Investigation of accidents at work
Investigations of accidents at work, or TOT investigations, and the related research and analysis are one of the principal processes and monitoring areas of the Research and Analysis Services Unit of Finnish Workers' Compensation Center (TVK).
A TOT investigation means an accident investigation conducted according to the mutual agreements of the insurance sector and key industrial partners. Its purpose is to make the prevention of accidents at work more effective by determining events that led and factors that contributed to an accident and discussing how similar accidents could be prevented.
The cases on which a TOT investigation is performed are determined by TVK’s TOT Board on the basis of proposals made by TVK’s experts. In principle, TOT investigations concern fatal accidents at work.
When the TOT Board is considering a case for investigation, it pays particular attention to the following points:
- seriousness and category of the accident
- frequency of similar accidents and the likelihood of the accident being repeated
- possible proposals by different stakeholders to perform an investigation
- whether investigation can provide any important safety information
- whether the accident put several people in danger at the same time
- whether another stakeholder is investigating the accident.
When a decision is being made on whether an individual case should be investigated, the TOT Board considers, in particular, whether an investigation can provide important and useful information on how to prevent similar accidents at work and risk situations and how to promote general safety at work. Investigation focuses particularly in cases that represent new risks or emerging industries, cases that could have led to a major accident and cases not investigated at all or to a sufficient extent by other stakeholders.
It is also important to pay attention to the seriousness of the accident or risk situation and its category. Possible national and international dimension of the accident is also considered in the assessment. Another important question is whether any features of the accident or the risk situation can be or are often repeated in other accidents.
A TOT investigation can also be a thematic investigation, in which case the same investigation focuses and reports are prepared on more than one similar accidents or risk situations. It is justified to perform a thematic investigation if the same industry seems to have recurring problems or safety failures. In a thematic investigation, the perspective is more clearly on the accident itself and the possible prevention methods.