OSHA Accident Investigation
Thousands of accidents occur throughout the United States every day. The failure of people, equipment, supplies, or surroundings to behave or react as expected causes most of them. Accident investigations determine how and why these failures occur. By using the information gained through an investigation, a similar, or perhaps more disastrous, accident may be prevented. It is important to conduct accident investigations with prevention in mind.
Accident Investigation OSHA Standards
There are currently no specific standards for accident investigation. However, this page highlights OSHA standards, preambles to final rules (background to final rules), directives (instructions for compliance officers), and standard interpretations (official letters of interpretation of the standards) related to accident investigation.
Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act, often referred to as the General Duty Clause, requires employers to "furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees". Section 5(a)(2) requires employers to "comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act".
Accident Investigation Safety Program
An effective safety and health program depends on the credibility of management's involvement in the program, inclusion of employees in safety and health decisions, rigorous worksite analysis to identify hazards and potential hazards, including those which could result from a change in worksite conditions or practices, stringent prevention and control measures, and thorough training. It addresses hazards whether or not they are regulated by government standards. The following references characterize and further explain safety and health programs.
Accident Investigation - Accident Statistics
· Selected Occupational Fatalities/Catastrophes. OSHA.
· Analysis of Construction Fatalities - The OSHA DataBase 1985-1989. OSHA, (1990, November), 457 KB PDF, 84 pages. Analysis of 3,496 construction fatalities investigated by OSHA. Examines the causes of fatalities and the factors influencing accidents.
· Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities (IIF): Statistics. US Department of Labor (DOL), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Provides statistical tables including incidence rates of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses by industry and selected case types.
· Mortality by Occupation, Industry, and Cause of Death: 24 Reporting States (1984-1988). Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 97-114, (1997, June). Includes 192 cause-of-death categories, 325 occupation categories, and 235 industry categories.
· Fatal Occupational Injuries in 1997. Department of Labor (DOL), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), (1998, August 12), 116 KB PDF, 13 pages. A collection of data and analysis.
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