Review OSHA logs, internal injury records to improve workplace programs
An effective strategy for rooting out the causes of work-related injuries is to thoroughly inspect your company's records.
Inspecting the logs of injuries and illnesses required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as well as workers' compensation claims, insurance claims, absentee records, and job transfer applications, can yield information about the nature of your problem. Look for trends in the type and number of injuries, and where they are occurring in your workplace. These stats may also help identify other problem areas. For example, jobs with elevated rates of low back musculoskeletal disorders often also have higher risks for acute injuries due to slips and trips or other safety hazards.
Accident/incident investigations are also effective tools for uncovering hazards that were overlooked. However, they are only useful when the process is positive and focuses on finding the root cause of injuries, not someone to blame.
All accidents and incidents should be investigated. Near-misses are considered an incident, because, given a slight change in time or position, injury or damage could have occurred. Six key questions should be answered in the accident investigation and report: who, what, when, where, why and how. Thorough interviews with everyone involved are necessary.
January 15, 2009
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