Identifying hazards, creating strict safety rules and procedures, and using protective equipment will help keep all construction workers safe. But even in these relatively safe situations, an employee can be injured.
What would you do in this situation? What are the best ways to treat a workplace injury?
Clear and complete communication is one of the most important principles of post-injury reporting. It is also important to act responsibly and decisively, so you can provide the necessary medical assistance to the injured party and protect the environment.
If you are panicking about the situation, there is nothing you can do about it. That’s why stability should be your top priority. After an injury, take a breather, focus on your main goals, and try to reassure those around you in the same way.
Prioritize immediate safety
Next, you should prioritize the immediate safety of the injured person and those around them. Your goal is to prevent more workplace injuries.
- Bring the injured person to safety. If you can safely move the injured person, move them to a safe place. Make sure they are not in a position where they could be further injured and that they are as comfortable as possible for the time being.
- Avoid the risk of further injuries. Your next task is to eliminate the risk of further damage, especially if that damage is the result of a potentially dangerous situation, such as a malfunctioning device. Get other people in the area to safety, shut down equipment as needed, and use emergency signs to communicate to others about potential hazards.
- Safe emergency medical assistance. Have someone else get medical help if necessary while securing the area. Depending on the severity of the injury, that may mean driving the injured person to the hospital, calling an ambulance, or providing emergency aid at the scene.
Collect information and analyze
Once you receive emergency medical help, you can begin gathering information and investigating the incident.
If possible, take photos and videos of the injured party as well as photos and videos of the area where the incident occurred. Take witness statements from anyone who saw the incident and do your best to piece together the sequence of events. Try to be as detailed and thorough as possible in your initial reporting.
Provide guidance and direction to affected parties
It is a good idea to provide some guidance and direction to the person affected or to the person directly communicating the information. For example, if you have a workers’ compensation insurance policy, explain how you can use it. Help them figure out the best way to take time off from work, whether it’s tapping into FMLA leave or traditional PTO.
Submit a regular report
Once you have all the details, you will be ready to file a formal report on the incident. Be sure to describe the incident fully, including what happened, where it happened, when it happened, who was involved, and perhaps most importantly, why it happened.
Identify the root causes, any security flaws that may have led to this, and specific changes you can make in the future to prevent this from happening again.
In some cases, you may need to notify OSHA immediately of the incident. If fatal, OSHA must be notified within 8 hours. Inpatient hospitalizations, amputations, and eye injuries must be reported within 24 hours.
If you fail to report a significant injury or death when you seek to do so, your organization may face significant fines or other legal consequences.
Reflect and improve
Finally, take time to reflect and improve your workplace. Any time you suffer an injury, there is something you can learn and change moving forward. It is especially important to identify and eliminate hazards, including those that caused the most recent injury.
- Talk about the danger. Talk to the whole crew about the accident. Make sure that everyone understands exactly what happened and how it happened, and how to prevent such an accident in the future. An injured person is a sad reminder that everyone in the workplace is vulnerable to injury.
- Change policies (if necessary). If this damage is due to failed policies or unidentified security risks, consider establishing new policies or changing existing ones. For example, you can order a new piece of PPE to be worn in a specific area.
- Provide training and education. This is a great opportunity to provide additional training and education to your workplace staff. What steps can they take to make the workplace safer for themselves and those around them?
- Consider adjustments to your response plan. This is also an opportunity to review your response plan and see if it needs to be adjusted. Were you able to get help right away when the person was hurt? Were you able to find out the cause of the accident by conducting a thorough investigation? If not, consider adjusting your approach in response to injury.
No one likes to see an injury in the workplace, especially if you are the one responsible for keeping the workplace safe. But if you have a proper response plan and can stay calm while communicating openly throughout the process, you’ll be in a much better position to recover quickly and fully from the injury.