If an accident happens at work, what do I do?

If an accident happens at work, what do I do?

Understanding the steps to take should an accident occur in your workplace in order to ensure any injured persons are taken care of properly and the business meets their duties during, and post incident, is important.

The HSWA 2015 and associated regulations places a number of duties on PCBUs (businesses), Officers and Workers.
All businesses should understand the risks associated with the work they are undertaking and have controls to either eliminate the risk or manage these risks to as low a risk level as is reasonably practical.

Even with these steps taken, an emergency situation can still occur. This might be a fire, an earthquake, a motor vehicle accident or someone who is injured on the job.

In order to be prepared for these and other situations, all workplaces must have a well thought out Emergency Plan. This would include having mapped processes in place to exit buildings, trained wardens, assembly points sign posted and first aiders available. Fire extinguishers and first aid kits and facilities should also be available. All workers should be aware and practical emergency drills undertaken so they know what to do and where to go should disaster strike.

If a serious injury, illness or incident does occur, below is a simple guide of steps to take to manage things.
1. Take care of your worker first
Your workers’ safety comes first and getting an injured person treatment quickly is crucial. In an emergency situation, call 111. In non-emergency situations, transport the injured employee to a medical facility for treatment as soon as possible.

2. Notify Worksafe
Serious injuries, illnesses and some incidents are required to be notified to Worksafe. (A full list if Notifiable injuries, illnesses and incidents is available on the Worksafe website: https://worksafe.govt.nz/notifications/notifiable-event/what-is-a-notifiable-event/.
Rule of thumb, if the injury is serious enough that an ambulance is called, the worker or workers are admitted to hospital overnight or emergency services are called following a work-related incident, such as a collapsed structure or powerlines being brought down, then Worksafe should be notified.
This can be done by ringing 0800 030 040 or an online notification can be completed on the Worksafe website. Your Health and Safety provider should be able to help with this or with your agreement, notify Worksafe on your behalf.

2. Secure the scene
The site of any serious accident needs to be secured as quickly as possible for investigative purposes. Limit access to the scene of the incident to avoid secondary accidents, then secure and save any equipment or materials that were involved in the incident. Take lots of photos if it is safe to do so and you can do so without disturbing the scene.
If the incident is notified to Worksafe, they will give the clearance as to when the site can be released for use.

4. Complete the necessary paperwork
Once you’ve ensured your employees’ safety and secured the scene of the accident, you must complete the proper paperwork. An incident report should be completed. This process is not just about what happened but more importantly why it happened and learning from the incident, so you understand how you are going to stop it happening again.

5. Establish a return-to-work program
Many injuries, including minor sprains and strains, can result in weeks or months off the job. The longer that workers are away from work due to an injury, the more difficult it can be for them to return to employment.
To help injured or ill employees become productive again as quickly and safely as possible, managers should implement a return-to-work program. This is often done along with ACC and can help keep workers off long-term disability.

6. Make a commitment to safety
Employers are able to influence many factors that contribute to injured worker’s satisfaction levels, confidence and return-to-work outcomes.

By making safety a priority, being prepared for and managing emergency situations, properly investigating accidents and putting in place positive actions to ensure similar accidents don’t happen again in the future, will keep both the business and its workers safe.

For further information on this or any other health and safety matter, contact Safe Business Solutions Ltd on 0508424723 or email info@safebusiness.co.nz.