10-steps to accident investigation

17 April 2008

History tells us that accidents will repeat, if we do not make changes. A systematic approach to investigating crane accidents will give us the information to prevent similar accidents from re-occurring again. For the most part, 80 to 90 percent of all accidents are behavioral-related, unsafe acts. In recent years, studies show that more then 50 percent of all crane accidents are due to crane set-up. A 10-step accident evaluation program will provide why, when, who, what, and how the root cause of the accidents can be determined. Following these 10 steps and then identifying casual factors related to the equipment, environment, people and management will lead you to the corrective actions necessary to eliminate these accidents.

the ten steps

• 1 emergency response

• 2 secure the area

• 3 ID potential witnesses

• 4 use an investigation kit

• 5 obtain evidence

• 6 conduct interviews

• 7 review data

• 8 prepare an investigation report

• 9 implement corrective action

• 10 follow up

1 step emergency response

•First priority is the safety and health of all people

Notify emergency services: fire, rescue, medical and security

• Care for the injured (use trained first-aid or medical services)

• Prevent other accidents

• Notify management, investigation team and insurance company

• Seek legal advice: ask how to protect your information?

2 step secure the area

Isolate the scene, using barricade tape or hard barricade

Secure all evidence

Contact crane investigation specialist if it's a major accident

Begin to examine extent of damages, crane, equipment and facility

3 ID potential witnesses

• Establish people and employees involved

• Eyewitnesses

• People and employees who heard the accident

• People with useful information about the accident

4 step use an investigation kit

• Camera or video camera

• Film

• Tape recorder

• Investigation forms

• Flashlight

• Barricade tape/cones

• Tags

• Locks

• Duct tape

• Measuring devices

• Sample container

5 step obtain evidence

Accident investigation reports

• Supervisor reports

• Written and recorded witness

• statements

• OSHA Logs

• Training records

• Drug testing results

• Maintenance records

• Load charts

• Sales quotes

• Lease agreements

• Insurance certificates

• Inspection reports

• Photos, videos

• Materials, pieces of equipment

6 step conduct interviews

•Ask open-ended questions

Use third party adjuster / investigator for large claims

•Avoid bias opinions

• Do not place blame or fault

7 review data

• Look at all data, materials, reports, inspections and records

• Identify any trends or patterns

• Analyze all data to determine root causes and casual factors

• Review with crane specialist, management and supervisors

8 prepare an investigation report

• Record key facts in writing

• Summarize vital information

• Large claims secure legal advice to protect information

9 step implement corrective actions

Implement corrective actions and monitor results

• (failure to follow-through can lead to criminal charges if accident re-occurs)

10 step • follow-up

• Are their patterns to these accidents?

• Are employees empowered to take individual actions?

• Are all managers and supervisors committed to hazard control?


Receive the information you need when you need it through our world-leading magazines, newsletters and daily briefings.

Sign up