Accident or Incident Investigation

The following briefing was agreed between the BT management & Union Safety Representatives at the last SSA Joint Health & Safety Consultative Committee meeting in December 2003, but equally should apply as best practice anywhere within BT. 

BT and the employee representative organisations (Unions) intend to work as partners in promoting the highest standards of health and safety and we will secure the commitment of all our people to this aim. The newly agreed Health & Safety Consultative Arrangements provide the relevant guidelines full details of which can be found at URL

Managers need to comply with the agreed Health & Safety Consultative Arrangements and one of the key areas that will help reduce accidents is to utilise Union Safety Representatives (USRs) to assist in joint accident / incident investigations.

USRs are often better trained and more experienced than many line managers on Accident or Incident investigation, it is therefore sensible to use that experience in finding out what happened, why it happened and what can be done to prevent it happening again to someone else, perhaps more seriously.

The accident / incident investigation should take place ideally as soon as possible after the accident or incident has occurred. All accident / incident investigations will therefore, wherever possible, be conducted jointly between the line manager and a USR.

If a USR is unable, for whatever reason, to assist in a joint investigation, the USR must still be allowed reasonable paid time off to carry out an investigation. Time off will not be unreasonably refused particularly where the incident is serious or there is a possibility of recurrence.

Managers will be challenged on incident conference calls with regard to whether USR involvement had been requested from the outset. Adopt best practice use their experience to help get to the root cause of the incident you are investigating.

There is a USR database which is being established and should be accessible soon at URL:

If you do not know who your local USR is or union branch, contact BT Unions London H&S Secretary Barry Gapes on 020 7248 2831 or who may be able to assist. Further information on Accident & Incident investigation can be found in ISIS SFY/LAP/A011 at URL

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