Learning from work accidents

The Danish Working Environment Authority has developed a tool for analyzing occupational accidents. The tool helps identify situations in which safety must be improved.

Good and effective accident prevention presupposes knowing all the reasons for the accident. Enterprises can obtain this knowledge by using the Danish Working Environment Authority's tool to analyse work accidents. The tool helps identify the causes of the accident and establishes the situations in which safety must be improved to prevent recurrences.

Help to identify situations in which safety must be improved

It is often relatively easy to identify exactly why a physical injury occurs; it could be an employee slipping and hitting his or her head on an edge. However, analyses by the Danish Working Environment Authority of accidents at work throughout many years, show that there are always one or more planning-related or personal reasons which may have significance for the physical problem.

The purpose of the method is to:

  • identify the chain of events occurring prior to the accident
  • identify the interaction between physical problems, personal carelessness and oversights in planning
  • investigate whether similar accidents could occur, including at other places in the enterprise
  • Identify where safety could be improved.

Tools and guidelines

The method includes a Guide to learn from accidents and a Dialogue Tool:

Guide to learn from accidents (Word)

Dialogue Tool for analyzing accidents at work (pdf)

How to use the guide to learn from accidents at work


The "Guide to learn from accidents" is a simple tool. The guide includes 15 categories of possible causes of an accidents at work. It enables the enterprise to learn more about the causes of the accident and thus carry out effective and long-lasting preventive measures.

The Dialogue Tool is a graphic version of the main elements in the guide. With the guide and the dialogue tool, the enterprise can identify the causes of a specific accidents at work in a simple and systematic manner.

The guide to learn from accidents has been developed for use by all enterprises in all types of accidents. Therefore, the guide is also available as an editable document, making it possible to adapt to a specific sector or enterprise and specific types of accidents.

Guide to learn from accidents (Word, editable)