How Fatal Work Accidents Are Investigated

How Fatal Work Accidents are Investigated

An accident investigation is defined as the technique used for the in-depth analysis of an accident at work in order to know the development of events and determine why it happened. An extensive workplace accident investigation can help your attorney determine what might have caused your accident and who may be at fault.

What is Involved in Accident Investigation?

There are two types of objectives when investigating an accident. These include the following:


  • Know the facts that happened.
  • Deduce the causes that have produced them.


  • Eliminate the causes to avoid similar cases.
  • Take advantage of the experience for prevention.
  • Serve as a guide for preventive actions.

Training for the investigation of the causes of occupational accidents promotes a culture of prevention. It serves to eradicate the concept of unsafe acts as a determining cause of accidents.

Which Accidents Need to be Investigated?

In principle, all accidents should be investigated since it is a legal obligation established for the employer. However, it is not too logical to bureaucratize prevention and investigate everything with the same intensity.

The ILO (International Labor Organization) considers certain types of accidents to be the most important for investigations. Those accidents that need to be investigated include the following: 

  • Accidents that cause death or serious injury.
  • Accidents that cause minor injuries but are repeated as they reveal dangerous work situations or practices and must be corrected before they cause a more serious accident.
  • Accidents or dangerous events in which agents from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or the United States Department of Labor are involved.

What Happens if an Accident or Incident is Not Investigated?

If an accident or incident is not investigated, you lose a lot of information and many possibilities for preventative activities. On the other hand, a legal obligation established for the employer is breached, both in the case of accidents and in the case of incidents. This business breach is a violation classified as serious.

Who Should Investigate?

There is no general rule for who should investigate a workplace accident because this varies according to the type and structure of the company. However, lines and specialized research methods are applied.

Line investigation: The person directly responsible for the section where the incident or accident occurs is the one who should develop the line investigation because he or she:

  • Knows the work and its execution.
  • Knows the workers.
  • Has the ability to apply preventive measures.

If difficulties arise in identifying the causes or designing the measures, the person in charge will coordinate the advice and cooperation of specialist technicians.

Specialized investigation: This should be carried out in special or complex cases such as the following:

  • Serious or fatal accident. Incident or minor accident from which a greater potential for harm can be deduced.
  • All the cases demanded.
  • Doubtful report cases.
  • Repetitive events.

The purpose of the investigation is to identify the causes of the accident. Since these causes are generally multiple, diverse, and interrelated, it is necessary to carry out an exhaustive causal analysis in order to obtain the most complete information. This should be carried out by a team made up of the prevention technician, the person directly responsible for the area and related workers, with technical advice from specialists.

Contact an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

If you have been injured at work, whether an accident investigation took place or not, contact the attorneys at the Law Office of D. Hardison Wood today to schedule a consultation. We will ensure that you get the compensation for your injuries to which you are entitled.


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