Why incident investigation is important?

Why incident investigation is important?

Accidents can occur at any time, anywhere, and by anything or anyone, resulting in damage, bodily part deformities, or even death. If you do not take prompt action to address them, there is always the potential that they will worsen. A comprehensive investigation will ensure that no one else suffers the same fate.

Before we get into the specifics of incident investigation, let’s look at what the term ‘incidence’ means “An unexpected occurrence or experience that is regarded unpleasant or unfortunate a sudden happening or event that results in damage, injury, etc… a breakdown; a disturbance.”

In a nutshell, an incident is any occurrence that causes physical or environmental harm to people, property, or the environment, and all occurrences are classified based on their severity and frequency.

A broad category of Factors that led the accident to occur

  • Human error
  • Environment
  • Task
  • Equipment
  • Any combination of above

Why do accidents occur?

  • Poor quality training
  • Unsafe conditions
  • Ignorance/carelessness
  • Unsafe work mode
  • Lack of coordination
  • Chance occurrences
  • Unsafe acts
  • Using inappropriate equipment or tools
  • Not having proper systems in place for monitoring what’s happening at work

Systematic investigation

  • A detailed, systematic technique to determining the root cause and determining what the problem is and where it originates (directly, indirectly or through any sources).
  • Systematic investigation into the cause of the incident to understand why something happened, who/what was responsible for that, how could such an error be prevented?
  • Conducting risk assessment exercises to identify risks in the system and develop mitigation strategies to ensure the security of the information assets
  • Identifying operational system flaws that allowed the incident to happen and resolving them with specific corrective and preventative steps to prevent the incident from happening again.
  • Analysis of the impact of the incident on the business process and customer satisfaction level
  • Recommendation and implementation of appropriate corrective and preventive measures to avoid future incidents similar to the previous one, using lessons learnt from previous similar incidents or other effective methods  
  • Reviewing and reporting of findings
  • Communication of the findings and the training of workers in the revised processes and procedures, monitoring and reviewing control measures to ensure their effectiveness.
  • Maintain awareness of all potential risks and their impact
  • Establish an Incident Management Plan
  • Identify and assign responsibilities for dealing with incidents
  • Ensure availability of resources needed to resolve incidents
  • Designate a designated staff member within the organization to handle any crisis situations
  • Develop a standard operating procedure (SOP) for dealing with the identified threats
  • Understand the importance of having a clear communication plan in place for dealing with emergencies, and make sure everyone knows his/her role, as well as when they are expected to report an incident
  • Perform a periodic review to prevent such incident recurrence.

In short, an investigation involves the following steps

  • Gathering Data
  • Analysing data
  • Examining reasons, datas and factors of the incident
  • Determining the exact root cause
  • Arriving at a right conclusion
  • Fixing the issues

Investigation questions

  • What?
  • When?
  • Why?
  • Where?
  • Which?
  • Who?

Sample questions

  • What are the factors that caused the incident to occur?
  • Was it related to a near miss/close call?
  • What was the person asked to do and are there any deviation/alteration in the work performed?
  • When did it happen and who were affected?
  • Why were the specific instructions not followed?
  • Is it a near Miss or unexpected occurrence?
  • Was it due to carelessness/equipment fault/lack of co-ordination/miscommunication/health issue, personal vengeance, etc?
  • Did the incident happen before; if so, what were the steps taken and were they been implemented properly? ; If not why?
  • What were the environmental conditions (e.g., lighting, floor surface, etc.)?
  • Who was working with the injured person and what happened at that time?
  • What safety rules did they follow?
  • Did they work under anyone’s supervision?

Why is it important to conduct an investigation?

  • To protect people and property from death, injury, sickness, and damage in the future
  • To determine the incident’s root cause
  • To devise methods to prevent the incident in the future
  • To estimate the incident’s impact and cost
  • To make the workplace safe

Who can take the Incident investigation?

  • Anyone in charge of investigating and/ or analysing incidents.
  • People in charge of devising corrective actions-prevention strategies
  • Line managers
  • Safety professionals
  • Operating managers
  • Supervisors
  • Technicians
  • Trainers
  • Any working professional from safety industry


NIST is India’s first NEBOSH Gold Learning Partner and an ISO: 9001:2015-certified company. We’ve been delivering training for individuals, industries, organisations, etc. for over 15 years. We offer Incident Investigation course that is suitable for workers in a variety of industries, including construction, manufacturing, food processing, mining, and many more. Our guideline is ideal for organizational incident investigation as it takes into account both operational and technical aspects that can be utilized to understand a major incident from its onset till its resolution so that preventive measures can be taken at the source itself before things escalate out of control, which could cost millions in damage and its employees involved in the incident! This course is designed as a basic level training for new investigators on the importance of properly investigating workplace injuries and illnesses and why proper investigation methods are important for the protection of both employee health and the company’s reputation. 

We have established a step-by-step approach that enables any organisation to execute an investigation swiftly, efficiently, and successfully. Happy learning!

For further details, contact our client servicing team @ +91 9384663536 or mail us at

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