One of the very first things that you will learn in your health and safety course is that workplace accidents should always be properly recorded immediately after they occur. This is an essential part of complying to health and safety regulations and it is important for a number of reasons.
Here are a few of the reasons why accidents in the workplace should always be recorded:
It Helps to Identify Risks
Imagine an employee is at work and they need to go into a storage closet to get some supplies. The items within the storage closet are not organised and are stacked precariously on a high shelf. While they are in there looking around for something that they need, a few items fall down from a high shelf and hit them on the head. They are slightly injured but they don’t report anything or record the injury.
A few days later, another employee needs to go into the same storage closet. This time, something larger and heavier falls down from the overcrowded shelf. It damages their head and bruises a vertebra in their neck. If the first employee had reported their accident, the shelf would have been cleared off and the problem could have been fixed. Since the hazard was left alone, it eventually caused a serious injury.
The practice of reporting injuries, even minor ones, helps us to identify risks within the workplace so that we can fix these risks and stop them from hurting anyone else. This is why ‘near miss’ accidents are also important to report, because the next time the problem occurs the situation could be a lot more serious.
It Raises Awareness About Safety Issues
If an accident occurs in the workplace, reporting it and recording it allows everyone in the workplace to learn from the incident so something of the sort will not happen again. The incident can be an opportunity to hold a safety briefing in order to clear up any confusion about the safest and best way to perform work tasks.
Sometimes an accident or even a near miss can highlight a need for additional employee training. Perhaps an employer assumed that a group of workers knew how to handle a situation safety and then an incident proved that they were not following safe procedures. Reporting and recording the details of this incident will help to identify what sort of training these workers require.
It Acts as a Legal Record
If there is ever a legal dispute over a workplace accident, it is absolutely crucial that the details are recorded. Recording the details of the incident as soon as possible ensures that they are as accurate as they can be and are not blurred by time or confused by the subjectivity of memory. Your workplace should have a policy for reporting accidents as soon as they happen and an established procedure for doing so, which you will learn about in all health and safety online courses. Detail accounts of workplace accidents will be used as evidence in court to determine whether the company is at fault for a health and safety violation claim.
Other evidence that can be very helpful includes CCTV footage, photographs of the site and testimonials from other employees who witnessed the incident.
These are just a few of the reasons why reporting and recording accidents in the workplace is such an important part of what you learn in training. Make sure to establish an accident reporting policy for your business.