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The difference between incident investigations and accident investigations explained

by , 12 August 2014
We often use the terms 'accident' and 'incident' interchangeably when we talk about health and safety. But the truth is, they're quite different.

An incident is an event where there aren't any injuries. An accident is an event where there are injuries.

Now regardless of whether you have an accident or an incident on site, you must investigate both.

But these two investigations differ. Today we're revealing how they do to ensure you can do both effectively...


Here's what you'll do during an incident investigation

Incidents aren't as serious as accidents. So the point of your investigation is to ensure this incident doesn't turn into an accident next time. 
This is why your investigation will focus on the cause of the incident. Knowing why it happened is vital to ensuring it doesn't happen again. 
There's no need to create accident reports to submit to COID at the end of this investigation though, as COID has nothing to do with accidents without injury or illness. But you must create an incident report to document the cause of the incident so you can deal with it.
And that's where an an accident investigation is different.
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Here's what you'll do during an accident investigation

While accident investigations also focus on the cause of the accident for the purpose of preventing it from happening again, also look at how the accident caused your employee's injuries and what damage it caused your property.
Because accidents are more serious, you must find ways to prevent thim.
Finding the cause can help prevent it in future and determining how it caused damage can help you limit the damage if it happens again.
With this type of investigation you'll also need to create an accident report for COID.
There you have it. While the differences between these two takes of investigations are subtle, you can see they're both important. 
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