Did you know?
- In 2016, there were 182 fatalities across Australia and more than 100,000 serious claims were logged as a result of work-related injury and disease
- Cost of work-related injuries and disease are costing almost 4.1% of the country’s GDP.
Safety is a serious business and it needs to be the first priority within businesses. It is duty of the employer to ensure employees are provided with a safe work environment and their safety is taken care. Safety incident management is key process to control and manage safety incidents within the workplace. The incident management process significantly supports the organisation is taking proactive risk mitigation measures to control the hazard and avoid an injury or fatality.
It is a requirement of the International standard ISO 45001:2018, National standard AS/NZS 4801 and state OHS legislations that organisations have a safety incident management system to ensure all hazards, near misses, accidents are properly reported and investigated. There are three types of safety incidents
- Hazard – Anything that has a potential to cause harm
- Near Miss – It is an unplanned event that has the potential to cause harm
- Accident – It is an unplanned event that caused harm, injury, fatality and property damage.
This operating procedure should establish a systematic process to ensure that accidents are reported correctly promptly, that all causes (direct and contributory) are thoroughly identified and that the appropriate corrective actions are taken. Refer non-conformance management process (link to other blog posts).In most organisations, safety reports are skewed towards accidents and lost time. They often overlook the lead indicators such as hazard reports and near miss reports. Capturing and taking actions on the hazards and near misses is the only sustainable approach to ensuring your workplace is safe. The business requires a comprehensive incident reporting and investigation process to proactively measure safety incidents to prevent or minimise future accidents/incidents effectively.
The key steps in the safety incident management are:
Report: Employees and visitors should report hazards, all near misses, accidents and incidents. Businesses should provide the infrastructure/process/system /resources for ensuring all safety incidents are reported. Companies should also be aware of the state legislation requirements for notifying Worksafe Australia in the event of a notifiable incident. (refer State Worksafe website)
Record: All safety incidents reported are categorised and details about the incident such as activity, employee statement, location, date & time are recorded. Most businesses tend to classify incidents into the following to better identification and analysis
- LTI – Lost Time Injury
- RWI – Restricted Work Injury is an injury that has made the individual unsuitable for more than 80% of their original duties but still suitable for work.
- MTI – Medical Treatment Injury
- FAI – First Aid Injury
- Non-Work Related Injury – An injury sustained not as a result of work activity.
- Occupational Illness – A disease contracted from a work activity
- Environmental Incident – a release of a substance to the environment
Investigate: All safety incidents reported should be immediately treated with a correction (e.g. first aid treatment, removal of hazard and isolation of hazard). Following correction, business managers should investigate the root cause of the incident and take appropriate corrective and preventive action.
Action: Actions should be taken to control the risks and prevent the occurrence. The following hierarchy of controls (discussed in OHSAS 18001:2001) should be followed:
Risk Assessment: The outputs of the incident management process should be tied back to the risk management process of the organisation. Risks should be regularly reviewed, and the effectiveness of their mitigation strategies and control should be verified and maintained.
The above five steps will provide your business with a fundamental yet robust framework and system to capture all safety incidents and take actions appropriately. Keeping your employees safe will reap significant benefits of the organisation and the community.