Responding to Workplace Accidents
You are the supervisor on duty when an employee rushes in and tells you there’s been a bad accident and another employee has been injured. What should you do?
According to Mark Haskins, a principal with Practical Safety Solutions LLC and a Certified Safety Professional, there’s a definite process that should be followed and it helps to think about the steps before you’re actually called into action.
Here’s the advice Haskins offered when he spoke to attendees at a recent CBIA safety seminar:
- Take control at the scene and try to restore order.
- Assure first aid and call for emergency services. Provide immediate care if you’re qualified to do so; have someone else call for help.
- Control potential secondary accidents. This includes denying access to people who don’t need to be on the scene. If there’s been a spill, for example, you don’t want other employees wandering through and slipping on something.
- Identify people and conditions at the scene. The people are potential witnesses to what happened. Have someone else take down their names. If you’re alone at the scene, try to at least look around and notice who’s there.
- Preserve physical evidence. Secure the scene and, again, control access. You don’t want evidence being altered or removed.
Once the immediate emergency is stabilized, these additional steps should be taken:
- Evaluate how bad the loss is, how bad it could have been, and whether additional investigation resources are needed.
- Make appropriate notifications. Be sure owners and upper management are notified; they should not learn about the accident from the newspaper. Also contact families, any necessary regulatory agencies, and your insurance companies.
An initial report should be completed and sent to all supervisors within 24 hours of the accident.
A follow-up report that includes recommended action should be undertaken within 48 hours and completed within 30 days.
Finally, it’s a good idea to have a written procedure to be followed in case of an accident and to train employees and supervisors in the procedure.
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