Accidents in the workplace are called that for a reason – they rarely come with 24-hour warnings. Companies cannot always avoid the worse, but prepare for the risks to minimise the impact of incidents and injuries when they happen.
By law, companies have a responsibility to have health, safety an environmental (HSE) policies and procedures in place and report workplace incidents when they occur.
This accountability helps to review what went wrong, investigate potential causes of the incident, determine which preventive measures could be established to avoid similar incidents in the future, and plan to minimise possible unwanted outcomes.
Section 24 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act identifies which types of incidences must be reported and investigated by the employer or the user of machinery.
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The following scenarios need prompt incident reporting:
- Death as a result of the incident
- Becoming unconscious or non-responsive
- Losing a limb or a part of a limb
- Falling ill or likely to die or suffer a permanent physical defect
- Unable to work for 14 days or longer because of the incident
- When a major incident occurs
- When medical treatment is required in addition to normal first aid
- When dangerous substances are involved
- When a substance under pressure is released in an uncontrolled manner
- In the case of falling or uncontrolled moving objects or machinery
The above incidents should be reported immediately to the provincial director within seven days. The company personnel is allowed to intervene and rescue staff from imminent danger and usually can remove injured or dead people with few exceptions.
The site of the incident may not be disturbed without the consent of an inspector in the case when death or the loss of a limb has occurred, and when the seriously injured is likely to pass away because of the incident.
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