Workplace injury investigation

When a worker is injured on the job it is the employer’s responsibility to identify the root cause of the incident and implement corrective action to mitigate further risk of injury. Supervisors are responsible for completing the Supervisors Investigative Report for every injury regardless of it becomes a workers’ compensation claim.

How to analyze the problem

Circle with six segments, and in each segment a photo depicting the process described below.

1. Define the problem

Review the events leading up to the injury and gain understanding of what happened.

2. Collect information

Photographs, diagrams, witness statements, manufacturing instructions for tools and machines involved, maintenance records and related protocols are all valuable tools when identifying the root cause.

3. Identify possible contributing factors

Consider the environment at the time of the incident. Was it light or dark? Did it happen inside or outside? What was the temperature like at the time of the incident? Is there any direct hazards that contributed to the incident?

4. Identify root cause

Review contributing factors and ask the Five Whys (example below)

Five Whys example

Why #1
  • Question #1: “Why did you get into a car accident?”
  • Response #1:I was driving down a winding road and I swerved and ran off the road.”
Why #2
  • Question #2: “Why did you swerve and run off the road?”
  • Response #2:To avoid hitting a deer.”
Why #3
  • Question #3: “Why didn’t you see the deer?”
  • Response #3:I wasn’t alert and aware of my surroundings.”
Why #4
  • Question #4: “Why weren’t you alert and aware of your surroundings?”
  • Response #4:I was responding to a text message while driving and the sun was in my eyes.”
Why #5
  • Question #5: “Why were you responding to a text message while driving?”
  • Response #5:I forgot to adjust my phone settings while driving.”
Contributing Factors
  • Winding road
  • Sun in employee’s eyes
  • Deer in road
Root Cause
  • Texting while driving

5. Implement corrective action

Once the root cause is identified implement corrective action plan. How do we resolve this issue so it does not happen again?

6. Monitor the process

Continue to monitor the problem and assess the corrective action.