Accident Investigation for Environmental Incidents
In any aspect regarding health and safety the prevention of accidents is preferred to having to deal with the aftermath, and environmental incidents are no exception.
Many different forms of accidents can have a direct effect upon the environment, sometimes lasting for long periods of time such as the Chernobyl nuclear disaster which still makes the surrounding area uninhabitable decades later, so it is imperative that suitable and sufficient control and preventative measures are in place to prevent an accident or incident which has a damaging impact on the environment, whether this be to humans, animals, plant life or atmospheric damage to the ozone layer or build up of greenhouse gases.
Whenever there is an accident or near miss which has actual or the potential for damage to the environment it must be thoroughly investigated. Whilst some may think that by this time it is too late to do anything as the incident has already taken place, in actual fact it is crucial that meticulous accident investigation takes place so that the causes of the accident can be determined with the intention of putting into place more effective safeguards to prevent future occurrences, as it is 99.9% certain that the incident came about through inadequate safety measures or deficient procedures.
In the case of a near miss which does not result in any damage to health or the environment, the organisation had a lucky escape this time, but next time they may not be so lucky, and so investigating the causes and situation which led up to this near miss will allow steps to be taken to prevent it from happening again, which may that time result in a fully-blown environmental disaster.
Of course, in order to carry out extensive investigations, competent persons who have undertaken accident investigation training and have a thorough knowledge not only of the existing systems, procedures and processes that are utilised by the company, but also of environmental issues and hold an environmental qualification like the NEBOSH Environmental Certificate for example.
For more information regarding this qualification or the various other NEBOSH courses available, please choose the "NEBOSH Courses" option from the "Health & Safety" drop-down at the top of the page.