Accident Investigation

incident investigation
Receive unbiased analysis of any Utility Incident - from the Locating Unlimited Utility Accident Investigation team.

Let the Utility Accident Investigation team at Locating Unlimited provide unbiased analysis of any incident concerning damage to underground utilities.


Reasons to investigate a workplace accident include:

  • most importantly, to find out the cause of accidents and to prevent similar accidents in the future
  • fulfill any legal requirements
  • determine the cost of an accident
  • to determine compliance with applicable safety regulations
  • process workers’ compensation claims

Incidents that involve no injury or property damage should still be investigated. Risks and hazards may need to be corrected. The same principles apply to a quick inquiry of a minor incident and to the more formal investigation of a serious event.


Locating Unlimited uses a simple Utility Accident Investigation Model. The root cause of an incident is determined and then a report on the planned corrective actions is prepared. Necessary improvements to work methodology are suggested.

Any accident can be grouped into five categories – task, material, environment, personnel, and management. When this model is used, possible causes in each category are investigated. Each category is examined more closely below. Remember that these are sample questions only: no attempt has been made to develop a comprehensive checklist.



Here the actual work procedure being used at the time of the accident is explored.


To seek out possible causes resulting from the equipment and materials used.


The physical environment, and especially sudden changes to that environment, are factors that need to be identified. The situation at the time of the accident is what is important, not what the “usual” conditions were.


The physical and mental condition of those individuals directly involved in the event must be explored. The purpose for investigating the accident is not to establish blame against someone but the inquiry will not be complete unless personal characteristics are considered. Some factors will remain essentially constant while others may vary from day to day


Management holds the legal responsibility for the safety of the workplace and therefore the role of supervisors and higher management and the role or presence of management systems must always be considered in an accident investigation. Failures of management systems are often found to be direct or indirect factors in accidents.

The steps in Utility Accident Investigation are simple: the accident investigators gather information, analyse it, draw conclusions, and make recommendations. Although the procedures are straightforward, each step can have its pitfalls. An open mind is necessary in accident investigation: preconceived notions may result in some wrong paths being followed while leaving some significant facts uncovered. All possible causes should be considered.

This is why it is so important to have an independent investigation team that can deliver an unbiased opinion.

The most important final step is to come up with a set of well-considered recommendations designed to prevent recurrences of similar accidents. Recommendations will:

  • be specific
  • be constructive
  • get at root causes
  • identify contributing factors

The Japanese have a saying: “Fix the problem not the blame”.  This is the motto that the team at Locating Unlimited carries out all of their Utility Accident Investigation work.

Contact us now, and allow us to develop workable solutions to your accident investigation tasks.

Developed with assistance from: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.


how can we help you?

Contact us at the Locating Unlimited office nearest to you or submit a business inquiry online.

Jeff’s ability to engage with the team makes his training invaluable to our projects. Finding SME in remote areas is difficult; however Jeff thrives on the challenges presented and always delivers memorable training experiences.

Gerrard Heffernan
Project Manager, WDS fabrication & infastructure

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