The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States ensure that employees are trained adequately in job safety. OSHA Outreach classes, which educate the fundamentals of occupational safety and health for a variety of industries, are one method it achieves this purpose.

A program for workplace safety and health that is successful like OSHA must have incident reporting. Covered employers are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to report and keep track of workplace injuries and illnesses. Every business is required to alert OSHA when an employee is murdered on the job, experiences a work-related hospitalization, requires an amputation due to an accident at work, or loses an eye while working.

Keep in mind that a death must be reported in under eight hours. A 24-hour reporting period is required for hospitalization, amputations, and sight loss.

 

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Ways of reporting an incident:

  • Contact the local OSHA office.
  • Contact the OSHA hotline at 1-800-321-6742 immediately.
  • Place an online complaint 
  • Be prepared to provide the following information: Business name; names of the impacted employees; location and time of the occurrence; a brief description of the incident; and contact information.

 

Who is obliged to file a report?

All employers who fall under OSHA's supervision are required to report these accidents. Even those companies who are exempt from routinely maintaining OSHA records due to firm size or industry must report these instances to OSHA.

 

What types of incidents need to be reported?

Immediately report any accidents, close calls, or injuries. The mechanism for reporting incidents will determine whether any follow-up is necessary. It shouldn't be up to the employee to decide if "their issue or incident" warrants a report of an incident. Therefore, Any incident at work needs to be reported, recorded, and looked into. This covers any circumstance where:

  • A worker was hurt or lost their life.
  • There was material or equipment damage.
  • A worker got sick while at work as a probable result of the harsh working environment.
  • any other individual (not an employee) who might have been hurt or ill as a result of an employee's or company's acts.
  • A near-miss that might have caused harm, death, or property damage.

 

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Incident vs Accident

In the past, an unintended, unwelcome incident was frequently referred to as an "accident." Many people believe that an "accident" is a random incident that was unavoidable. OSHA advises using the term "incident" when referring to these incidents because almost all workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses are preventable.

 

Why is an Incident Reporting Important?
 

  • To prevent a small injury from getting worse, turning into an infection, or becoming life-threatening, prompt medical intervention could be a big life saver. 
  • There are higher chances that the workplace will go through double the loss it was at risk the last time an incident was ignored and not reported. Therefore, it will be safe to say that the workplace is even more at risk for a future incident that is even more catastrophic since the hazard or ineffective process was never given the chance to be fixed when a minor incident or a near miss is overlooked (not reported).
  • In order to fix the situation and stop such incidents from happening again, incident reporting paves a process.
  • It is inevitable to develop better procedures that will safeguard employees if management is unaware of the kinds of issues that could result in harm or property damage or that have already done so.
  • A business can identify trends, follow patterns, and find anomalies by documenting all incidences.
  • A correction that is made to eliminate a safety risk or stop an accident frequently leads to improvements in processes and output.
  • Complete incident reports enable a business to defend against frivolous litigation. Without a detailed account of what actually occurred, the corporation would have little to offer in defense. 
  • Feedback from reported occurrences is a way to promote employee involvement in workplace safety improvement initiatives.
  • An important habit that builds a stronger safety culture is incident reporting.

 

What happens following a reported incident?

Any incident report that has been submitted should be treated seriously. No employee should ever be subject to punitive damages for filing an incident report. After the company's incident reporting procedure is completed, the employee should be questioned to confirm that all the information has been gathered, the form is complete, and the nature of the incident is properly understood.

The incident reporting follow-up procedure should involve an investigation into the incident, medical attention for the employee (if required), the immediate implementation of corrective actions, and the implementation of preventive actions as deemed necessary to avoid similar incidents in the future. The incident report shouldn't be closed or filed until that point. All incident reports ought to be kept in a safe place.

 

Some of the most important things to remember while reporting accidents and other dangerous situations are as follows:

  • All injuries, fatal and otherwise, must be reported. Diseases, occupational ailments, and any mental health impairments are not subject to reporting.
  • Accidents that result in death must be notified right once to the Authority. After that, the Authority should receive the formal report within five working days of the death.
  • Within ten working days following the incident, the Authority should be notified of any risky events or non-fatal accidents.
  • Any employee who sustains an injury as a result of an accident at work and is unable to perform their regular job tasks for more than three days in a row, except the day of the accident, must report the incident to the Authority.