Unsafe acts on the job can lead to workplace incidents resulting in injuries, illnesses, or fatalities. Time is critical when reporting an injury.
Workers must ensure they are familiar with the company incident reporting procedure and must report ALL work-related incidents quickly.
When workers report an incident quickly it can provide the company with valuable time to investigate the cause and make sure that workers receive the medical care they need.
OSHA Standard 1904.35(b)(1)(i) You must establish a reasonable procedure for employees to report work related injuries and illnesses promptly and accurately. A procedure is not reasonable if it would deter or discourage a reasonable employee from accurately reporting a workplace injury or illness.
An injury is considered work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition, injury, or illness to a worker.
OSHA Standard 1904.35(a)(1) You must inform each employee of how he or she is to report a work-related injury or illness to you.
Immediately after a work-related incident occurs workers should:
- Ensure the scene is safe before entering.
- If needed, call local emergency personnel or 911.
- Administer first aid if authorized and needed.
- Not disturb the incident location.
- Take photos of the incident scene and location, any property damage, and equipment involved.
- Follow the company internal reporting procedure and quickly notify the appropriate personnel that an incident has occurred.
When an incident is reported quickly it allows the injured worker the opportunity to receive quick and proper treatment that may be needed.
Sometimes an employee may believe they have a “minor” injury and decide not to report it or get the injury evaluated which may cause it to become worse. However, employees should be instructed to follow the internal reporting policy for each incident.
Quickly reporting injuries allows the company the chance to provide options for proper treatment in a timely manner. Not following the reporting process can cause someone to miss out on receiving early treatment and may be a violation of company rules and procedures.
Employees should complete a written incident report promptly while the details of what happened are easy to remember and still on the mind.
OSHA requires a written incident report form be completed by the company within 7 calendar days after a work-related injury or illness has occurred.
Workers should never fear being punished or discriminated against because they reported an incident on the job.
OSHA Standard 1904.35(b)(1)(iii)(A)-(B) Employees have the right to report work-related injuries and illnesses; and Employers are prohibited from discharging or in any manner discriminating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses.
Employers and workers benefit from each incident that is reported quickly in these ways:
- Workplace hazards can be identified and then corrected or removed promptly.
- Corrective action plans developed after the reported incident can help reduce the potential for more incidents to occur.
- Workers have the opportunity to get proper treatment after an injury.
Every company is required to notify OSHA about certain types of work-related incidents. OSHA requires all work-related fatalities to be reported within 8 hours of occurrence as well as all work-related inpatient hospitalizations, amputations and losses of an eye within 24 hours of occurrence.
OSHA Standard 1904.39(a)(1)-(2) Within eight (8) hours after the death of any employee as a result of a work-related incident, you must report the fatality to OSHA. Within twenty-four (24) hours after the in-patient hospitalization of one or more employees or an employee's amputation or an employee's loss of an eye, as a result of a work-related incident, you must report the in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye to OSHA.
How to report hazards, near misses, incidents, and injuries should all be part of employee on-boarding training, but these reporting procedures always make good topics for weekly safety meetings too!