Incidents in the Workplace

When dealing with an incident in the workplace, there are many procedures and steps to take, whether the incident is small or a huge catastrophe. Major or minor, the incident still needs to be reported to your place of employment, and if needed, OSHA, police, fire police, insurance company, Health, Safety, and the Environment (HSE), etc.

As the employee, let your immediate supervisors know as soon as possible and let them know of any injuries that occurred at that time. Ask your supervisors if the incident needs to be recorded into an “accident book” that the company keeps on record. If you are injured, check the contract for information on sick pay or accident pay if it applies to your incident. If there is a dispute with the employer about injuries that happened during the incident, contact a worker’s compensation lawyer to get the situation resolved.

The facility at this point should be starting an investigation of the incident. All managers should be aware of what took place in case the incident affects their department. There should be an emergency action plan that everyone is following until the area is safe. The incident site should be restricted until the investigation is complete.

The investigation team is made up of candidates with a mixture of skills, such as knowledge of the company rules and standards.  During the investigation, there should be photographs taken of the area. Mark the location on a map of the facility for future reference in case the location played a role in the incident. Record all relevant information, such as time sequence and distances of the incident area. Details are important, such as which step the worker slipped on, where the worker was during the explosion, or the damage caused from a pipe leak. Also, collect any necessary samples for analysis that may help the investigation, like remanence from a fire or clothing that was caught on a sharp object.

All of these steps and procedures are in place to make improvements to the company and not to place blame on any one person. All incidents must be reported and investigated no matter how big or small. The company uses these notes and actions to prevent a repeat of the same incident. The main goal is to change working conditions by eliminating or reducing factors that create unsafe work conditions and behaviors.

When an incident happens in the work place, don’t be afraid to report it because in the end, reporting it could benefit you and the company by revealing a hazard that nobody knew was there. Now the hazard can be properly addressed, and other incidents can be prevented.


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Casey Caldwell

Guest Blogger |
Casey Caldwell was formerly a typesetter, copywriter, and guest blogger for Rigid Lifelines. Casey has five years of experience in digital arts, typesetting, and copywriting. She holds an Associates Degree from the Art Institute of York, along with a certification in desktop publishing and visual communications from the Lancaster County Career and Technology Center.