Essay Example on Accident Investigation Techniques

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Harvey Mudd College
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Question 1: Preserving an accident scene.

To prevent evidence contamination in an accident scene, there are some guidelines that need to be adhered to. The first action that needs to be done is cordoning off the scene to ensure that it is secure and not tampered with, it is a vital action since it prevents any further harm to the evidence. The power to any machinery should be turned off for safety purposes of the medical personnel and investigators. The injured persons can then be taken to a safer position where first aid can be administered. Only the authorized personnel are allowed to the scene. The pictures are then taken to help in the documentation of the evidence. This also will ensure evidence integrity in case the investigator need to revisit the scene. The individuals who were present during and after the accidents are interviewed as soon as possible when they are conversant with the details. The evidence collected is assessed then documented. Oakley (2012) stated that the accident scene should be drawn to show the positions of the evidence found.

Question 2: Importance of ready investigative kit

When conducting investigations, it is important to have a ready investigative kit, and it should be accessible at any time. This will ensure that the response time of an accident is minimal as possible. The tools that should be included in the investigative kit are protective gear for the investigator, security tape for cordoning the accident scene, evidence bags, tape measure, and camera for taking photographs. It is important to have the necessary forms and a clipboard for documenting the evidence (Oakley, 2012).

Question 3: Important interviewing tip

When interviewing an accident scene, it is vital to have good interviewing skills to get helpful information as much as possible. A good interviewer should be resourceful to ensure that the questions gather much information as possible. In my opinion, the interviewer should ask open-ended questions that the interviewee is able to elaborate more accurately. An interviewer should ensure that the questions do not make the interviewee uncomfortable in order to ensure that the anticipated results are attained (Oakley, 2012)

Question 4: Questions to a witness in the scene of accident

Oakley (2012) stated that when questioning an accident witness, one should ask open-ended questions that cannot simply answered by a 'yes or no' answer. From the facts presented in the case scenario, it is conclusive that the worker may have or not taken the proper precautions required when working in a confined space as stipulated by the OSHA regulations. Here are the questions to the witness:

What was your position when the accident occurred? Such question will give me an overview on whether the witness had a clear view of the accident scene. It will give rise to questioning the kind of equipment that was used by the workers and if there were an emergency response unit at the scene.

What did you witness? This will provide the in-depth details on what occurred.

What did the other workers doing when worker #1 descended the ladder? The question will answer whether the workers had tested the air in the vault.

What was the worker wearing when working? The question will provide answers regarding the manner in which the workers were equipped for the conditions in the confined vault.

What was the time interval between the time the worker #1 collapsed and when worker #3 called for an emergency? This provides insight on whether there was still enough time to rescue the workers.

Question 5: Discussing evidence to collect.

Evidence collected assists in solving the puzzle of the occurred accidents. Therefore it is vital for this evidence to be collected as soon as possible after the first response personnel is out of the scene. This will ensure that such evidence is not damaged or lost. The four P evidence concept to be applied are as follows.

Physical evidence- The claim is that the workers died due to insufficient oxygen, so I would collect the air samples at the vault so that they can be tested at the laboratory. I would check the protective gear as well as the equipment that the workers had to ascertain whether they were suitable for working conditions. I will check and note any other deficiencies at the vault to check there was anything that was amiss at the accident scene and use a graph paper to note the positions of all the protective gear and equipment that were used by the workers in the vault.

Paper evidence- I will inquire with the worker #3 to check if they were permitted to work on the scene (the confined space area) and on whose authority were they under when they were working. When I have done all the necessary investigation at the accident scene and ensuring that the scene is secured, I will head to the workers base of operation to investigate the records kept. This will give the information regarding the state and the last inspection and maintenance date of the protective gear and the equipment that was being used by the workers. I will inquire on the training done by the company on the emergency procedures for their workers. The companys guidelines and rules that should be followed by the workers should be checked to see if they meet the required standard.

People evidence- The first person to check with is the worker #3 because he/she is the primary witness to the accident (Oakley, 2012). He/she will provide insight on what occurred at the scene. I will then check on the other witnesses on what they saw or heard at the accident scene. This should be done immediately so as to get accurate information that is not doctored. I will seek to inquire if there are any security cameras or any kind of recording on the place before, during and after the accident. The information gathered here will be compared to check their authenticity.

Photographic evidence- The scene of the accident should be photographed immediately before anything is touched or removed after the response of the medical team. The photographs of the deceased workers, their equipment, and their positions will be taken for future reference if the accident scene needs to be revisited. This will also help in identifying the damaged evidence. Oakley (2012) asserts that such photographic evidence will be helpful in the future to investigators who had not visited the scene before. The documented photos of the accident scene will also help to redraw the scene in the future in need be.



Oakley, J. S. (2012). Accident investigation techniques. American Society of Safety Engineers.


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