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.

Upcoming OSHA #7505 Introduction to Incident (Accident) Investigation Classes