The Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has launched a new guide designed to help employers learn from workplace accidents and prevent reoccurrences.

Examining both serious accidents and deaths at work, the Learning the Lessons guide covers issues such as preparation and planning, initial response and internal investigations and competence.

Ian Waldram, chair of the working party that produced the guide, said that "thankfully" the majority of health and safety practitioners do not have to deal with the aftermath of serious and fatal accidents very often, thanks to sound health and safety practices.

However he added: "We think it’s good to have some pre-planned investigation arrangements in case the worst happens and someone is killed or seriously hurt at work."

Figures from the Health and Safety Executive show that 228 employees were fatally injured at work in 2007/08, with the agriculture and construction sectors recording the highest number of workplace deaths.