Fact Sheet

Injuries and Accidents

Your nonprofit organization should first prepare for accidents, then develop procedures for responding to accidents on construction/rehabilitation job sites.

Recommendations

Preparing for an Accident

Preparing for an accident requires that you have four things in place: planning, attitude, supplies, and communications.

Planning Ahead

You will never know in advance what accidents will occur or when, but you can plan ahead to know what the most likely risks are in a given situation to prepare for and, hopefully, avoid them. Having specific plans in place for various types of accidents and regularly training your employees to work within those plans is one of the most effective means of ensuring that accidents will be avoided when possible and handled appropriately when they do occur. Your nonprofit should assign a safety committee to regularly monitor and update your accident plans, recommend training for employees and volunteers, and walk through your work sites to check for potentially unsafe conditions.

Attitude of Safety

In addition to planning for accidents and responding to them, instilling an attitude of safety among your employees and volunteers reduces your risk of having accidents occur. Workplace safety training instructs staff members on best practices and helps avoid common mishaps. Your policies and procedures should also reflect that safety is a priority within your organization. If employees and volunteers are encouraged to cut corners to reduce costs or get a job done more quickly, the attitude of safety is undermined and an accident is more likely to occur. Having a safety committee in place that has the authority to make changes where unsafe conditions or practices are found shows that your nonprofit is dedicated to providing a safe environment.

The Right Supplies

An important part of preparing for an accident is having the right supplies available if an accident does happen. Minor accidents can become major ones if your organization does not keep emergency first aid kits and other supplies on hand at all times. A member of your safety committee should be designated as a “Safety Officer” to regularly monitor and maintain your first aid kits, emergency car kits, and other emergency supplies as needed. Accident preparation and response training for your employees should include training on the proper use of emergency equipment. Depending on the nature of your organization and the services you provide, you may also want to consider first aid and CPR training for some or all of your employees and volunteers.

Emergency Contacts and Communications

Another essential component of preparing for an accident is having emergency contact information and communication plans in place. During training, employees and volunteers should be told who to contact and how in case of an accident. In the case of an auto or other offsite accident, the employee may need to call 911 or other emergency response professionals before contacting the office regarding the accident. Employees on work sites may require wireless communications devices or other emergency communications equipment and should be trained in their safe and appropriate use.

Responding to an Accident

Depending on the situation, you may or may not need all the steps listed below, but you should follow this outline in nearly all situations:

  1. Get to a safe place
    Regardless of the situation, getting to a safe place after an accident will help prevent any additional accidents of injuries from occurring. This will allow you to assess the situation and proceed.
  2. Assess the situation
    Is anyone injured? Has any property been damaged? Do you need to call 911? Answering these basic questions will determine your next steps.
  3. Call for help
    In any case of injury, getting professional help immediately will minimize the risks of the situation and prevent injuries from getting worse. Know your limits. If anything beyond very simple first aid is required, always get EMS or other professionals involved right away.
  4. Assist the injured
    Provide first aid where possible; stabilize those with major injuries.
  5. Get information
    Record the details of the accident while they are fresh in your mind. Time can change the way you view the situation and your memory of it, so write down all information immediately. Get contact information from others involved whenever possible, and get insurance information where necessary.
  6. Keep the evidence
    Never destroy potential evidence in an attempt to prevent further accidents. Always keep people away from potentially hazardous equipment, but do not discard or destroy it.
  7. Prevent further accidents
    Following an accident, you and/or your Safety Committee should quickly take action to assess the situation to prevent any further injuries. The Safety Committee may recommend long-term changes, but always do what you can to keep others safe in the short term as well.
  8. Follow up
    File the appropriate paperwork as required by your nonprofit and your insurance company and provide any assistance necessary as requested by your Safety Committee or human resources department.

Resource

Nonprofit Risk Management Center Accident Response Tutorial