The analysis of work accidents, a prevention tool!

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When an accident occurs, the first instinct is to find someone responsible. Often the fault lies with the victim himself. However, in the absence of an in-depth investigation, the accident will have every chance of recurring.


Responsibility for the process generally lies with the security manager, however, it requires everyone’s contribution.

A complete work accident analysis should include the following steps:

  1. Collecting the facts
  2. The analysis of the facts and the realization of the tree of causes
  3. The choice of preventive measures
  4. Control and monitoring of the implementation and effectiveness of prevention measures

The quality of the analysis is fundamentally based on the information that the security manager can collect. It is therefore essential to carry out the investigation as soon as possible and to verify the veracity of the elements gathered. A good way to know what happened during an accident is to do a reconstruction on-site in the presence of the victim (s) if possible, witnesses but also the person in charge of the accident victim and/or the CHSCT.

The collection of facts will include the testimonies of the victim (s) and the witness (s), and also the circumstances of the accident. The fields identified in the 5M method ( MethodMaterialMediumLaborMaterial ) ensure that we have all the information necessary for the analysis.

Because an image is better than a long speech, do not hesitate to enrich your analysis with photos of the accident and / or the reconstruction.

In general, the collection of facts highlights the multi causality of the accident. The realization of the tree of causes during the analysis has a double advantage:

  • Established as a group, it enables a greater number of employees to be involved in the choice of prevention measures,
  • It ensures that all possible causes have been identified.

Once completed, the tree of causes makes it possible to identify several axes of work. Certain criteria make it possible to retain the most judicious preventive measures: regulatory compliance, cost, application time, scope, etc.

The measures adopted are then incremented in an action plan specifying the application deadlines and making it possible to control the effectiveness of the measure in the short and medium-term.

It may be useful to apply this methodology in the analysis of an incident that could have resulted in serious consequences.

Thus, the investigation and analysis of accidents are vectors of prevention within your company. The effectiveness and success of the process depend essentially on the collaboration of all. Prevention organizations (CARSAT, OPPBTP, Occupational Medicine, etc.) are also partners in the accident analysis process, they offer support or training in the analysis of work accidents.

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