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Section 173 of the Workers Compensation Act requires that an employer immediately investigate the cause of certain incidents. These include all incidents that the employer is required to report to WorkSafeBC; however, the employer does not need to investigate motor vehicle accidents on a public roadway. See Reporting Incidents to WorkSafeBC for more information.
The employer must also investigate any incidents that resulted in injury to a worker requiring medical treatment or that had the potential for causing serious injury to a worker. In addition, the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation sets out other incidents that must be investigated.
The purpose of an investigation is to determine the cause or causes of the incident, to identify any unsafe conditions, acts, or procedures that contributed to the incident, and to recommend corrective action to prevent similar incidents.
The investigation must be carried out by persons who are knowledgeable about the type of work involved. An employer and a worker representative must participate if they are reasonably available.
Section 3.4 of the OHS Regulation sets out what the report must contain:
WorkSafeBC has an incident investigation form to help employers investigate an incident. Download Incident Investigation Report, Form 52E40 (PDF 113 KB). This form includes 2 pages to help employers complete their investigation report. The fishing industry uses Fishing Incident Investigation Report, Form 52E40F (PDF 315 KB).
For additional resources, see Employer resources for conducting an investigation.
Incident investigation reports required by the Workers Compensation Act must be provided to the joint health and safety committee or worker representative as applicable, and to WorkSafeBC.
Following an investigation, the employer must, without undue delay, undertake any corrective action required to prevent similar incidents from occurring. The employer must prepare a report of the action taken and provide a copy to the joint health and safety committee (or worker representative) or post it at the workplace.
Failure to carry out an incident investigation could result in an order (and possibly an administrative penalty) being issued against the employer, or a prosecution. See FAQs on penalties for more information about administrative penalties and prosecution.