Fact Sheet

Accident/Incident/Near Miss Investigation

One of the best ways to avoid further accidents is to understand how an accident occurred and how to avoid that type of accident in the future. The accident investigation is a tool. The goal is not to lay blame.

The goal in an accident investigation is to:

An accident, a near miss and an incident should all be investigated.

ACCIDENT — an undesired event or sequence of events causing injury, ill-health or property damage.

NEAR MISS — near misses describe incidents where, given a slight shift in time or distance, injury, ill-health or damage easily could have occurred, but didn?t this round.

INCIDENT — an incident is an unplanned, undesired event that hinders completion of a task and may cause injury or other damage.


Equipment that may come in handy:


The investigation should answer six questions:


Interview all people involved. Look for all the causes. Do not fall into the trap of blaming the employee or volunteer, even if the person admits causing the event. Investigate the procedures, supervisor's directives, training, machinery, weather, you get the idea. The organization's accident, incident and near-miss reporting forms will give guidance.


Properly document all accident investigations using the organization's approved investigation form. The form should make it simple to remember what questions to ask, be easy to understand and complete, and be filed and retained in chronological order.

Protect Privacy

Investigation reports are not to be released to anyone without authorization.


Review all accident, incident and near-miss investigations occurring since the last safety committee meeting at the next safety meeting.


Accident Investigation, 2nd edition, National Safety Council

Accident Investigation, The University of Warwick, Safety Office, April 2003

Mueller, Cathy, Incident Investigation SHRM White Paper, Society for Human Resource Management, Washington, DC.

Safety and Health Program Management Fact Sheets, Accident/Incident Investigation, Module 4, Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)

Severe Accident Investigation Form — Sample

Incident or Accident Investigation — Sample Form

Accident Investigation Form — Sample-1

Accident Investigation Form — Sample-2

Reporting Near Miss Form — Sample

Safety Violations Reporting Form — Sample

Accident Investigation Procedures Fact Sheet

Accident Reporting Policy and Procedure Fact Sheet