By Carlen Lowe

 “Every action in the present prepare us for the future.” ― Lailah GiftyAkita

It is something every employer dreads; a workplace accident which causes injury to one of their employees.  Knowledge and preparedness however will ensure a prompt, appropriate response to these undesirable events.

Each incident will be different and an employer’s response will be dictated by the severity of the situation.  Below are some tips to help an employer respond to a workplace injury.

  1. Respond
  • Assess the accident situation considering the health and safety of those involved;
  • Provide assistance as required to injured person/s;
  • Apply appropriate first aid;
  • Contact emergency services (if required) or a doctor;
  • Await further instructions from emergency services (if required).

Tip:       Ensure employees  know:

  • Who to contact in case of an emergency;
  • Location of the nearest hospital and medical practice;
  • Where the First Aid kit is located.
  1. Notify
  • Contact the relevant supervisor about the incident and ensure they are familiar with their reporting obligations under WHS legislation. Certain notifiable incidents must be reported to the Workplace Health and Safety Authority immediately on the approved form
  • Contact WorkCover Queensland to lodge a claim for which workers’ compensation may be payable;
  • Contact relevant family members if necessary.

Tip:       Ensure the following are readily available:

  1. Investigate
  • Investigate the circumstances of the incident which gave rise to the injury. Complete an Injury Incident Report for your records. If possible, have the injured worker confirm the events;
  • Take photos and measurements of the scene;
  • Take statements from witnesses and supervisors about how and why the event occurred;
  • Isolate any equipment which may have contributed to the injury.

Tip:       The level of investigation should be proportionate to the seriousness of the incident but a detailed investigation may assist in any potential common law claim.  Minor incidents may only require a brief description of the incident, some photos, and names of witnesses only.

  1. Co-operate
  • Co-operate with WHS with any investigations;
  • Liaise with WorkCover regarding the circumstances of the incident, payroll details, and return to work or suitable duties arrangements;
  • Consider offering assistance to those who attended the incident.
  1. Reassess
  • Review the system of work and determine why safeguards failed;
  • Consider appropriate changes to the system;
  • Ensure employees are familiar with the system of work through additional training and/or documented toolbox meeting;
  • Supervise the first shifts to ensure understanding and compliance with the new system and schedule regular toolbox reminders.

Tip:       The Injury Prevention and management program (IPaM) works with Queensland employers to develop improved injury prevention and injury management systems.  Their assistance is best sought before an incident but they can also assist with developing a plan for improvement.

Finally, be familiar your industry and its safety arrangements and developments in WHS. Workplace Health and Safety also provide regular alerts regarding key risks and hazards for equipment, workplaces, or work situations.