Moving Forward After An Incident
After discussing how business owners can respond to incidents at work, we wrap off this awesome series by talking about moving on after an incident.
It’s almost a necessity for a business owner to examine the person who was hurt by the incident to ensure that they are completely back in shape.
The last thing you would want is for another incident happening to the same person just because he came back to work not fully recovered yet.
“If they’re back to 100 percent health then back to work is the best place to be.”
In this final episode, we wrap up this awesome series by tackling the ABCs of moving forward after an incident. Believe it or not, how you handle issues that arise after the incident is just as important as your actual response to it.
This has been an amazing series which raises a huge amount of awareness on WHS and all things connected to it. It has been a treat to conduct it with my buddy Shayne Connolly.
It’s a wrap Site Shedders!
Matt Jones: [00:00:00] Hello listeners, welcome back to Tool Box Talks on The Site Shed podcast. My name is Matt Jones. I am your host and facilitator and today I am joined by my co-host for this series which we have called Keeping Safety Simple as Mr. Shayne Connolly. Shayne, welcome back.
Shayne Connolly: [00:00:17] Thanks for having me again, Matt.
Matt Jones: [00:00:18] Shayne is from Keep it Simple Safety and they do all things. Occupational Health and Safety works, work health and safety related for tradies and the likes of this series has been great so far we’ve talked about in the first episode getting the right safety procedures in place in the previous episode we were talking about how to respond to incidents that might occur in your day to day running of your business. And in this sense we’re talking about moving forward after the incident. So like always guys if you haven’t heard the previous episode you probably want to go check them out because we will refer back to them and we do structure these in a way that the preview of the episode we’re recording will lead into the previous in a series. Shayne thank you for joining us once again. This is the third and final wrap up since episode and we’re talking about moving forward after an incident and this is really I suppose stemmed on from that scenario where you know some people don’t have the right docks in line to begin with and as a result they end up. Basically forcing their foreclosure
Shayne Connolly: [00:01:31] So yeah. Moving forward from an incident it depended on how serious it is to can be the make or break. And there are few reasons for that one. The first main reason I guess is that it’s not something that people come across every day. This is not going to happen in your business on a regular basis. Well I certainly hope it’s not happening on a regular basis.
Matt Jones: [00:01:52] Right.
Shayne Connolly: [00:01:53] So it’s one of those things that pops up and people just don’t know what they’re meant to do. So that’s one of the big things and it also can be if you’re not informed and you don’t understand what you’re meant to do then things can kind of get out of hand without you even knowing it’s happening.
Matt Jones: [00:02:13] Mhmm..
Shayne Connolly: [00:02:15] You know like the incident the injury can drag on for a long time it can affect your job your premiums and all sorts of different things and if you’re not proactive then all of a sudden six months can have gone by and it’s cost you money and time and now it becomes a real problem because it can’t be undone easily.
Matt Jones: [00:02:38] So I normally ask at this point you know who were directing this. You know this this talk towards but I suppose it’s kind of, it could be a number of people really like we could be talking about know really forward after an incident. You could be referring to the person that was injured. You could be referring to your organization. You could be referring to physical damage psychological damage property damage no different things. We can I suppose skew off into in this episode maybe I suppose we should talk. Let’s talk about the business as such so you know how does the business move forward. But I wouldn’t mind talking about. I mean in the wake of a couple of podcasts that I’ve just recorded only this week actually I mean the lead up to tradies national health month where I was speaking with some guys that were heavily in the mental health space and they were talking about some of the you know some of the issues that can arise from injury are actually a lot of mental issues that arise from injury. And I’m curious from your point of view as someone who actually works in this space a lot. What are some of the best ways that people companies can move forward in managing people that have been through you know some sort of ordeal.
Shayne Connolly: [00:03:58] Well I’ll start with the key word proactive, are you. You have to be on the front foot. You can’t wait for problems to present themselves so and that’s proactive in a lot of ways. So after somebody is injured you know they go to the doctor the doctor gives them a certificate and says you know they need this treatment or they need to go and see this specialist they’ve got this much more time off work. And then that gets lodged with your insurance company and so the process begins. If you are disengaged from that process and you just let it wander along by itself that’s when things can go wrong for the business for that person for their mental health. If you’re proactive and you’re on the front foot then you talk to the insurance company you talk to the doctor you talk to the person who was injured and you’re working towards some solution that works for everybody then that’s when you get the best outcome. So it’s not that you have to know what to do necessarily it’s just that you have to get involved in the process.
Matt Jones: [00:05:06] So in the first episode we’re talking about getting the right safety systems safety systems this. I’m curious though in a scenario where somebody has you know has injure themselves at work which is going to lead to you know potentially anyway maybe a debilitating injury it might be like a mental injury. This has come as a result of you know something that they have incurred at work. Are there systems and policies that you should put in place that can manage scenarios like that for example of counselling and you know all that kind of stuff.
Shayne Connolly: [00:05:47] So in its basic sense you want to have an injury and in Injury Management return to work policy and procedure.
Matt Jones: [00:05:55] Right.
Shayne Connolly: [00:05:56] So that just kind of outlines that you know the basics of what you’ll do. You can’t have a procedure that’s all encompassing because
Matt Jones: [00:06:06] Of course.
Shayne Connolly: [00:06:07] You don’t know what might happen but
Matt Jones: [00:06:09] Yeah.
Shayne Connolly: [00:06:09] You can you can have a procedure that says you know we’ll follow it up we’ll do this we’ll follow through with the employer will try to find them work we’ll try to help them get back to work. If we can’t get down that path then we’ll try to help them
Matt Jones: [00:06:24] Mhmm..
Shayne Connolly: [00:06:24] Get into another position or so you sort of outline what you hope to be able to do in that procedure. But again it’s very important that you have that procedure in the first place.
Matt Jones: [00:06:36] Raise a good point though doesn’t it. I mean if you’ve got somebody that you’ve employed to do a certain task within your organization they get injured they get rehabilitated they come back to work but they can’t do that task again. Then what sort of position is that put you as a business owner in, into. Like if you hire that person who something they can’t do it anymore.
Shayne Connolly: [00:06:55] Well that depends on how organised and proactive you are. So if that happens after you know six months and no work on your behalf or no known proactive work then it can leave you in a really awkward position because if you don’t have procedures to base your process on then you don’t have anything that says if we don’t have a position for you you know we may move to reposition you or help you find another job or whatever it might be if you don’t have that then you kind of you do get stuck. It is not easy to. I don’t want to use the word dismiss because you’re not dismissing somebody you’re you’re moving them on because if they don’t, you can’t. If you’re a three-person operation that doesn’t have any office.
Matt Jones: [00:07:49] Right.
Shayne Connolly: [00:07:50] There is no position for somebody who can’t climb a ladder. So and that’s okay if that’s your if that’s your business that’s okay. There are lots of businesses that have those things happen and you’re not stuck with that person but things get ugly when you don’t get proactive. So if you’re not talking to that employee if you’re not talking to the insurer and the doctor and trying to fix and in explaining your business, and where your business is at and what things can happen there then people’s especially their mental health for the person who’s been injured if they feel like you know it’s going to be hard or they’re not welcome back in the business or you’re not there supporting them then you know the first thing that they generally do is they find a lawyer and that’s not where you want to go.
Matt Jones: [00:08:43] Mhmm..
Shayne Connolly: [00:08:43] You want to be proactive means getting ahead of those things. Talking to that person if they are interested in something else then you can’t possibly get them back into the business if they’ve hurt their back in the office based job then there’s lots of options that they’re in front of you from retraining them to you know helping them to you know maybe even talking to people you know in business and trying to help them you know move forward. There’s lots of ways you can be proactive if it doesn’t there’s not a prescription for it.
Matt Jones: [00:09:16] Are there um, so say that what if you’re in that scenario with a employee who can’t necessarily do the work that you know that you’ve originally employed them to do. Is there any sort of if you have to retrain them to a certain task is there any like funding or anything available to companies to help them through that period where they’re basically employing someone who is being retrained and doesn’t really know what they’re doing?
Shayne Connolly: [00:09:44] There can be. There are some. There’s always different funds available for training. It’s just a matter of whether I guess the you know the way we are. When I used to work for a corporate business the way we would try to do it is if they weren’t at work anyway then we would try to incorporate that training in that time especially if it was something that they could do that didn’t require them to you know lift or move or whatever it was that they were restricted on. So again it’s just being smart about it. But what you’ll find is if you have those conversations with the doctor and your insurer and the person who was injured if you’re all on the same page and you’re all working towards the same outcome then it just gets a lot easier. The worst that communication gets the worse the outcome is. And then you do really start talking about things that mental health issues that people can have you know if you’ve been off work for six months then they can get depressed. Stress can get involved and you know what those mental illnesses that affect people’s health are far more serious
Matt Jones: [00:10:56] Yeah.
Shayne Connolly: [00:10:56] Than you know a knee reconstruction or something like that.
Matt Jones: [00:11:00] Yeah.
Shayne Connolly: [00:11:00] They’re much harder to recover from so being you know the most important thing you can do is talk to the person and make them feel like you care about what happens to them.
Matt Jones: [00:11:14] Yeah we were talking about this actually the other day when I was recording those series and it’s interesting isn’t it like when you if you damage yourself you break an arm or whatever the recovery is is noticeable like it’s tangible you can see it you can feel it you can you know you can
Shayne Connolly: [00:11:31] It’s
Matt Jones: [00:11:31] You
Shayne Connolly: [00:11:31] Measurable.
Matt Jones: [00:11:31] An extra it’s measurable exactly. It you know and the mental or mental capacity. It’s a lot harder to gauge improvement
Shayne Connolly: [00:11:40] Yeah.
Matt Jones: [00:11:40] And it’s yeah can be you know.
Shayne Connolly: [00:11:42] Well it’s somewhat it’s a it’s a place you don’t want to go.
Matt Jones: [00:11:45] Right
Shayne Connolly: [00:11:46] If you can avoid it then that’s what you should do.
Matt Jones: [00:11:48] Yeah.
Shayne Connolly: [00:11:49] And that’s what you know if you’ve got good systems in place and if you if you get out on that front foot and you manage the situation well and this is a good time you know if you do have resources like us to call on when these things happen that’s the time to call on them so that they’re telling you what to do you know make sure they fill this paperwork out properly make sure that this is in place make sure that you have regular meetings with them make sure you’re make sure that the medical people involved are aware of what kind of job they do you will be shocked how many doctors don’t even ask what they do as a profession.
Matt Jones: [00:12:26] Yeah.
Shayne Connolly: [00:12:27] So I’ve had medical certificates come back and say you know this can’t person can’t lift more than five kilos or and can’t climb a ladder and and there a plumber or a builder or whatever and then you like well then you say they can’t work.
Matt Jones: [00:12:42] Yeah.
Shayne Connolly: [00:12:43] And so one of the things you are allowed to do in this situation is you are allowed to talk to the doctor. So because a lot of times doctors make decisions based on poor information. So if you go with the person to the doctor listen to what the doctor has to say you know and say and explain your position and say well this is what we do as a business like I don’t have light duty it’s like you’re thinking of light duty is there any other way that we can get around this you know because they’re often there are more than one way to skin a cat. So but you won’t find those things if you’re not proactive if you don’t ask questions. So because your aim should always be to get them back to work if they’re back to 100 percent health then back to work is the best place to be.
Matt Jones: [00:13:33] Yeah.
Shayne Connolly: [00:13:34] So if you go forward with that as your aim it’s hard to go wrong.
Matt Jones: [00:13:40] Is there like, I mean so oh going back to the examples that I mentioned in a previous podcast of one of my one of my friends is worship a big company and one of the roofer’s build but one of the roof is on the site jumped the fence after work and scaled up on the roof to get his final leg up there fell killed himself. There must be a lot more to it moving forward after an incident like I can imagine if you’re a site foreman you know on that job. That would be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster as well.
Shayne Connolly: [00:14:14] Yeah I don’t know. Fortunately for me working on large sites I’ve never had to make that phone call, which I thank my lucky stars.
Matt Jones: [00:14:24] Yeah.
Shayne Connolly: [00:14:25] I know people who have never really recovered from that. Especially when it’s somebody who’s under your responsibility because you’ll just be forever asking yourself why or what if I’d done this or what if I’d done that so. And those sort of people need counselling. You don’t resolve that yourself.
Matt Jones: [00:14:47] Because, yeah. Because it is important it is to rehabilitate people that have been injured it’s like equally as important to rehabilitate people that are in situations like that.
Shayne Connolly: [00:14:58] And funnily enough not funny really but you know a really serious incidents sometimes the person who is injured is the one who comes out of it the best
Matt Jones: [00:15:08] Yeah
Shayne Connolly: [00:15:09] Because they are just dealing with it and
Matt Jones: [00:15:11] Right.
Shayne Connolly: [00:15:11] The other people who saw it happen and saw them almost die.
Matt Jones: [00:15:16] Are more traumatized and
Shayne Connolly: [00:15:18] They are seriously traumatized so you know and they sometimes struggle more than the person who was actually injured. So on that note that’s something you should look for in your business. If there was people standing there watching this guy’s hand get cut off you know they’re going to need support whether they’re a big burly bloke who says that I’m fine. You know they got to know you need to offer support to them in one way or another.
Matt Jones: [00:15:46] And so that’s another conversation isn’t it like we’re talking about this other day how there’s such that there’s such a mentality around you know being the macho sort of bravado kind in you’re armed fighters you be right so to sort of do which then it could be completely bullshit. So I mean you’ve got to as a business owner I feel like you kind of need to be discerning in those scenarios as well. And maybe to the point where you don’t take no for an answer it’s not like I am not giving it the option here like what you need to go see this you know like put them through the program
Shayne Connolly: [00:16:20] Yeah and that’s something that certainly large companies will do that if
Matt Jones: [00:16:24] Right.
Shayne Connolly: [00:16:24] You’re involved in that kind of incident. They will force you to go and see a
Matt Jones: [00:16:27] Right
Shayne Connolly: [00:16:27] Counsellor.
Matt Jones: [00:16:28] Right.
Shayne Connolly: [00:16:29] You don’t have to continue but they they are discharging their duty by saying no you have to attend
Matt Jones: [00:16:35] Okay.
Shayne Connolly: [00:16:36] Some counselling. So um whether whether or not you do that as a small business is kind of a personal decision but it does depend to how well you know your staff. Generally small businesses tend to know their staff pretty well. So you know if the big gruff guy is really a pussycat. So if that’s the case then he’s going to need help you know. So you know whether you and sometimes you need to go and talk to their family go and talk to their wife or their partner or and say look this is here if you need it you know call me give them your number. All of that sort of support is what prevents things from going pear shaped.
Matt Jones: [00:17:24] So moving forward from a business perspective after an incident say let’s call it a semi serious incident. Obviously you’ve got know staff that are you know they might have seen that they might be if you’ve got people that are injured you have people that are you know now terrified about certain things that are happening in the organisation like obviously but the business itself has to manage all of that stuff and we’ve also got to move forward and set a plan and an agenda looking forward. Does that agenda typically look like, okay we’re ready to go back to the drawing board and make sure that all our systems are in place in all of our procedures are right and were fully compliant as a starting point and then we need to you know obviously while we’re doing that we’ve obviously got to take care of those that have been injured or those have been or affected within this incident. And then I mean then you kind of got to map out another you know the road map don’t you and you’ve got to try and get your staff to to buy into that which I don’t know maybe that’s tricky when they’re not in that front line.
Shayne Connolly: [00:18:25] Well you know sometimes it’s the best time to get people on board because
Matt Jones: [00:18:29] Right take their mind off it.
Shayne Connolly: [00:18:31] Well they’ve seen that it really does happen. You know one of the hardest things to talk to people about is safety because if they haven’t seen someone get hurt then it’s not real. So often and you know when I’ve done two walks talks and presentations for companies before you can tell the people who have seen something bad because they are listening intently to what you’re saying because they believe in safety because they’ve seen what happens if you don’t do it right. So that’s one of those things you know it’s a lot of lessons in life that you can only learn in real time. And unfortunately you know it’s like drive talk trying to get teenagers to drive safely you know
Matt Jones: [00:19:12] Yeah.
Shayne Connolly: [00:19:12] I’m potential, tall and bullet proof I’ll be fine thank you. And so after an incident is the best time to get people to buy into. There’s a reason why we do everything the way we do it. And there’s a reason why we want your input into that process and there’s a reason why we have all of these systems and procedures. So it is you know you don’t want obviously you’re not trying to take advantage of it but it is the time to talk about it
Matt Jones: [00:19:41] Yeah.
Shayne Connolly: [00:19:41] And make
Matt Jones: [00:19:41] Well
Shayne Connolly: [00:19:41] Sure.
Matt Jones: [00:19:42] While it’s
Shayne Connolly: [00:19:42] Yeah.
Matt Jones: [00:19:42] Out there.
Shayne Connolly: [00:19:43] Yes that’s right because it’s real for everybody then it
Matt Jones: [00:19:47] It’s a good point.
Shayne Connolly: [00:19:47] Isn’t it is not just something that you’re trying to imagine might happen.
Matt Jones: [00:19:52] I know when we went through you know (inaudible) and all that kind of stuff. There was a lot of a lot of talk about I mean I don’t know if you call it a scare tactic or whatever but you have a lead like to sort of bring up the gory videos of things that have happened and all that kind of stuff. So I’m not sure if I do that anymore but that was always you know this is what could happen to you if you fall off a roof and it’s got people being you know stabbed by Rio’s sticking.
Shayne Connolly: [00:20:18] Yeah. It’s shock and awe tactics.
Shayne Connolly: [00:20:21] I think so. It just doesn’t work. They really are. Well I shouldn’t say that does work for some people but it’s a very small percentage.
Matt Jones: [00:20:30] It’s far away. It’s less graphic and other video games these kids are playing anyway.
Shayne Connolly: [00:20:34] Well and half the stuff that will come up in you you cheap fate you know if you’re on any of those groups you know that there’s all sorts of stuff that people see these days so we’re a bit desensitized to that. And the truth is that just like you know if you drive past a funeral procession it means nothing to you unless you know the person in it.
Matt Jones: [00:20:53] Yeah.
Shayne Connolly: [00:20:54] And so safety is very much the same for people. It doesn’t mean anything unless you are actually part of it. So you know I think at the end of the day you’ve got to as we’ve said before you’ve got to show people that you really care as a boss you know it is really actually important to you that they go home safe at the end of the day and that if something does go wrong you’re going to do everything in your power to try and make sure that it’s put right. Because that message does mean something to people. People might joke about it and I’ve seen plenty of people make jokes about those kind of things but it’s really important and it can mean it can really mean the difference between getting through something like this or not getting through it.
Matt Jones: [00:21:50] So I suppose getting to wrapping up this episode and this series took maybe a bit of a framework for moving forward after the incident and maybe you can bounce back and forth on this one. So obviously first of all you want to make sure that everyone who’s been affected has been being looked after and they’re seeking the treatment that they deserve
Shayne Connolly: [00:22:13] Yeah get on the front foot make sure that everybody find out everybody who’s been involved and that may even go to extend it to wives and partners and stuff like that because they will see the other side of
Matt Jones: [00:22:25] Right.
Shayne Connolly: [00:22:26] The equation. So
Matt Jones: [00:22:28] And that’s a good point ever really touch on that we
Shayne Connolly: [00:22:30] Know that’s a whole other topic of its own really. So but but yeah you reach as far as you can
Matt Jones: [00:22:38] Secondly I suppose don’t sweep it under the rug like have the conversation at work while it’s fresh and everyone’s sort of everyone knows what’s happened and you know get it out there and address it right there and then.
Shayne Connolly: [00:22:48] Use it as a learning moment. So that’s you know people sometimes feel a bit sensitive about those things but
Matt Jones: [00:22:56] Yes
Shayne Connolly: [00:22:57] That’s what you should do if someone falls off a ladder and breaks a leg. Use that as a learning moment because you won’t get many opportunities to learn from those sort of things.
Matt Jones: [00:23:08] Yeah, exactly. And then I suppose you need to strategize moving forward from a business point of view in the sense of okay well you know that’s an incident it’s been done but we’ve got to keep going. So we need to map out our map our plan and keep moving forward otherwise we’re dead in the water.
Shayne Connolly: [00:23:25] Yeah I mean it’s just like anything else that you have to recover from. You’ve got to plan for it and then put that plan into motion and a follow up to make sure that you know whether and whether that involved getting new ladders or whether that involves you know upgrading something or whether it was just training or whatever the outcome is from your investigation that you know leads you to think that something went wrong. That’s what you need to follow through. And as always document everything you know
Matt Jones: [00:23:56] Yeah.
Shayne Connolly: [00:23:56] Keep keep good documents.
Matt Jones: [00:23:58] So to wrap up the series really I can the first episode and we’re talking about getting getting the right safety systems in place that’s all about making sure that you know you’ve you’ve done your due diligence you’ve you’ve you’ve documented the right procedures the right systems you’ve talked to staff they understand how to handle scenarios everything’s written down everything and everyone sort of on the same page when it comes to that, right?
Shayne Connolly: [00:24:21] Yeah, you’ve given your business a framework to operate inside of because that’s what your policies and procedures are. It’s like a what do I do
Matt Jones: [00:24:29] Yeah it’s
Shayne Connolly: [00:24:30] Yeah
Matt Jones: [00:24:30] A step past that
Shayne Connolly: [00:24:31] That’s right.
Matt Jones: [00:24:32] And then in the second episode we were talking about responding to incidents correctly so that it was all about you know making sure that if something unfortunately does happen on site that the person who is there who is responsible is attending to that in the right matter then you know they’re fulfilling all the right obligations in the sense of you know doing the side assessments and investigating right and documenting taking photos or that kind of thing.
Shayne Connolly: [00:24:58] Yeah. Make sure you look after the person then look after the scene and then investigate what’s happened.
Matt Jones: [00:25:04] And then obviously in episode we’ve wrapped it up with you know just making sure that everyone’s on the right page moving forward and that everything’s everything’s in order. So I think we’ve pretty much pretty much close it off. Do you reckon?
Shayne Connolly: [00:25:14] Yeah. Look, I guess the only thing I would add you know as a general note about incidents and and mental health in general I guess is that you know it is something that as much as people don’t like to talk about it it really is something that your mental state of mind when you go to work is one of your safety. One of your protective measures so if you’re not in your right mental state when you go to work you’re putting yourself and other people at risk. So, but if you can’t talk about that as a business if you can’t go to your boss and talk to that to that person about it then it’s hard to get past it. So you know it’s something that should be addressed in every business whether you do it in a group or whether you do it individually and just let people know that you there. If they need help if they need anything. It’s really important.
Matt Jones: [00:26:12] Yeah. Now good brilliant I love it. All right mate thank you very much for your time. For the listeners out there that’s Shayne Connolly from Keep it Simple Safety website keepitsimplesafety.com a you head across there where you can take part in the free online assessment. Shayne, I’ll put some links to the website all that kind of stuff within the show notes for these episodes and you are going to also leave behind something that the guys can get hold of there’s a bit of a bit of ready material to evaluated so they can learn a little bit more about how to do this stuff correctly. Is that right?
Shayne Connolly: [00:26:49] That’s correct. We’ll give you a bit of a how to guide to set up your own system if you’ve got the time or obviously you can get someone else to do it for you like us.
Matt Jones: [00:26:59] And I know you’ve been working on an e-book. I’ve had the privilege of proofreading it on a recent flight which was wonderful.
Shayne Connolly: [00:27:05] Yeah.
Matt Jones: [00:27:05] Look I look forward to that listeners.
Shayne Connolly: [00:27:08] Yes. It’s a much more detailed version of that how to guide. So I hope to have that out. In the, well maybe
Matt Jones: [00:27:16] Next decade.
Shayne Connolly: [00:27:16] By the time this podcast comes to air we’ll see. It really depends on how much time I have on my hands. It’s not something that I have tons of time to complete yet.
Matt Jones: [00:27:30] I understand. I completely relate to that. But anyway that’s cool. All right well thanks again mate. And we’re going to wrap this one up now but my listeners if you got any questions regarding occupational health and safety or work health safety by all means please hit us up with the questions. Shayne is a member of the community so he you can head across there and ask those questions and you’re going to answer it for you. Otherwise you can go wherever you see this podcast that come across whether that’s through your social media channels or in one of our emails you can always reply or post a comment where you say it. So Shayne, thanks again for your time and I think that is a wrap.
Shayne Connolly: [00:28:11] It’s a pleasure to be here.
Matt Jones: [00:28:13] Rock n Roll.