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Health & Safety

Accident Investigation

Structured investigations form action plans for risk management and legal compliance, improving safety.

Methodical Investigation Approach

Findings are used to create action plans, preventing future incidents and enhancing risk management.

Action Plan Development

Findings are used to create action plans, preventing future incidents and enhancing risk management.

Risk Assessment Review

Investigation outcomes highlight areas in risk assessments needing updates.

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Legal Compliance Link

Linking investigations with risk assessments fulfills a critical legal duty.

Health & Safety

Accident Investigation

Investigating ensures legal adherence, crucial under Health and Safety at Work Regulations.

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Full Disclosure Requirement

Investigations provide necessary disclosures in legal actions, showcasing safety commitment.

Determining Investigation Depth

Investigate based on potential consequences and recurrence likelihood of adverse events.

Preventing Recurring Incidents

Learning from investigations prevents future accidents and improves workplace safety.

Role of Management in Investigations

Effective investigations require involvement from all levels of management and staff.

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Why Testing is Important

What are the Legal reasons and Duties to Investigate?

  • To ensure you are operating your organisation within the law.
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, regulation 5, requires employers to plan, organise, control, monitor and review their health and safety arrangements. Health and safety investigations form an essential part of this process.
  • Following the Woolf Report6 on civil action, you are expected to make full disclosure of the circumstances of an accident to the injured parties considering legal action. The fear of litigation may make you think it is better not to investigate, but you can’t make things better if you don’t know what went wrong! The fact that you thoroughly investigated an accident and took remedial action to prevent further accidents would demonstrate to a court that your company has a positive attitude to health and safety. Your investigation findings will also provide essential information for your insurers in the event of a claim.

What should be Investigated?

Having been notified of an adverse event and been given basic information on what happened, you must decide whether it should be investigated and if so, in what depth. It is the potential consequences and the likelihood of the adverse event recurring that should determine the level of investigation, not simply the injury or ill health suffered on this occasion. For example: Is the harm likely to be serious? Is this likely to happen often? Similarly, the causes of a near miss can have great potential for causing injury and ill health. When making your decision, you must also consider the potential for learning lessons.

For example, if you have had a number of similar adverse events, it may be worth investigating, even if each single event is not worth investigating in isolation. It is best practice to investigate all adverse events which may affect the public.

So, I have recorded the Accidents why Investigate?

There are hazards in all workplaces; risk control measures are put in place to reduce the risks to an acceptable level to prevent accidents and cases of ill health. The fact that an adverse event has occurred suggests that the existing risk control measures were inadequate.

Learning lessons from near misses can prevent costly accidents. (The Clapham Junction rail crash and the Herald of Free Enterprise ferry capsize were both examples of situations where management had failed to recognise, and act on, previous failings in the system.) You need to investigate adverse events for a number of reasons.

Benefits of Investigating Accidents:

  • The prevention of further similar adverse events. If there is a serious accident, the regulatory authorities will take a firm line if you have ignored previous warnings.
  • The prevention of business losses due to disruption, stoppage, lost orders and the costs of criminal and civil legal actions.
  • An improvement in employee morale and attitude towards health and safety. Employees will be more cooperative in implementing new safety precautions if they were involved in the decision and they can see that problems are dealt with.
  • The development of managerial skills which can be readily applied to other areas of the organisation.

Who should carry out the investigation?

For an investigation to be worthwhile, it is essential that the management and the workforce are fully involved. Depending on the level of the investigation (and the size of the business), supervisors, line managers, health and safety professionals, union safety representatives, employee representatives and senior management/ directors may all be involved. As well as being a legal duty, it has been found that where there is full cooperation and consultation with union representatives and employees, the number of accidents is half that of workplaces where there is no such employee involvement.

Agility may also support your you or even carry out the accident investigation if you so wish.

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Learn more about our services

Schedule an informal chat with an Opus consultant to learn how we can improve employee health and safety across your business.

Your partner in compliance

'John and his team provide top-quality health and safety advice with practical support. Through wide industry experience, John delivers an integrated service that links with the needs of the client.'

Health and safety consultancy

Opus Safety Partnership

Everything you need for a safer workplace – in one end-to-end service. A customised compliance programme. Ongoing support. And a dedicated H&S expert, whenever you need them.

Business risk analysis

Pinpoint compliance issues and map out improvement measures.

Full site audit
Hazard profiling
Solutions planning

Policies and processes

Review, upgrade and standardise safety documents and procedures.

Tailored risk assessments
Staff handbooks and policies
Safe systems of work

Work-saving software

Action key H&S data and deliverables with one intuitive tool.

Cloud-based hub for all staff
Tasks, training and reporting
24/7 access on any device

Strategic guidance

Maintain excellence with practical help and long-term risk prevention.

One-to-one support
Regular contact
Forward-looking advice
audits and assessments

Secure, compliant and 100% confident

Our employee training programmes and one-off risk assessments, surveys and audits deliver peace of mind for your people – and a safer way forward for you.

Operate on the right side of regulations

Avoid penalties and exceed your legal requirements with expert-led risk assessments, audits and surveys that go beyond the bare minimum.

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