Fact Sheet

Injuries and Accidents

The public entity 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 the entity have four things in place: planning, attitude, supplies, and communications.

Planning Ahead

The entity will never know in advance what accidents will occur or when, but it 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 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 public entity should assign a safety committee to regularly monitor and update the entity’s accident plans, recommend training for employees and volunteers, and walk through the entity’s 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 employees reduces the risk of having accidents occur. Workplace safety training instructs workers on best practices and helps avoid common mishaps. Policies and procedures should also reflect that safety is a priority within the public entity. If employees 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 the entity 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 occur. Minor accidents can become major ones if the entity does not keep basic emergency first aid kits and other job-specific emergency medical supplies on hand at all times. A member of the safety committee should be designated as a “Safety Officer” to regularly monitor and maintain the first aid kits, emergency car kits, and job-specific emergency supplies as needed. Accident preparation and response training for public employees should include training on the proper use of emergency equipment. Depending on the nature of the entity, the work done, and the proximity to medical facilities, the entity may need to provide first aid and CPR training for some or all employees.

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 should be told who to contact and how to contact the person 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 first and then contact the entity designee 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, the entity may or may not need all the steps listed below, but this outline works in nearly all situations:

Resource

Nonprofit Risk Management Center Accident Response Tutorial