HomeHome SearchSearch MenuMenu Our productsOur products

Use these 'three Ws' when investigating a workplace accident

by , 10 July 2014
When an accident happens in your workplace, you must don your investigator's cap and start asking the right questions.

Just like Sherlock Holmes, you need to examine every detail. This is the only way you can identify the cause.

But when you pull out your detective's magnifying glass, remember to ask the 'three Ws'...

*********** Recommended Product  ************
The Health and Safety Policy Documents, Checklists and Ready-to-use Staff Training PowerPoints you need to carry out your role throughout 2014
... all 100% legally compliant and constantly updated.

You're not asking the right questions in your incident investigation, if you don't ask the 'three Ws'

The purpose of an incident investigation is to prevent the same workplace accident happening in future. And that's why you must direct all your questions to finding out the cause of the accident so you can prevent it.
There are four possible culprits that can cause accidents:
1. People;
2. Machinery and equipment;
3. Conditions or environment; and
4. Substances or materials.
If you fill in your incident report and can't say which of those caused the accident, it's because you didn't ask the 'three Ws'.
So what are the 'three Ws'?

These are the 'three Ws' that'll form the basis of your incident investigations 

1. Who?
Who suffered an injury because of the accidents? Who saw the accident? Who caused the accident? 
2. Where?
Where did the accident happen? Where was the safety officer? Where did the problem start?
3. Why?
Why did the accident happen? Why did your employee suffer an injury? 
With these questions you can, for example,  find out if the accident was the employee's fault. Or it happened because of where the employee was (by a piece of equipment or in a dangers are).
It's only once you know the cause that you can apply proper safety precautions. So always ask the 'three Ws' to get to the root of any workplace accidents.
*********** Advertisement ************
This is without a doubt the most comprehensive emergency training programme I've ever come across
With more than 21 years of health and safety training experience behind Emergency First Aid Planning, you can rest assured your first aider will know everything he needs to do when disaster strikes… 
Michele uses the exact same steps and techniques she reveals in Emergency first aid planning to train first aiders around the country. 

Related articles

Related articles

Watch And Learn

Related Products


Recommended for You 

  Quick Tax Solutions for Busy Taxpayers – 35 tax answers at a glance

Here are all the most interesting, thought-provoking and common tax questions
asked by our subscribers over the last tax year – everything from A to Z!

To download Quick Tax Solutions for Busy Taxpayers – 35 tax answers at a glance click here now >>>
  Employees always sick? How to stop it today

Make sure you develop a leave policy to regulate sick leave in your company.

BONUS! You'll find an example of the leave policy and procedure in this report.

To download Employees always sick? How to stop it today click here now >>>
  Absenteeism: Little known ways to reduce absenteeism

This FREE e-report will tell you how you can reduce absenteeism in your workplace while avoiding the CCMA and without infringing your employees' labour rights.

To download Absenteeism: Little known ways to reduce absenteeism click here now >>>
  7 Health & safety strategies to save you thousands

Don't let a health and safety incident cost you one more cent. Implement these seven
strategies in your company today.

To download 7 Health & safety strategies to save you thousands click here now >>>