A practical guide for labour inspectors

Investigation of occupational accidents and diseases

The guide provides inspectors with information on the importance of, and a suggested methodology for, conducting effective investigations and compiling reports.

This guide is designed to equip labour inspectors with the necessary skills to conduct effective investigations into occupational accidents, occupational diseases and other undesired events (such as dangerous occurrences and near miss/incidents) that could have led to personal injuries affecting workers or members of the public. It should be borne in mind that occupational accidents, diseases and other undesired events are preventable. Conducting an effective investigation will identify not only causal factors, but actions that would have prevented the event from occurring.

While the ILO understands that other methodologies for conducting investigations are available, it believes that following the presented methodology will help inspectors to identify all the immediate and root causes of the event under investigation. This, in turn, will enable inspectors to help employers, enterprises and worker representatives to identify appropriate prevention/risk control measures to prevent a recurrence of the actions that led to the event under investigation, thereby improving occupational safety and health management.

The guide was developed in conjunction with the ILO International Training Centre in Turin following a workshop on conducting occupational accident and disease investigations, which was attended by constituents from Brazil, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Romania, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and technical specialists from the Labour Administration, Labour Inspection and Occupational Safety and Health Branch of the ILO.