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Oh no! Jolene just fell down the stairs! Here's how to investigate this workplace accident

by , 10 July 2014
Falling down the stairs is a common workplace accident and one you must investigate correctly. So whether Jolene breaks a nail or her foot you still need to take the incident investigation seriously.

And while all accidents have different protocols when it comes to dealing with them, they all follow a basic process during the investigations.

So whether it's Jolene falling down the stairs or Mike catching his hand in the printer, here's why you need to investigate it...

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Accidents - big and small - all need thorough accident investigation

According to COID and the DoL, you have to investigate every accident that happens in your workplace. You must complete an incident report so your employee can claim from the compensation fund. 
So let's say Jolene's fall resulted in her breaking her foot. This means she can't work for two weeks. Under the Compensations for Occupational Injury or Disease Act, she can claim compensation for her injury.
But to be able to claim, she must have an accident report. And to have an accident report, you must do an incident investigation. 

Here are the seven steps you should take to investigate an accident properly

- 1st: Create a culture of reporting. You can't investigate accidents you don't know about;
- 2nd: Listen to your employees' account of what happened;
- 3rd: Call your investigation team and explain what happened to them;
- 4th: Plan how you're going to collect data;
- 5th: Speak to all the right people and ask the right questions;
- 6th: Discuss what your found with your Health and Safety Committee and create a plan of action; and 
- 7th: Complete your accident report and provide feedback to your employees.
If you follow this process, you'll be able investigate all the accidents that happen in your workplace with ease. 
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Do you have more than 20 employees?
Don't ignore this health and safety obligation or else!
The DoL will slap you with a R50 000 fine or 1 year in jail if you don't have a health and safety representative. 

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