Accident Investigation Policy

<Insert business name> is committed to providing a safe place of work.  In the event of an accident occurring, <insert business name> will undertake an investigation which aims to:

• Identify causes with the intention of preventing recurrence of the accident and related events.
• Identify other underlying causes of the accident.
• Inform workers involved why the accident occurred and what action has been or will be taken to address the cause(s).

The purpose of the investigation is not to apportion blame but to identify the root cause of the accident. The necessary resources in terms of people, facilities and equipment, will be made available in order to:

• Comply with all relevant legislation.
• Ensure that accidents are investigated thoroughly and promptly.


 “Accident” means an unintended event resulting in injury, loss of life or illness to workers, visitors or damage to property or the environment.

Accident investigation management priorities

1. All accidents, which meet the definition, will be investigated and results recorded on the Accident Investigation Form.

2. The Manager receives a copy of any Incident Report or is informed verbally of the accident.

3. Wherever practicable, avoid disturbing any evidence at the accident scene. (Barricade or rope off if necessary).

4. Ensure accident scene is safe to enter. Does equipment need to be shut down? Barricade or rope off if unsafe.

5. Select investigation team. Team should include some of the following:
  • Manager. 
  • Injured person (if practicable).
  • Any witness(s) (refer incident report).
  • Person(s) with knowledge of equipment or process preferably from the relevant area.
6. Arrange a quiet meeting place.

7. Conduct individual interviews as soon as possible after the accident. Interview each person individually. Create a relaxed atmosphere. Some workers may feel intimidated when being interviewed. Reiterate the purpose of the investigation. Emphasise that the purpose is to find the cause(s) of the accident and not to attribute blame.

8. Gather as much information (facts) as possible as to what occurred.

9. Have the injured worker explain how they got injured. (Is it as reported earlier in the injury report?).

10. Step by step, bring out the facts - determine the primary factors & causes of the accident, or any other contributing causes.

11. Re-visit the accident scene if the facts are unclear or if more information is needed.

12. Some pointers to help bring out the facts:
  • Are safety rules adequate?
  • Were rules being followed?
  • Was the injured person new to the job? 
  • Was training adequate?  When was training completed?
  • Is there an operating procedure or work instruction? Is it adequate? 
  • Was it being followed? Is it understood?
  • If there is no work procedure or instruction, is there a need to develop one?
  • Is there a need to improve adherence to procedure?
  • Is there a need for the use of personal protective equipment?
  • If personal protective equipment was supplied, was it being used?
  • Was equipment in need of maintenance?
  • Was housekeeping and orderliness poor?
  • Was poor judgment used?
  • Was there a general lack of safety awareness? Why?
13. Look for any underlying contributing causes like: -

• Fatigue.
• Heat stress.
• Poor lighting.
• Poor ventilation.
• Social problems.
• Worker temperament.

14. Complete the Investigation Report Form, allocating the same number as of that allocated to the corresponding Incident Report Form.

15. Forward both forms to the WHS Work Group as soon as possible.

16. WHS Work Group to notify the Regulator in the appropriate State if the accident is “notifiable’.

17. The CEO or Principal must be immediately informed in the event of a significant injury or adverse damage to building/ equipment.

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This document does not constitute human resource or legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should contact the HR Help Desk or seek professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content. © Wentworth Advantage Pty Ltd 2021