Interviewing injured workers and witnesses is an important step in an incident (accident) investigation and getting accurate and helpful information requires reducing possible fear and anxiety and developing a good rapport.
Interviews should follow these steps:
- Conduct the interview in a quiet and private place.
- Use open ended questions.
- State the purpose of the investigation and interview is to do fact-finding, not fault-finding.
- Ask the individual to recount their version of what happened without interrupting. Take notes or record their response.
- Ask clarifying questions to fill in missing information.
- Reflect back to the interviewee the factual information obtained. Correct any inconsistencies.
- Ask the individual what they think could have prevented the incident, focusing on the conditions and events preceding the injury.
- Thank the witness.
- Finish documenting the interview.
See How to conduct an incident investigation. This four-page guidance document, developed by an OSHA/National Safety Council National Alliance, provides an overview on conducting an incident investigation.