There must be a process put in place to report accidents, incidents or near misses for immediate action and to help track causes. The public entity needs to identify what needs to be reported, to whom it is to be reported, and how to report it, then put this process into a written procedure.
Any accident, incident, or near miss, no matter how slight the injury or damage, must be reported to the department supervisor immediately for appropriate action.
The supervisor is responsible for taking appropriate follow-up action, including getting medical attention for the injured, completing an investigation report and recommending or implementing appropriate corrective actions.
The primary purpose of the accident investigation is to identify the cause(s) of the accident, incident or near miss and take action to prevent a similar occurrence in the future. In some instances, an employee’s failure to follow recognized safety procedures requires disciplinary action to protect co-workers.
Remember: One person’s actions can jeopardize the safety of others in the workplace.
A disciplinary program can be developed with the assistance of the human resources department and the entity’s attorney. Such a program can be effective for addressing “repeat offenders” who often account for a high percentage of accidents, incidents and near misses.
The nature of the disciplinary action should be in line with such factors as severity, prior history, adequacy of prior training, and length of service to the state or local government, and time on this job. For example, general guidelines will call for:
Caring for Our Churches: Loss Control Manual, United Church of Christ Insurance Board
Risk Management: A Technical Assistance Brief, A Guide to Risk Management, prepared by The Loss Control Department, The Hartford, Copyright © 2000 by American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging