When a New York resident is involved in an accident at work or develops an illness due to a work-related situation or environment, it may be necessary to have an investigation conducted to learn more about what may have contributed to the event or condition. This may be done by investigators from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

One important thing for people to understand is that OSHA consciously does not consider accidents to be accidents always but instead refers always to incidents. This is because the agency believes wholeheartedly that most events should be able to be prevented by following proper safety guidelines. Therefore, most events are not really accidental.

When investigating incidents, OSHA officials will look not only for an immediate cause but any underlying causes or factors as well. For example, they may try to ascertain why a particular safety protocol was not followed or what business pressures were put on workers. These things may expose larger issues that require addressing. The goal is to find the cause of one event, allow the problem to be fixed and to prevent future similar events from happening caused by the same factors or oversights. When multiple incidents occur due to the same factor, a company may face increased penalties.

If you would like to learn more about what is involved in an investigation by OSHA after an accident or an injury happens at a workplace, please feel free to visit the OHSA incident investigation page of our New York worker’s safety website.