Workplace injuries happen. They are an unfortunate fact of life for those who work, and there are laws that require documentation for such injuries or illness when they do occur. The National Safety Council also recommends that companies document safety incidents that might have contributed to an accident or injury, even when no injury resulted. Thoroughly investigating these near-miss incidents is, after all, the best way to prevent actual accidents from happening in the future.
Steps for Documenting Safety Incidents in the Workplace
Regardless of whether an injury or illness resulting from the safety incident, the National Safety Council recommends following these steps to document the incident:
- Evaluate and Document the Scene
- Visit the site of the incident ASAP
- Make sure the area is safe to enter
- Ensure the injured or ill individual is receiving appropriate first-aid or medical care
- Identify witnesses
- Take photos of the scene (preferably with the date and time stamps) or sketch the scene if a camera is not available
- Preserve any evidence
- Establish what happened
- Investigate the Safety Incident
- Establish the Who, What, When Where, Why, and How
- Interview People Involved in the Incident
- Interview all individuals who were involved to establish the causes
- Avoid placing blame on anyone who was involved, even if an individual confesses to causing the incident
- Investigate every element included in your organization’s incident forms, such as:
- Supervisor’s directives
- Document the Details of the Incident
- Properly document all findings on your company’s investigation form
- File and retain the form in chronological order once it is completed
- Protect Privacy
- Ensure the investigation reports are not released to anyone without proper authorization
- Review Investigations
- Review all incident and near-miss investigations that have occurred recently before attending your organization’s next safety committee meeting to help identify how to prevent future incidents from occurring
Organizations are required to complete several OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) forms for any workplace injury or illness that occurs. These forms should be on hand before any accident or incident takes place to help protect your workplace and its employees from making any mistakes when keeping records.
The main OSHA injury and illness forms that are required to be filed are:
- 300: Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses – This is a log of each workplace illness, accident, or injury, and must be kept current. All incidents must be recorded within 6 working days of being reported.
- 301: Injury and Illness Incident Report – This detailed report must be completed within 7 days of an incident once it’s been reported.
- 300A: Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses – The number and nature of workplace injuries and illnesses for each calendar year are compiled from your organization’s OSHA accident report forms and logs and summarized in this form.
OSHA forms are not filed with the government, but the law does require that your organization keep them on file for 5 years, in either paper or electronic format, and ensure they are available for review if OSHA inspectors request to do so. All related reports to an accident or incident should be kept on file if it leads to litigation, at least until all legal action (including appeals) has been resolved.
Consult With Our Legal Team
If you’ve been injured or subjected to an illness due to an on-the-job incident or accident in the Los Angeles, Lancaster, or Van Nuys area, don’t hesitate to reach out to our legal team at Koszdin, Fields & Sherry. We specialize in worker’s compensation workplace injuries, workplace illnesses, repetitive motion injuries, and mental health claims. One of our team members will be happy to assist you with your claim, so call to schedule your free consultation today.