A well-planned safety and loss control program can help significantly reduce losses, contain insurance costs and lead to increased profits.  

Through loss control methods you will be able to:

  • Achieve a safer, more efficient work environment.
  • Realize cost savings on indirect expenses not covered by insurance.
  • Reduce insurance premiums.
  • Reduce claims frequency and improve experience modification.
  • Improve training and staff safety consciousness.
  • Improve employee morale.
  • Develop policies and procedures necessary to keep your business running smoothly.

Download the Farmer's Loss Control Program Basics. This 16-page booklet developed by Farmers Insurance provides information on Accident Investigation, Hazard Control, Inspections, Employee Selection, Training and Communication.

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