Less serious incidents
It has become common practice to report less serious workplace incidents such as near misses, property damage and minor injury. These incidents could have caused injury or death but didn’t result in an injury on this particular occasion. The absence of serious consequences may be as much through good luck as good management. Less serious incidents may include:
Something goes wrong but no one is hurt and nothing is damaged. You must report it so the hazard can be removed before it causes injury or damage. A record of the near miss must be made, in accordance with the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995, and it will be kept on file.
You are walking down a set of stairs and slip, but you don't hurt yourself. This near miss may seem unimportant: however, a colleague suggests you report it to your supervisor. The supervisor notices there have been a number of reports relating to that particular staircase. An investigation of the staircase reveals an uneven bottom stair due to exposure to the weather. Action to replace the hazardous stair is taken.
No one is hurt but there is some damage to property or equipment. By reporting this incident, you may prevent a recurrence and ensure that no one is injured in future. Property damage is often linked with injury.
On his way out, an upset client pushed the door heavily. This loosened the hinges so that the door now swings dangerously – an immediate hazard which must be reported and dealt with.
It needs to be discussed and action planned at a staff meeting or a meeting with your supervisor, so that it is documented and action taken.
Someone requires first aid but the injury or illness is not serious. There may be some time lost from work for rest, recovery and treatment.
A colleague brushed her hand on a sharp metal edge protruding from a cupboard. The resulting injury appeared to be a few small cuts, and she did not bother to report it. The cuts then become infected; while not serious, this injury prevents the worker from undertaking her duties. She now wishes to put in a leave claim under worker's compensation.
The incident should have been recorded on an Incident Report form. This record would enable the worker to claim worker's compensation when the injury worsened.