Root Cause Analysis Tip: Are You Prepared to Investigate a Fatality?
Is your site like most sites? You don’t have major accidents. You occasionally have a lost time injury … but fatalities? … You’ve never see one.
Even though major accidents are rare, you still need to be prepared.
There are many sources of information to help you prepare for serious accidents. The US Department of Health and Human Services has written guidelines for Chemical Hazard Emergency Management. See:
Another source of information to help you prepare for the worst is the TapRooT® Book.
It provides guidance for investigation procedures, for initial response, & evidence collection – all things you need to know.
Some companies have a corporate team to respond to major accidents. The team may include trained accident investigators, lawyers, and PR professionals. They respond quickly to help local management and safety personnel deal with the aftermath of a serious accident and coordinate with government agencies (OSHA, CSB, EPA, MSHA, DOT, NRC, or many others) that descend on the accident site.
Companies may also have pre-negotiated assistance contracts for technical services and investigation facilitation.
Perhaps the best way to prepare is to do everything possible to prevent the major accident from occurring in the first place. As Benjamin Franklin said:
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
And this is doubly true when it comes to accident prevention.