Prompt Incident Reporting – it’s hammered into us during orientations, during safety meetings and tool box meetings. Is it really important? …Why?
There are really two primary reasons why incidents and injuries should be reported immediately:
- To prevent the injury from getting worse
- To correct an identified hazard before a person has an incident and now, because of legislative changes that have come into effect with the introduction of Bill 30, Potentially Serious Incidents also require reporting to OHS.
Preventing the injury from getting worse:
- One of the best examples is the reporting of eye injuries or irritations. If a small particle enters the eye, it may not seem like a big deal to the person at the time. However, if the particle is allowed to stay in the eye, it could become embedded or scratch the surface of the eye. If it is a metal particle, a rust ring may develop which would need to be drilled out (or debrided).
- Another example is a cut, scratch or abrasion of the skin not being reported and treated immediately. Infection can occur, with serious consequences, which in some cases has resulted in surgery or even amputation of a finger or toe.
The key to the above listed examples and other injuries is to report promptly and get treatment. Sometimes there may be a reluctance to go to the clinic or doctor until the following day, particularly if the injury occurs late in the afternoon. The person may feel that they are ok, and that they will feel better in the morning. We should be proactive and get the injury treated right away.
Supervision and management need to be firm about ensuring treatment of the injuries before the person goes home for the day. The same is true if the injury occurs late on the last day of the work week, or before a holiday.
If the reporting and treatment are not done promptly, we lose the advantage of being able to get the best treatment results for the injured. We also have less opportunity to manage the case to prevent it from becoming worse.
Correcting a hazard before a person has an accident:
- Conduct a thorough site inspection to identify any potential or existing hazards.
- Prompt reporting of hazardous situations or near miss incidents provide the opportunity to avoid a possible injury or serious accident from ever occurring.
- If a hazard is allowed to remain, it is just a matter of time before someone gets injured.
- Tripping hazards and congested pathways are the cause of many injuries. If a worker cannot correct the situation on their own, it is important for them to report it to their supervisor, and for the supervisor to take prompt action to correct the situation.
There are other reasons why Prompt incident/injury reporting is important:
- Determine the causes
- Pass that information to others so that they do not have the same incident.
- Employee morale – prompt reporting allows for corrective action to be taken in a timely manner and employees realize that management and the company are serious about their health and well-being.
- Internal reporting – Reporting alerts management so that they can respond to the situation if needed, or reply to any potential client questions on how they are managing the case.
- Client reporting – Clients usually require prompt reporting of injuries and incidents.
Prompt incident reporting is important for many reasons, including those we have just mentioned. Sometimes, the process and procedure for reporting and record incidents, including near miss, can be overwhelming or confusing. If you, or someone you know, would like more information about Incident Reporting, or any other health and safety information including HSE Programs, please feel free to contact us at Safety Ahead! We would love to hear from you!