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How do we conduct an accident investigation?

The primary accident investigation should be conducted by the supervisor or someone appointed by the leadership of the practice.  This primary investigation should focus on finding out the exact set of circumstances that led up to the accident and is often referred to as the AAccident Follow-up.@  In some cases, this is a pretty simple task such as when someone is bitten by a fractious patient.  In other cases it may take a little Adetective work.@  For instance, if a staff member complains of headaches then passes out and must be treated at a hospital, reconstructing the facts may take a little more time and effort.  The initial investigation should not try to affix blame for the event or even judge whether a particular policy or action should be changed.  It should be as prompt and complete as possible with written notes comparable to the severity of the event.

Click here for a sample accident investigation form.

Once the initial investigation is completed, the accident report and investigator=s notes are presented to the Safety Committee (or leadership if no Committee is formed) for evaluation and review.  The job of the Safety Committee is to review the circumstances of not only that accident, but any similar ones in the recent past to determine if a trend or pattern may be developing.   Based on that review, the Safety Committee should make recommendations to the leadership for changes in policy procedures or even disciplinary action for willful violations of procedures.  In some cases, the Safety Committee may determine that the accident was just accident and no further action is indicated.  In other cases, the Committee may recommend additional training for individuals or groups and may even recommend restricted duties for staff members with habitual accident histories.  

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