What To Do When An Accident Happens - Hasmate
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What To Do When An Accident Happens

What To Do When An Accident Happens

The purpose of this article is to provide you with a quick list of actions to use in the case of an incident or accident occurring in your workplace.  

What accidents to you have to notify WorkSafe NZ about?

These are accidents that are described as notifiable incidents – as described in the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, sections 23,24,25.

For a one-page quick reference sheet, please email Hasmate.

The following accident is only an example to follow – we suggest you customise these points to suit your business, and use them to for your induction process, for the training of your employees.

Managing an accident scene in the business

Example scenario – one of your employees, who was working alone at night, has been involved in a serious accident where his hand has been caught in a machine and severely lacerated, with many broken bones. As a result, he has been taken to hospital where it is predicted he would be there for up to two weeks.

The following is a plan of action for you to consider for implementation:

  1. Make the employee/s comfortable, administer first aid, and contact the emergency services ASAP.
  2. Contact the employee’s family;
    • Note – who is responsible at your business for this? Do you have their emergency contact details on file and available?
  3. Lock down and isolate the machine and accident scenario – it can’t be used!
  4. Take photos of the accident scene and the machinery;
  5. As this accident is a notifiable event, you are required to contact WorkSafe (phone 0800 030 040) as soon as you have become aware of the accident;
    • The WorkSafe inspector will require an explanation about what has happened;
    • You will then be asked to complete a Notifiable Incident form online and send it to them;
    • The local WorkSafe office will be notified and an inspector will be visiting your premises as soon as they can;
    • Assist WorkSafe always and do not try to disturb the accident scene;
  6. Inform all your employees of the accident;
  7. Provide any help or counselling for other employees who may have been involved with the accident;
  8. Compete an (independent) accident investigation report as soon as possible;
  9. Ask any witnesses to complete an interview about what happened. It is recommended to separate any witnesses, so you can obtain an unbiased statement.

For the WorkSafe investigation, they may want to view:

  1. A copy of the employee’s employment agreement and other employment documentation;
  2. The working alone policy and other company policies;
  3. Proof of starting work and the supervisory responsibilities;
  4. The employee’s induction records;
  5. Any drug and alcohol test records for the employee involved;
  6. The employee’s training records;
  7. Any competency assessments for working the machine;
  8. The trainer’s competency records and any proof of competency;
  9. The hazard and risk management plan for the machine and any other hazard management plans;
  10. The safe operating procedure for the machine;
  11. The maintenance records of the machine for the past 6-12 months;
  12. They will also view the guarding and emergency stop mechanisms for the machine;
  13. The emergency response plan you have in place for such an event;
  14. The practice records for the emergency procedures and to see if the employee had been involved;
  15. The health and safety meeting records to show the company’s active involvement with management;
  16. The first aid facilities and who are the trained first aiders;
  17. The accident recording and investigation procedures;
  18. The procedures for implementing the required corrective and future preventative actions;
  19. Proof that the company management (the PCBU) have been involved in the investigation or other parts of the event management.

The list above is not an inclusive list and there may well be other documents required for proving your diligence to effective health and safety management.

The question you should be asking yourself is:

  1. Why did it happen?
  2. Do I have the systems to manage such a situation?
  3. Do I have the documents available to prove due diligence?
  4. Where are they held and how long would it take to recover the documents?

What happens next?

The accident investigation is not the end of the matter. What is important is that:

  1. Your senior management team discuss it at the highest level and take affirmative action;
    • What are you going to do to prevent it from happening again?
  2. You review the accident to determine the cost and financial impact on the company;
  3. Any other impacts that the accident had on the business are noted down for review;
  4. You consider how you are going to rehabilitate the employee back into the company or the workforce.

For any questions regarding how the Hasmate program can make accident investigation and reporting easy for your business, please contact us today.