Incident/Accident Investigations

Incident/Accident investigations are conducted for the sole purpose of determining the causative factors of the accident in order to develop strategies and take remedial action to prevent the reoccurrence of such accidents.

WCB regulations require a preliminary investigation must be completed within 48 hours for all WorkSafeBC claims, serious incidents, and near-misses that could have caused a serious injury.  Both preliminary and full investigations are to be completed jointly by the supervisor and the worker/union representative (coordinated by OHSE).

An effective Accident Investigation must provide answers to the following:

WHO – Who was involved in the accident, including the victim as well as all of the witnesses?
WHAT – What damage or injuries were the effect of this accident?
WHERE – Where did the accident occur? Include diagrams, descriptions and even photos where they willbe of assistance
WHEN – Date and time of the incident.
WHY – Why did the incident/accident happen? This is quite possibly the most difficult of all the questions tobe answered. In most all cases, there is more than one factor as to why an incident or accident happens and it is most useful when the accident investigators can determine as many contributing factors as possible.

Accidents can be determined to be either Preventable or Non Preventable. In determining the causative factors of accident, investigators are to examine and report on the following:

Unsafe Conditions;
Unsafe Acts and /or;
Personal factors.

Accident investigations should be conducted by designated individuals who are familiar with the job role of the victim (i.e. familiar with the work process, equipment and/or local factors) and who have received training in how to conduct an effective accident investigation. Whenever there is a special piece of equipment, tool or vehicle involved in an accident, it is advisable to request specialists from the respective industry or their agents to participate in the investigations.

Accident Investigations shall be documented on the prescribed form that is available on-line. Only time loss or medical aid accidents are required to be reported to the WCB. First aid treatment only cases do not have to be reported to the Board, but should also be investigated when possible.

Copies of the investigation reports should normally accompany the Employer’s Report of Injury (WCB Form 7) that is sent in to the WCB local office. If the investigation report if not completed within 72 hours following the incident (in which time the HR office sends in the Form 7), the investigation report should be completed as soon as possible and then sent to the Board office. Copies of the investigation report will also be made available to the Occupational Health and Safety Committee in addition to the respective supervisor.

The WCB must be advised immediately whenever an incident or accident:

  1. Results in serious injury to or death of a worker.
  2. Involves a major structural failure or collapse of a building, bridge, tower, crane, hoist, temporary construction support system or excavation.
  3. Involves the major release of a toxic substance or
  4. Any incident required by other regulations that are to be reported.

WCB officers will then attend to conduct their own accident investigations of these incidents.