How to Conduct an Investigation After a Work Safety Incident
Every employer is required to provide a safe, healthy and conducive environment at the workplace for workers to do their job. The air that employees breathe must be clean and the warehouse, factory floor or business premise must be cleaned on a regular basis. Furthermore, there must be a fire suppression system, first aid kits, and safety features to ensure employees are always safe. In addition to this, dangerous chemicals must be properly labeled to ensure each employee can easily identify a chemical as well as its hazards. The labeling must also provide information about precautions and first aid procedures among other things. That said, all these measures cannot prevent accidents, but that does not mean that all precautions are in vain. Follow this guide to conducting an investigation after a work safety incident to ensure that the entire process goes smoothly.
WorkSafeBC requires that employers investigate specific incidents if they occur.
Improving Workplace Safety Through Proper Investigation of Incidents
When an incident occurs, your primary concern as the employer is obviously to keep employees safe and provide them with proper medical attention to mitigate their injuries. Another major concern is protecting your property. In the aftermath of an incident, the first thing you should do is seek to determine what caused the accident. By doing a thorough investigation of the incident, you can identify the real cause of the accident and put in place measures to prevent the same problem from recurring in the future.
Incidents that Require Investigation
While it may be in your best interest to investigate any incident at the workplace, it’s also a legal requirement. The following is a list of incidents that require investigation per WorkSafeBC:
– Blasting incident that causes personal injury
– Any injury that requires medical treatment
– Major structural collapse or failure
– Major release of hazardous chemicals
– Diving incidents as defined by the OHS
– Dangerous incidents involving explosive materials
– Any incident that causes little injury, or no injury at all, but had the potential of causing a serious injury
– Death of a worker or serious injury at the workplace
Stages of Investigation
Any investigation into an incident at the workplace must have four stages. These are:
– Preliminary Investigation: This stage gives you the opportunity to identify unsafe conditions, procedures or acts that must be addressed before operations can resume safely until a full investigation is complete. The investigation, together with the incident report must be completed within 48 hours after the incident.
– Interim Corrective Actions: At this stage, you are required to take all necessary precautions to prevent the same incident from recurring while awaiting the final report.
– Full Investigation: All the key facts and circumstances surrounding an incident are investigated to determine the root cause. This must be completed within 30 days.
– Final Corrective Actions: Once the incident has been fully investigated, you must prepare a corrective action report.
Type of Reporting Required
As an employer, you are required to complete up to four different types of reports, depending on the incident. These reports must comply with WorkSafeBC Prevention policies. The reports are made on each of the steps of the investigative process.
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