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Accident Reporting and Investigation | Construction Site

Accident Reporting and Investigation system is establishing the method for notifying, reporting, investigating & monitoring all incidents until they are closed-out.

Accident Reporting and Investigation | Construction Site
Accident Reporting and Investigation | Construction Site

Accident Reporting and Investigation | Construction Site

An accident at a construction site workplace can occur for many reasons and at the time of the incident, the multiple factors that caused the accident may not be immediately apparent. By reporting an accident, the cause of the accident can be investigated. The purpose of this investigation is to find out the cause of the accident. Environmental factors and the circumstances that existed at the time of the accident will be taken into account, allowing investigators to discover any underlying problem.

In the short term, the cause of an accident can still be an immediate threat to other personnel or visitors to the area, so it is important that managers are aware of the risks as quickly as possible. When accidents are reported as soon as they occur, companies know which health and safety procedures work and which do not. Hazardous equipment can be repaired or eliminated, and areas that are not safe can be investigated and possibly fall outside the limits. Eventually, accident reporting offers a safer environment for staff and members of the public.

Incident/ Accident in construction workplace indicates the failure of Safety Management system. Contractual workmen are most vulnerable population to work injury in construction site. Organizations without robust Contract Safety Management policy, may have high accident frequency rate.  

In many countries, workplaces, buildings and other places are subject to legislation that ensures that the company works safely. In the event of an accident, companies will have to follow certain procedures to prevent these laws from being violated; As part of these procedures, it is likely that companies will have to report an accident after it has occurred and investigate if necessary

By not following these procedures, companies run the risk of being taken by legal action or being investigated by a regulatory authority; In the United States, for example, a company can be investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
However, if no accident is reported, it is always possible that such an accident will happen again. For example, if a machine or other equipment causes a minor accident, that equipment is clearly precarious. Not reporting a very small incident means that adequate measures are not taken to protect or replace this equipment, so that a much worse accident could occur for a future user of the equipment.

Lets have look on some basic definitions;


An Incident is an unplanned event or chain of events that has, or could have, resulted in injury or illness or damage to assets, the environment or company reputation or consequential business loss. The term "accident" is sometimes used to describe an incident that has caused an actual injury, loss or damage.
Incidents do not include operations, maintenance, quality or reliability incidents which have no HSE consequence or potential. Incidents do not include degradation or failure of plant or equipment resulting solely from normal wear and tear unless this results in in-jury to persons, damage to the environment, asset loss or reputation damage.
The term “Road Traffic Accident” is used when referring to incidents which are related to road transport.


An accident is an incident that resulted in injury to personnel, or loss of any kind, including the loss of materials, assets and property damage.

Fatality (Death)

Fatality is a death resulting from a work-related injury or illness, regardless of the time intervening between injury or illness and death. For statistical purposes, a fatality shall be recorded as a Lost Time Injury (LTI).

Medical Treatment Case (MTC)

A medical treatment case is a work-related injury that does not result in the loss of business days or limited business days, but for which treatment is required by or under the specific prescription of a physician.
Note 1: Routine medical checks are not considered Medical Treatment Cases. Diagnostic procedures like X-Rays or laboratory analysis are not considered medical treatment, unless they lead to further treatment.
Note 2: Unconsciousness, if an employee loses consciousness due to an injury at work, the case must be registered regardless of the type of treatment administered, the reason behind this registration requirement is that loss of consciousness is usually associated with more serious health problems.

Examples of MTCs are: Use of sutures or stitches, treatment of infections, treatment of second or third degree burns, removal of foreign bodies embedded in eye or from wound, cutting away dead skin (surgical debridement), using of prescription medication, admission into a hospital or an equivalent medical facility for treatment or observation for more than 12 hours.

First Aid Case (FAC)

Cases that are not serious enough to be reported as medical treatment or more serious cases, but that still require minor first aid, for example, each timely treatment and subsequent observation of small scratches, cuts, first degree burns, splinters, etc. Some examples are: the use of bandages, the removal of dirt from the eye, etc.

High Risk Incident

Incident for which the combination of potential consequences and probability is assessed to be in the high-risk region of the Risk Assessment Matrix.

Illness (Occupational)

Any work-related abnormal condition or disorder experienced by an employee, other than the one resulting from an occupational injury. It includes acute and chronic illnesses or diseases, which may be caused by inhalation, absorption, ingestion or direct contact (e.g. respiratory diseases such as asbestosis, skin diseases such as contact dermatitis, etc.) Examples of reportable illnesses (diseases) are:
  • Poisoning (including food poisoning),
  • Skin diseases such as occupational dermatitis, skin cancer, folliculitis oil,
  • Lung diseases including occupational asthma, pneumoconiosis,
  • Infections such as leptospirosis, hepatitis, tuberculosis, legionella and tetanus,
  • Other conditions such as occupational cancer, musculoskeletal disorders and hand-arm vibration syndrome.

Environmental Incidents

All unplanned releases of chemicals, paints, hydrocarbons and other pollutants are promptly reported. In addition, any significant impact on existing vegetation, air quality, soil and water bodies should be considered as environmental incident. 

Lost Time Injuries (LTIs)

The sum of fatalities, permanent total disabilities, permanent partial disabilities and lost workday cases but excluding restricted work case.

Lost Time Injury Frequency (LTIF)

The Lost Time Injury Frequency is the total number of Lost Time Injuries per million Exposure Hours worked during the period.
Thus: LTIF = Total No. LTI 1,000,000
                   Cumulative Man-hours

Medium & Low Risk Incidents

Incident for which the combination of potential consequences and probability is assessed in the yellow or greenish shaded area of the Risk Assessment Matrix.
Accident Reporting and Investigation | Construction Site
Risk Matrix

Total Recordable Cases Frequency (TRCF)

The Total Recordable Case Frequency is the number of total recordable cases per million exposure hours worked during the period.
Thus:        TRCF =       TRC x 1,000,000 
                                       Exposure Hours

Severity Rate (SR)

Severity rate is defined as the total number of lost workdays per million hours of exposure.
Severity Rate
No. of Lost Workdays x 1,000,000
Exposure Hours

Work related activities

Work related activities are defined as those activities for which management controls are in place, or should have been in place. Incidents occurring during such activities must be reported and will be included in performance statistics. All incidents should be considered work related and reported until proven otherwise during investigation.

Near Misses:

Near-miss are defined as "incidents that, in slightly different circumstances, could have caused illness, injury or damage to business assets, the environment or business reputation, but I have not done so. All nearby accidents are treated as significant, they are informed and investigated immediately.

Permanent Total Disability (PTD)

Permanent Total Disability is any work-related injury, which permanently and totally incapacitates an employee. This often results in termination of employment.

Restricted Work Case (RWC)

Any work injury which renders the injured person unable to perform his regular job, but is capable of resuming an alternative restricted work assignment or (light duty) on the next scheduled workday after the day on which the injury occurred.

Significant incident

Incident with actual consequences rating 3, 4 or 5 on the Risk Assessment Matrix
Incident report and investigation is a reactive tool, but it still remains a vital means of monitoring HSE performances on construction project. It is therefore mandatory that employees report all incidents that may occur in construction site. The actual and potential impact of the incident will be considered during investigation and during recommendation of corrective and preventive actions.

Notification and reporting of an Incident/accident at construction site

All personnel at construction sites from contractual worker, subcontractor and EPC staff must report incidents/accidents to their immediate supervisor must formally notify the construction project management team through incident notification form. Verbal reporting must be done immediately to superior official and other regulatory body, if applicable,  and written first information incident/ accident report must be submitted within 2 hours after finished of first aid and other control measures.

Investigation of an Incident/accident at construction site

All incidents and near misses must be investigated promptly. It is imperative for effectiveness that the investigation commences immediately and not later than 24 hours after reporting.

The purpose of the investigation includes to:

  • Identify the immediate causes.
  • Determine the underlying causes.
  • Prevent recurrences.
  • Recommend corrective actions.
  • Meet statutory requirements.

The depth and details of the investigation will be dependent on the incident severity, or the potential for the incident to have caused harm. Careful examination of Incident scene is an essential part of investigations.

The following are some of the areas to consider during incident investigation.

  • Positioning of victim, vehicles, plant, equipment, witnesses.
  • Condition of related equipment
  • Weather condition.
  • Quality of work environment prior to incident
  • Markings on surface which are related to the incident.
  • Any other tell-tale signs
  • Persons involved.

All witnesses must be interviewed in private and in an informal manner. A recording of any statements made must be ensured and the details must be verified by interviewing other witnesses. Any discrepancies should then be discussed and clarified.

Work procedures/ Permits/ Instructions

If written procedures or work permits were in use at the time of incident, it should be established to what extent these were followed and understood. The same applies to any instruction given by supervisors in relation to the task where the incident was recorded.

Areas of Concern during investigation and Reporting

For Significant and High-Risk incidents report must contain as a minimum
  • Place, time, date and description
  • Details about the injured and the injuries
  • Details of vehicles, drivers and passengers, if applicable
  • Post incident response
  • Observations during the investigation
  • Immediate action taken
  • Findings and recommendations
  • Photographs and sketches

For Low Risk incidents the report shall contain as a minimum
  • Place, time, date and description
  • Actual and potential consequences
  • Barriers, active failures and action items

Construction site Incident Follow up

Assessment and Classification

All incidents must be assessed using the Risk Matrix set as per established company procedure. The construction site Head must make an initial assessment of the actual and potential severity of the incident and respond to the incident.

Recommend Corrective action & Improvements

Actions items must address all failed and missing barriers, it must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound)

Hierarchy of Control Engineering Controls

Accident Reporting and Investigation Hierarchy of control
Hierarchy of controls

Eliminate or reduce the danger
Eliminate or reduce the severity of the danger itself by initial design and redesign, housing, replacement, replacement and other technical modifications.
Main forces: eliminates the danger itself. It does not depend solely on human behavior for its effectiveness.
Important weakness: may not be achieved if the controls cause long-term financial problems.
Management control: eliminate or reduce exposure
Reduce the duration, frequency and severity of exposure to hazards, primarily through changes and work procedures and practices, as well as through planning, rotation and work breaks.
Major weakness: depends on the proper design and implementation of controls and employee behavior.
Personal protective equipment (PPE): place a barrier
Equipment for personal use that forms a barrier between the worker and the danger. Major weakness: Relies on appropriate design and implementation of controls appropriate employee behavior.

Incident review at construction site

Incident Review follows Investigation and is principally concerned with preventing the recurrence of incidents via discussions on underlying causes and remedial actions. Incidents should be reviewed to a level of detail commensurate with Risk Potential. As a minimum the following are to be investigated & reviewed by Incident Review committee. Incidents with Actual Severity 3 and above.
  • High Risk Potential Incidents.
  • Medium Risk Potential Incidents.
  • Other Incidents selected for review by HSE specialist.

Construction project incident review committee may be responsible for:

  • Challenging and testing investigation team to ensure all active and latent failures are identified.
  • Reviewing and endorsing the actual severity and potential risk rating provisionally signed to each incident.
  • Endorsing recommended corrective and remedial action items. On confirming actions, action parties and deadline for close out.
  • Determining appropriate lateral learning method to ensure that all personnel are adequately informed to prevent a recurrence. Incident review can also be conducted along with Management Review Meeting. 

Accident Reporting and Investigation | Construction Site
Incident review committee

Incident Management Process at construction site

If the incident results in an emergency, the situation must be stabilized before any other actions in line with the Construction site emergency response procedures.
If the incident has not resulted in an emergency then on receiving the first report the Construction head along with HSE Manager may immediately visit the site of the incident to:
  • To ensure that site is in safe condition
  • Take necessary immediate actions
  • Identify the immediate cause
  • Have the first-hand information about the incident
  • Makes initial assessment as to whether incident is work related.
  • Assigns actual severity
  • Assigns potential severity
  • Notify Client representative.
  • Top Management must initiate an investigation according to the potential of the incident. Management must appoint investigation team based on their experience, areas of expertise and type of incident.
  • Investigation Team must complete the investigation report, which must contain immediate cause, root or underlying cause, probability of recurrence rating along with recommendations.
  • The incident review meeting must be convened to review the incident and ascertain the correctness of the root cause and the actions.
  • Close out of action point from both the investigation report and the incident review may be monitored and validate by the HSE Manager.
  • All incidents and near misses may remain open and not be closed-out until all actions have been completed.
  • Learning points must be prepared and communicated to all interested parties.

Accident Reporting and Investigation | Construction Site
Incident reporting and investigation records
Accident Reporting and Investigation in Construction Site Records
  • Below record must be maintained for each incident/ accident and investigation
  • Near miss reports
  • Incident reports
  • Investigation Reports
  • Minutes of meetings of Incident Review Committee
  • CorrectiveAction closeout record


Incident reporting and investigation in construction site must be ensured for all unwanted events. Incident investigation must be carried out for fact finding and not for fault finding. All the evidence must be preserved at incident site to help the quality investigation. The learning of incident must be shared with all to prevent recurrences. Record must be maintained.

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