Incidents: Guidance for Dealing with the Aftermath
This page contains the following:
- Minor events (no injuries requiring medical attention, no serious damage to the building)
- More major events (more serious injuries, fire, flood, serious spillage, building damage)
- Special considerations for events at night
- Scene of crime - the implications
Minor injury, e.g. cut finger, bruise, sprain
Having ensured that the injured person has received first aid treatment, the first aider will fill in an accident report form and send it to the Department Safety Officer. Depending on the details of the incident this may be followed up in order to prevent any future occurrence, but in many cases it will not.
When there has been a very minor injury, there is usually no need to stop work and cordon off the area. However, if the cause was an obvious problem, such as a trip hazard or other defect, it is expected that you will deal with it immediately.
These should be dealt with immediately. Your risk assessment should have addressed the possibility of spillages, and you should be prepared to deal with the event. If you find yourself unable to do so, please contact the chemical technician Suresh Mistry or the Department Safety Officer as quickly as possible.
Afterwards, please review your risk assessment in order to see whether a future spillage may be prevented or made less disruptive.
If asbestos has been damaged please get in touch with the Department Safety Officer or Maintenance as quickly as possible, and cordon off the area.
All other minor damage should be reported to Maintenance for repair.
Injury requiring medical treatment
This could include events such as fractures, loss of consciousness, electrical burns or shock, serious medical conditions.
If someone has been taken off-site for treatment we may need to get in touch with their next of kin. Depending on the condition of the casualty this may be straightforward, but occasionally the Department records will need to be consulted. First aiders should report to the Department Administrators if this appears to be the case.
If the injury was the result of a workplace accident it is important that the Safety Officer is informed as quickly as possible. Dependent on the nature and severity of the incident the place where it happened may now be deemed a scene of crime, and it is important not to move equipment etc around in the aftermath.
Fire, electrical incident, major flood
First follow the procedures on the three-colour emergency notices.
Afterwards, if emergency measures need to be made in respect of security or structural stability, ensure that someone from the Maintenance Team has been called out.
This scene may also be a scene of crime, and therefore the Safety Officer needs to be contacted as quickly as possible and certainly before any clearing up is done, with the exception of measures to make the scene safe and secure.
In the event of a major spillage which may find its way into the foul sewer or the surface water drains, contact the Safety Officer or Maintenance as quickly as possible.
At night there is no first aid cover. This means that you will have to make a decision whether to call the Emergency services and Security yourselves.
Afterwards, a general rule would be that if a person has been transported from the site by Ambulance as the result of an ACCIDENT, the Safety Officer needs to be told straight away - the mobile number is on the emergency notices.
If it is a serious medical condition and you need to make arrangements to contact next of kin, proceed in the same way, since the Safety Officer can call on the services of those who have access to the information.
The duties of care between employer and employee (and vice versa) are embedded in Statute Law and, where there is an accident, that duty of care may have been breached. This means that the scene where it happened is potentially a scene of crime. We therefore need to check with the authorities whether they want the scene untouched so that they can conduct their own investigation. Their decision may be based on many factors, such as the nature of the incident or the severity of the outcome.
Therefore one of the first things the Safety Officer needs to do is to put in a preliminary report and ask for written permission to disturb the scene to start remediation work. This happened after the fire to the Mott Building distribution board, and permission was obtained within two days. However, in the Safety Officer's experience of a previous incident, a scene of an accident was cordoned off for over six weeks.