This procedure was developed with consideration to the requirements of standard 1885.1. Measurement of Occupational Health and Safety Performance.
Incident management is the process an organization uses to deal with unplanned events or ‘incidents. In the workplace, incident management is important for several reasons. First, it helps ensure the safety of employees and others who may be affected by an incident. Second, it helps minimize the impact of an incident involving the organization’s operations. And third, it helps the organization learn from incidents and improve safety compliance in the future.
The management of incidents includes immediate actions, incident notification (both business day and non-business day), reporting, recording, investigation and corrective action associated with health, safety, environmental, operational, security and information technology incidents.
Management actions taken in response to an incident are to initially protect and minimize the impact on persons, environment, facilities, production and the community and the corrective actions implemented following an incident shall eliminate or reduce the likelihood of a reoccurrence.
There are many different incident management systems and approaches however, it is the role of an organization’s management (or their designated incident investigator) to ensure that all activities related to a workplace incident are coordinated and that resources are available and used effectively to achieve incident objectives.
A designated incident investigator will be responsible for the overall management of an incident and will have the authority to make decisions regarding the response to an incident. The incident investigator may delegate certain tasks to other members of the incident response team but will remain ultimately responsible for the coordination and the response to the incident and will need to report all findings to management. For serious workplace incidents or critical incidents, a government authority or external regulatory body may become involved in the incident investigation.
Management responsibilities with incident management may include:
Management actions taken in response to an incident should be to protect and minimize the impact on persons, the environment, service operations, facilities, production and the community. The corrective actions implemented following an incident should be focused on eliminating or reducing the likelihood of a reoccurrence.
Every incident that occurs at a workplace should be investigated to determine exactly how it occurred and identify the contributing factors. It is important to determine an initial diagnosis and what action can be taken to prevent similar incidents.
A person or team should be nominated with the responsibility of undertaking an investigation, as soon as possible. This person or team must be selected based on their training, experience and their knowledge of the workplace and work practices.
Safety related or dangerous incidents must be investigated using a thorough investigation methodology, to ensure all contributing factors and the root/system causes are identified. Witness statements and interviews should be taken as soon as possible following an incident unless this is not possible due to a serious condition. Witnesses must be separated (if required) to enable statements to be obtained without influence.
A preliminary incident report should be drafted within 24 hours of an injury and forwarded to management or a designated incident reviewer, as soon as possible.
Corrective and preventative actions should be established based on investigation findings and should be actioned as soon as reasonably practicable to prevent a recurrence. All corrective actions must be monitored after implementation to ensure they are effective.
Records of all incident investigations and corrective actions must be retained following best practices and legal obligations. Formal incident reports should be retained as ‘documented information.’