Reporting accidents at one’s workplace has to be done according to an existing policy. Even the minor incidents or near misses must be reported using this.
Who Has the Responsibility?
It is the organisation’s responsibility to know the active policy and to identify those events which have to be reported. Also, the organisation has to know or designate the person to whom it will be reported and the manner in which the process is completed. Consequently, the process needs to be put into written procedure. The department supervisor is usually the one who has to find out first about the event and to take immediate appropriate action. The supervisor’s duty includes calling for medical services or arranging these to be provided on spot in case anyone is injured. He also needs to complete an investigation report and implement corrective actions.
Investigation is a must, and it has to identify the cause or causes of the accident or of the “near miss”. Its aim is also to lead to the most appropriate measures to be taken in order to prevent such situations in future. Disciplinary action is required if the accident was caused through the negligence or bad intentions of an employee. Co-workers and anyone around should be protected. Look for witnesses and evidence, and establish exactly what happened. The trouble area of the work space has to be secured if that is the case. Inspect the equipment and ban if suspicious. If it is thought to help, the organisation may interview anyone involved. This is recommended even when one employee admits it was their own fault.
The Disciplinary Program
If one person’s actions jeopardise the others’ safety at the workplace, special measures need to be taken, according to the regulations in use. To develop a disciplinary program, the personnel department together with a lawyer should be the ones in charge. The program must be effective and prevent repeat offences. Its nature will depend on the severity of the transgression and damage, on prior history and on other connected factors, such as whether there was adequate training or not. An employer cannot be the subject of penalty when it was not his guilt to start with, but the fault belonged to a faulty training within the company itself.
Examples of Disciplinary Actions
Disciplinary actions are addressed to those employees or volunteers who have not complied with the safety procedure and have complete or partial fault in the event. The most common and easiest measures to be taken are represented by a written warning and counselling of the person who was responsible for the event. These are usually put into practise in case of first offence situation. Suspension and, ultimately, dismissal are the measures taken when the offence is more severe or repeated.
Reporting the Accident
The competent personnel must satisfy the legal requirements. An investigation report is completed before taking any corrective measures. All injuries should be taken into consideration, even the minor ones like bumps or scratches. What is left aside can later develop into something much worse. An on-the-job accident has to be reported right after medical care was ensured and the immediate supervisor notified. The Human Resources must be notified as well. Even back injuries, although seemingly insignificant, should be reported in detail. Employers are required to obtain a written doctor’s release if they are forced to spend time away from work, and this one is necessary before returning.
Often, the safety hazard has to be rethought in order to avoid unfortunate incidents in future. Also, new training needs may become obvious.
Craig Bennett has been using his financial expertise to write advice for the financially challenged, as well as for those in need to be prepared to make accident at work claims that will be successful.