Handling an Accident on a Construction Site

Certain types of work are more hazardous than others. Construction is a great example of an industry that involves higher risks. Every year there are new initiatives and programs enacted in order to improve worker safety. Regardless of the important efforts, occasional accidents are inevitable. It is imperative that the proper procedures are followed after a construction site accident.

It is imperative that everyone is prepared in case of an accident. There should be a best practice protocol or checklist that is easy to follow should an accident actually occur. The best practice protocol will identify important things such as the chain of command for notice purposes, the internal investigation team members, the company spokesperson, and the risk management team which include insurance and legal professionals.

Avoid spending the time on creating an effective preparation guideline and then lose focus if the worst-case scenario does take place. The protocol must be followed and everyone should act diligently. Of course, medical issues need to be resolved immediately. However, the site also needs to be locked down for evidence preservation. A list of witnesses should be made and the conditions of the work area should be photographed.

After an accident occurs there are a number of post-accident requirements that must be organized. Contracts should be reviewed so that everything is within compliance and if an investigation is necessary then the safety and risk management teams must be brought up to speed on all the facts. Ensure that regulatory requirements are handled and public relation issues are being taken care of by the right people.

During an investigation of an accident on a job site, it is common for an investigator to request to see a number of different records. The importance of having proper documentation cannot be overlooked. In case of an accident, construction companies should always have clear records. These records include safety manuals, medical and first aid records, training, inspection, and accident records and reports, as well as safety meeting minutes.

Lastly, make sure that accident reports are limited to strictly fact. There should never be any theories that are purely speculative as to why an accident took place. Have accident reports reviewed by your company’s lawyer to ensure that everything is in order.

While construction sites are typically filled with experienced workers and everyone treats safety as a priority, most construction companies will eventually experience a job-site accident. Even if the incident is small it is critical that everyone understands how to properly handle the situation.

Originally published on Alex Simpson’s website.

Alex Simpson is the proud Construction Manager for BCPM Limited and based in Papua New Guinea. Visit Alex-Simpson.org for more information!