This form is a small piece of a total program and proper investigation.
The witness statement is a powerful piece of an investigation, as it can reveal facts in an accident that others might not have seen or are trying to be covered up. Remember though, eyewitness accounts are not always 100% reliable, as people can subconsciously place a bias onto a situation or worse create a false memory.
Check out this video for a quick understanding of how unreliable eyewitness testimony can be sometimes.
So, how do you get past this issue with eyewitness statements?
Simple: investigative processes, and train your team on these basics.
These 2 steps will increase the usefulness of your eyewitness statements.
First and most important: After an incident, after any medical is taken care of, gather all eyewitnesses, put them in separate areas and have them write out the details, as they remember them. The longer you wait, the more unreliable their memory is.
Second: Before letting them leave, talk through their written statement, have them walk through it verbally, without their written statement. Look for inconsistencies, look for more details, have them run through forward and backward on the timeline of events. Take notes.
From there, it comes down to using every statement, to create a timeline of events and to compare to statements of those involved.
What else is useful as part of a quality accident investigation program?
- Guidelines for conducting an incident investigation;
- An Accident Investigation Program;
- Incident Investigation Training for those that will be doing it;
- A full report post incident;
- Corrective Actions from incidents.
check out what else I have to help your facility’s incident investigation program
It is also helpful to the investigation to conduct a root cause.
Don’t overlook my book on Root Cause Analysis available for sale on Amazon