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​​Investigating an Accident

Each location should develop a procedure for investigating accidents. This procedure should be included in the injury and illness prevention program​. The archdiocese will assist or arrange for assistance in investigating any matter.

The primary purpose of an investigation is to determine the cause of an accident and prevent further occurrences. An unbiased approach is necessary to obtain objective findings. Any report of the investigation is prepared in anticipation of litigation and is confidential.

As a general rule after an accident scene has been secured, no one at the location is allowed to:

Keeping these general admonitions in mind, the person in charge​ or the designee should:

  • Visit the accident scene as soon as possible: the facts are fresh and witnesses can remember important details and complete the Incident/Accident Report (Non-Automobile)

  • Interview the injured person, if possible, any witnesses at the accident scene, and anyone who has knowledge of the accident (even if he or she did not actually witness it); interview the people individually and ask them to thoroughly describe the events leading to the accident and the accident itself; conduct all interviews as privately as possible

  • Take signed statements if the facts are unclear or the facts are disputed

  • Document the details graphically; use sketches, diagrams, and photos as needed and take measurements when appropriate

  • Focus on causes and hazards; determine what happened, how it happened, and how it could have been prevented; determine what caused the accident itself, not just the injury

  • Develop an action plan that includes a statement about how such accidents can be prevented in the future

  • After completing the initial investigation, preserve, tag and store any material evidence or items in a safe place (e.g., chairs, ladders, or equipment involved).  If a defective product contributed to the accident, this evidence could be critical to the handling of any claim​. Eliminate the hazard (e.g., mop the floor, remove debris, block access to the area with cones or warning tape).