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Preserving the Scene of a Workplace Incident

Preserving the scene of a workplace incident is crucial to ensure the integrity of the evidence and facilitate accurate investigations.

After ensuring the well-being of employees, you must limit access to the scene to preserve evidence and prevent contamination or tampering. You must also secure any equipment or machinery involved in the incident and take steps to prevent further risks or accidents.

Avoid disturbing or altering the scene unnecessarily. This includes refraining from moving objects, equipment, or materials unless required for immediate safety purposes.

Take photographs and/or video recordings of the scene. Capture close-ups of relevant areas, equipment, and objects. In addition, collect and preserve physical evidence. If there is physical evidence related to the incident, such as tools, equipment components, or materials, document their location and condition before moving or collecting them. If possible, mark or tag the evidence for identification purposes. Note the environmental conditions at the time of the incident, such as lighting, temperature, weather conditions, and any other factors that may have contributed to the incident.

Preserving the scene at a workplace incident should be done promptly and methodically to maintain the integrity of the evidence. A trained supervisor should oversee all scene preservation activities and investigation should take place before normal operations are resumed.

If there are witnesses to the incident, gather their contact information and conduct interviews as soon as possible while the details are fresh in their minds. Document their statements and observations accurately.

OSHA’s Follow-Up Investigation

After OSHA is notified of an incident, the incident will be prioritized by severity of the incident and then schedule an inspection with the employer to discuss the incident and begin the inspection process. The investigation typically involves an inspection of the incident site, collection of evidence, interviews with witnesses and employees, and review of relevant records and documentation. The investigation team may include OSHA inspectors, safety engineers, and other experts as needed.

Recording Worksite Inspection Data

Specific incident recording software can help streamline documentation process for reporting and investigating workplace incidents. Here are some software features to consider, all of which are found in the Safework Suite.

Incident Reporting Forms: The forms allow you to capture all the necessary information related to the incident, such as date, time, location, individuals involved, witnesses, description of the incident, and any injuries or property damage.

Multimedia Integration: The software should support the integration of multimedia elements, such as photos, videos, or audio recordings. This allows for visual documentation of the incident scene, equipment involved, or injuries sustained, providing a comprehensive record of the incident.

Time and Date Stamps: Ensure that the software automatically records time and date stamps for each incident report.

Notifications and Alerts: Automated notifications alert relevant stakeholders when an incident is reported. This ensures that appropriate personnel are promptly informed and can take necessary actions.

Investigation Tracking: The software should allow you to track the progress of incident investigations, including assigning investigation tasks, setting deadlines, recording findings, and documenting corrective actions taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Document Management: Choose software that enables easy attachment and storage of relevant documents related to the incident, such as medical reports, witness statements, or incident investigation reports.

Reporting and Analytics: The software should offer reporting capabilities to generate incident reports, including trend analysis, statistics, and visualizations.

Compliance Tracking: Look for software that allows you to track compliance with regulatory reporting requirements, such as OSHA incident reporting.

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