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Risk Management Procedures

Emergency Procedures In Event Of Serious Injury

The seven critical steps of incident investigation are:

To take appropriate actions in any emergency:

Follow the three basic emergency action steps


Check the scene and the victim

Call the local emergency number to activate the EMS system.

What is a serious incident / injury?

A serious incident is one that results in death or serious injury such as amputation, serious head, eye or spinal injury, separation of skin from tissue, electric shock, loss of bodily function, serious lacerations or exposes people to serious risk, i.e. collapse or partial collapse of a building, fire, explosion, spillage or leakage of dangerous goods, falling objects etc.


The seven critical steps of incident investigation are:


1. Take immediate action

Whenever an incident occurs, appropriate and immediate action should be taken by personnel on the spot (e.g. first aid, firefighting, contain spills, etc.). This also applies to incidents that have not resulted in injuries, where the immediate action should mitigate the risk to personnel.


2. Report the incident

The person directly involved in the incident, or that person’s immediate manager should raise an incident report.

Serious incidents should be immediately reported to the relevant manager as per the site emergency protocols.

In addition, responsible managers should have the authority to suspend work in the affected area, or to suspend similar work, until the investigation has been completed. This is critical if there is a risk of a similar incident occurring.


3. Report to the authorities

Reporting of incidents to the relevant authorities should be as per the applicable statutory requirements.

The following incidents should be reported to the authorities (depending on the specific requirements in each jurisdiction):

  • fatalities

  • injuries requiring hospitalisation

  • any person requiring immediate medical treatment as a result of exposure to chemicals

  • major spills, emissions or any other serious environmental impact (e.g. a site being contaminated by a hazardous contaminant), as specified in the appropriate environmental legislation or the EPA Licence.


In Victoria for reportable incidents include:

  • the death of a person

  • a person requiring medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance

  • a person requiring immediate treatment as an in-patient in a hospital

  • the amputation of any body part

  • a serious head injury

  • a serious eye injury

  • the separation of his or her skin from an underlying tissue (such as de-gloving or scalping)

  • electric shock

  • a spinal injury

  • the loss of a bodily function

  • serious lacerations

  • any other injury to a person or other consequence as specifically prescribed by legislation

Notification should be by means, as required by the authority (e.g. phone, email, web-based on-line form, etc.). Records should be kept for at least five years (or as specifically required in each jurisdiction) of:

  • details of the incident

  • details of the notification

  • records of acknowledgements of the notification

4. Investigate and develop corrective actions

All incidents should be investigated. During the investigation, an analysis should be carried out to identify any WHS Management System failures. This would involve an examination of the incident along the following lines:

  • Is there a procedure, which covers this area of activity?

  • Is the procedure adequate? (I.e. effective, workable, comprehensive, simple, easy to use, etc.)

  • Was the procedure properly implemented?

  • Was the procedure followed?

The objective of the investigation should be to establish the real cause(s) of the incident, so that corrective action is aimed at preventing recurrence of the event. A Corrective Action Note should be raised.

The scope and impact of the corrective action taken should be appropriate to the magnitude and potential for harm of the incident.

5. Calculate the costs

The cost (or potential cost) of an incident may be calculated as part of the investigation and included in the final report. This may include both direct costs and indirect costs.

6. Conduct a root cause analysis

Root cause analysis (RCA) should be carried out for all incidents. The objective of RCA is to identify underlying problems in systems of work or management systems.

7. Record the details

Records of all incident notification, reporting, investigation and corrective actions should be kept. Where applicable, records should be kept for the appropriate duration, as required by legislation.

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