Responding To Incidents Correctly
Incidents are an inevitable part of every business. This is the exact reason why business owners should be aware of what to do when incidents occur within the workplace.
In this episode, we go through a few real-life experiences of how people were able to move on from incidents at work. Shayne shares with us a previous worker who lost his arm due to a jet water accident.
“The first thing is always to attend to the person.”
There’s just so many kinds of incidents which can happen at work. Whatever the case may be, the first and foremost thing to do is give attention to the person.
As the owner of your business, you should be aware of what to do when incidents happen Aside from that, it helps to know all these things to instruct the right people so they can manage incidents in the future.
Get The Full Podcast Transcription Here
Matt Jones: [00:00:01] Hello listeners and welcome back to part two of the Keeping Safety Simple series that I’m conducting on the Site Shed Podcast here with my co-host Shayne Connolly. Shayne welcome back.
Shayne Connolly: [00:00:12] Nice to be back again, Matt.
Matt Jones: [00:00:14] Shayne. We have already recorded the first part of this series which was called Getting the Right Safety Systems in Place that was obviously as the name would allude to about making sure that you are set up with the right the right systems and your set up with systems that actually apply it to your business and have been customised for them at the end of that episode. I did recommend that the listeners out there head across to your website which is Keep it Simple Safety (all one word) dot com that a year where they can get. They can go and fill in that or more to say complete that online W.H.S. assessment which gives them pretty much a yes or no whether or not your systems are in order. So go and check that out guys I’ll be links to that with machine as well. Shayne and this episode we’re gonna be talking a little more on the responding to incidents. Oh man I tell you what I’ve worked in an organization where I actually hire a guy who was pretty much cut his hand open with a water jetter.
Shayne Connolly: [00:01:26] That’s nasty.
Matt Jones: [00:01:28] Oh but you know what. You see it all the time in businesses and it’s a case of I should take your work shirt off and go to a medical centre and say you fell over and did it also. Well I guess that’s certainly not the right way to respond to an incident.
Shayne Connolly: [00:01:41] Certainly not with water jetting. There’s so many other risks for water jetting but anyway
Matt Jones: [00:01:46] Yeah.
Shayne Connolly: [00:01:47] No that’s definitely not the right way to respond. I guess that you know let’s do this episode assuming that you’ve got the right systems in place. Because really you’re in deep trouble if you don’t at this point. So, if you’ve got the right systems in place then you literally do what your system says so depending on what kind of incident it is. Let’s let’s go with that one that somebody has cut their hand open with the high pressure water gun you know and that’s the first and foremost you want to attend to the person involved in the incident.
Matt Jones: [00:02:23] Yeah.
Shayne Connolly: [00:02:24] You can worry about the details afterwards. That’s a serious incident. So they need to get to hospital straight away and they need to their ambulance needs to know that that was a water pressure that cut them because there are some serious after effects you can have from that particular incident.
Matt Jones: [00:02:40] Lot of infection and stuff apparently.
Shayne Connolly: [00:02:43] Yeah it can go up your veins and your arteries.
Matt Jones: [00:02:47] Yeah yeah.
Shayne Connolly: [00:02:48] Yes. Nasty stuff. I can tell you another story about that when we’re not on air. That’s far too gross to talk about on air.
Matt Jones: [00:02:55] I’m good.
Shayne Connolly: [00:02:56] So
Matt Jones: [00:02:56] (Laughs)
Shayne Connolly: [00:02:57] It’s not a post dinner conversation. It’s one of the joys of being in safety you get to hear a lot. Really uncomfortable stories. So the first thing is always to attend to the person. And what you do is an incident really does vary considerably on how serious it is. So if it’s something that’s reportable in Australia and New Zealand there are certain requirements, for certain incidents so if somebody has something amputated they become. Now there’s a whole range of I won’t read them all. It’s about four pages long.
Matt Jones: [00:03:37] Yeah
Shayne Connolly: [00:03:38] Different types of incidents that require reporting to the regulator. So that’s something to take into account. Your system should outline what those things are. So people know. So then then it’s a matter of deciding what needs to be done afterwards. So one of the things I used to do in a former life in safety is incident investigations which is really not as fun as it sounds.
Matt Jones: [00:04:10] It doesn’t
Shayne Connolly: [00:04:11] So.
Matt Jones: [00:04:11] Sound vulnerable.
Shayne Connolly: [00:04:13] Well that’s how
Matt Jones: [00:04:13] You
Shayne Connolly: [00:04:13] Unfun it is.
Matt Jones: [00:04:14] Were hurt even less fun than that.
Shayne Connolly: [00:04:17] It’s worse than being the police I think. So it some incidents so if something happens and your first question is how that how the hell could that happen. That’s something that should be investigated. That’s a good you know common sense measurement are your system your safety system might dictate which things have to be investigated if you if you’ve got a slightly fancier one but in general that’s how I try to get people to think about it. If you walk up and they work somebody explain to you what happened and your first reaction is how the hell did that happen then you should investigate and investigate it is really quite simple. It’s the same is why you would investigate anything else. Who What When Where Why?
Matt Jones: [00:05:03] Yeah.
Shayne Connolly: [00:05:05] And once you get all that information together then you figure it out how you can try to prevent that from happening in the future.
Matt Jones: [00:05:14] Mhmm..
Shayne Connolly: [00:05:15] And the whole time you document that process and I mean that’s a really simplified version of what would happen but because it really does vary considerably from incident to incident.
Matt Jones: [00:05:30] So step one obviously, make sure that the person who is injured is okay.
Shayne Connolly: [00:05:36] Yes.
Matt Jones: [00:05:36] Step two would be to, what would you say?
Shayne Connolly: [00:05:40] Step two is really assess. You know if you’re not there so if you’re the owner of the business for example and you weren’t there get to site and make an assessment of how serious the incident was and take control of what happens next. The worst thing that can happen when there’s an incident is that everybody forgets what to do. Nobody takes pictures or anything like that. Nobody gets it takes any notes and the next day everybody’s got different stories of what happened.
Matt Jones: [00:06:13] Yeah sure.
Shayne Connolly: [00:06:13] So especially
Matt Jones: [00:06:14] Document
Shayne Connolly: [00:06:15] Yes especially if it’s a serious thing. And even more particular if it’s something that you have to report to a regulator you want to have your story straight and not for legal reasons just because it sounds much better if you know what you’re talking about. If you as the business owner turn up and the regulators there to investigate and you don’t know what the hell is going on. That doesn’t look good. So you know be there get involved understand what’s happened. Ask lots of questions and document everything. Photos and videos are the best to do this because: A) they don’t lie, and B) they don’t forget. So if your video you know even if you’ve got your phone there and your video the person telling you what happened or the entire environment around you.
Matt Jones: [00:07:15] Mhmm..
Shayne Connolly: [00:07:16] So collect that evidence. Step three is investigate if you need to. Again that depends on the incident but anything that involves a trip to the doctor you really should probably get some kind of investigation.
Matt Jones: [00:07:33] And would that come from internally? Or..
Shayne Connolly: [00:07:36] Oh yeah. You don’t you don’t need to be a qualified investigator like I am.
Matt Jones: [00:07:41] Like yourself.
Shayne Connolly: [00:07:41] Yeah. He don’t have to go through that that course. And if you’ve got and this is a good time whereas so one of the services we offer is that particular service so if something does go wrong you just ring us and I tell you exactly what to do.
Matt Jones: [00:07:56] Okay.
Shayne Connolly: [00:07:57] So if you’ve got that to draw on if you are using someone else or using us then use that immediately. Because then you are getting expert advice on what you need right away when you need it. So and so and as I said document right there fill out an incident form
Matt Jones: [00:08:17] Yeah
Shayne Connolly: [00:08:18] Fill out an investigation, follow it up, have a toolbox talk afterwards, talk about what happened.
Matt Jones: [00:08:24] Yeah.
Shayne Connolly: [00:08:26] Put and then if you need to change procedures that’s when you do it or if you need to change a piece of equipment that’s when you do it because they’re there they’re all that result of your investigation. Were they doing it dodgy because they had a dodgy piece of a dodgy tool or was it too old or was it whatever. There’s a thousand different reasons. Inevitably when you investigate it will come down to two factors. Time and money. Normally I have to put the caveat that I haven’t investigated every incident obviously all the investigations I’ve ever done have either come down to the fact that somebody was trying to do something too quickly or had skipped something
Matt Jones: [00:09:14] Yeah. Shortcuts
Shayne Connolly: [00:09:15] Or somebody or somebody was trying to do something on the cheap. And that’s not just about when the incident happens it might be that they didn’t get it whatever it was serviced when it was supposed to be serviced
Matt Jones: [00:09:26] Right.
Shayne Connolly: [00:09:27] Or it can be a whole range of different things but they are the actual factor that you can boil it down to at the end.
Matt Jones: [00:09:34] I know
Shayne Connolly: [00:09:35] But
Matt Jones: [00:09:35] I’m
Shayne Connolly: [00:09:35] If
Matt Jones: [00:09:36] Sorry it while you’re on that. I know I’m I’ve worked in companies with company before where I mean all the you know the tagging and all the tool tagging and leave taking all that kind of stuff is pretty prevalent and when you’re working on site like I sort of came out of construction and was working heavily sort of used to that involvement into that sort of level of a management over tools and that sort of thing and then I went to this company that wasn’t construction based and they didn’t do that kind of staff and their reasoning behind it and actually made a lot of sense so they used to regularly trained and tool box their staff and the team but they found that when they went where they were tagging all the equipment regularly and doing all that kind of stuff. The end user be that an apprentice or the tradesperson or whatever it was they would just go and pick the tool up check if the tag’s okay and then go plug it in without actually checking it and they found that a number of times you know it could be a lead that that’s cut or it could be no different things but because it’s got a tag on it. Oh it’s fine. Plug it in and off you go kind of thing. So
Shayne Connolly: [00:10:45] Yeah
Matt Jones: [00:10:46] What’s your experience with that sort of thing?
Shayne Connolly: [00:10:48] Well the test in tagging unfortunately is a legal requirement.
Matt Jones: [00:10:52] Yeah.
Shayne Connolly: [00:10:53] So but I do tend to agree the one of the things you have to be careful of in safety is that you don’t stop people from using their brain
Matt Jones: [00:11:02] Right
Shayne Connolly: [00:11:03] Because and you know I won’t mention any big companies but there are a few big companies that have such a prescriptive safety systems that people literally stop thinking for themselves and
Matt Jones: [00:11:16] Yeah.
Shayne Connolly: [00:11:16] They will follow the procedure to the letter. So if something read happens they’re stuck because they don’t they’ve stopped trying to think process through for themselves. So that’s really dangerous. And and that company is talking about did the right thing I mean they should still tag their machines but they should still jumping drumming to people. You got to look before you leap. You know and and that again comes back to that leading from the top you’ve you’ve got to show people how you want things to be done and that’s super important. And that’s one of the things I often talk to business owners about is drumming into people that they do not want you to say that five minutes that five minutes is far less valuable than a serious incident.
Matt Jones: [00:12:08] Of course.
Shayne Connolly: [00:12:10] So you know like you said before that incident you pointed out before about the guy running back onto site to get his phone. Now if you have to keep the job site open for an extra 10 minutes no one is going to be upset you know and might give you a hard time but they’re not they would much prefer to keep the supervisor there go back and start the machine up go and get your phone do it properly then for that sort of thing to happen.
Matt Jones: [00:12:33] Yeah and I have to agree I think in that instance no one actually knew that he’d gone back in
Matt Jones: [00:12:38] Like it was
Shayne Connolly: [00:12:39] Yeah
Matt Jones: [00:12:39] No and the builders didn’t know the boss of the kids boss didn’t know.
Shayne Connolly: [00:12:44] But I’m sure that if you could talk to him now he would probably tell you that I was just trying to save somebody some time.
Matt Jones: [00:12:50] Right.
Shayne Connolly: [00:12:51] I was trying not to be a pain.
Matt Jones: [00:12:52] Yeah. Exactly.
Shayne Connolly: [00:12:54] And so and that’s the message you’ve got to give to your workers is that’s not being a pain doing things the right way is not being a pain.
Matt Jones: [00:13:02] Yeah.
Shayne Connolly: [00:13:03] And so you know that’s it that should go across your business not just in safety. If you got to stay there and put that extra washer on and do it the right way then that’s what we want you to do. And in the same goes for safety if you don’t have the right ladder don’t put two is together and try and do it to save yourself 20 minutes to get the right tool.
Matt Jones: [00:13:26] Well it just depends on really the strength of your duct tape doesn’t it.
Shayne Connolly: [00:13:31] I’ve again I’ve got some good stories about myself doing work at home but that’s me working for me so it’s a different environment.
Matt Jones: [00:13:42] The phone books on top of that what of that got to me.
Shayne Connolly: [00:13:45] You know one thing I do all this work with trade businesses and I have such crappy set of tools it’s just not funny.
Matt Jones: [00:13:54] I’m one of those sticklers especially in the kitchen where my knives are always super sharp like I just because of that but I know that and I’ve experienced firsthand the danger of using blunt tools. You know like you’re
Shayne Connolly: [00:14:06] Yeah.
Matt Jones: [00:14:07] Hacking into things and so my friends come over or whatever means in knives and they’re like my mum especially because I was a bloody terrible. They use our knives they’re like holy Jesus and I’m like yeah but it’s the same with tools in it like you see all the time the people using the wrong tool or some dodgy tool for
Shayne Connolly: [00:14:24] Yeah.
Matt Jones: [00:14:24] A job and that’s typically like you said before you know it could very often lead to a problem or an incident happening on site even like things like a blunt Stanley knife. Why. How many times when I was this is actually pretty funny story when I was working on site. I was on an apprentice I was having maybe a second year journeyman or something like that that I really that was his Sparky on site and his nickname was Stanley and I was doing like safety talk or presentation or something and they were doing a roll call and they called his name out and his name was Tim and I was with Stanley and they all started laughing and I was like what what’s funny is that they told me the story about how when he was an apprentice and he was stripping stripping cable and instead of stripping it away from him with a Stanley knife he was stripping it towards himself and he slipped through the cable and that’s Stanley knife punks shoot him in the chest and apparently it just like his heart or something like it went right in between a rib. And there was blood everywhere. So his nickname from then on was Stanley.
Shayne Connolly: [00:15:29] Yeah well that’s that’s one way to get a nickname. Surely there’s easier ways.
Matt Jones: [00:15:35] Oh
Shayne Connolly: [00:15:35] But
Matt Jones: [00:15:35] No oh no.
Shayne Connolly: [00:15:36] But but it does. I mean it’s it’s a good point that the tools because one of our clients that we have one of their procedures each week is to check their vans for all the tools that are required. So
Matt Jones: [00:15:48] Mhmm..
Shayne Connolly: [00:15:49] It’s been proactive in the face of making sure that no vein goes out without having the right tools in it. So your preventing problems from happening and that’s really I mean that’s the next level kind of system where you’re being extra proactive but that’s what systems are supposed to do.
Matt Jones: [00:16:08] Well it is and it is and it isn’t it really. I mean you look at like so if you
Shayne Connolly: [00:16:12] Not
Matt Jones: [00:16:12] Haven’t
Shayne Connolly: [00:16:12] To
Matt Jones: [00:16:12] Got
Shayne Connolly: [00:16:12] Mention
Matt Jones: [00:16:12] It
Shayne Connolly: [00:16:12] The time they save.
Matt Jones: [00:16:14] Right and if you haven’t got a certain tool like say you’ve you know you’ve left your hammer at home or something or on a job site and instead you use a shifting spanner to hammer and know where you got to be like oh that’s going to lead to a problem you’re going to break you’re all like it. It’s not productive at all those sort of things. But I mean I think it’s quite quite a good policy for any business. Make sure your staff got the right tools because if they don’t they’re going to improvise.
Shayne Connolly: [00:16:42] But I mean a lot of businesses just depend on people using their common sense you know surely
Matt Jones: [00:16:46] Yeah
Shayne Connolly: [00:16:47] Joy you you should know what’s in it.
Matt Jones: [00:16:49] Yeah yeah.
Shayne Connolly: [00:16:50] And that’s not the best way to run a business.
Matt Jones: [00:16:53] Yeah. Okay, cool. So anything else we’re talking about responding to incidents?
Shayne Connolly: [00:16:59] So I guess the cover off the other parts is what happens after somebody has been injured
Matt Jones: [00:17:06] Yes
Shayne Connolly: [00:17:06] In the next series. But just to reiterate make sure if you’ve got a resource you can call call that resource. Make sure you document everything and make sure you know what is supposed to be reported to the regulator and what isn’t.
Matt Jones: [00:17:24] Who is the regulator?
Shayne Connolly: [00:17:26] So in New South Wales it’s WorkSafe Queensland, it’s WorkSafe Victoria, it’s WorkSafe in South Australia, it’s safe work because there are little bit backwards. And in a way it’s ah I think it’s WorkSafe. They all very similar names
Matt Jones: [00:17:44] Is it a government body? or is it state like
Shayne Connolly: [00:17:47] No it’s a state body
Matt Jones: [00:17:48] Okay.
Shayne Connolly: [00:17:49] But they are government run and they literally, they’re to not well part of their role is to educate and part of their role is to enforce so and investigate and prosecute.
Matt Jones: [00:18:02] So if something does happen on site like responding to an incident there the people that you would have to call they have to come out investigating, is that what you say?
Shayne Connolly: [00:18:10] Yeah. So if it’s if it meets their criteria for reportable incidents
Matt Jones: [00:18:14] Okay.
Shayne Connolly: [00:18:14] Then they would be wrong and on that on a side note if you don’t report something that’s reportable. Very nasty situation. You can get yourself into so if nothing else at least look up what those reportable incidents are so that you are aware of them.
Matt Jones: [00:18:31] And so, in regard to that like just I mean I don’t expect you to recite you know what what what’s what’s right and what’s not but what are what are some of the things that you would not bother reporting as opposed to some of the things that you would
Shayne Connolly: [00:18:45] Oh if you just get a cut on your head into three stitches or something like that. That’s not what they.
Matt Jones: [00:18:52] Right.
Shayne Connolly: [00:18:52] They don’t want that recorded. If you ingest poison if it’s a fatality if somebody has something amputated then they do have other more complex things to explain. But yeah I mean look if it’s really serious then it’s most likely reportable.
Matt Jones: [00:19:11] Right. And I imagine any way most of those instances as soon as you call an ambulance or a coffin they’re going to be they’ll be onto that sort of stuff as well, right?
Shayne Connolly: [00:19:19] I don’t not. It does depend obviously. But yes once they go to emergency and they under certain circumstances the doctor is required to.
Matt Jones: [00:19:30] Okay.
Shayne Connolly: [00:19:31] I don’t know whether it’s done all the time or whether it depends on the doctor or I’m not really sure. I mean let’s put it this way when it ends up your insurance company WorkSafe will find out anyway. So you can’t avoid it and that’s why I say on even if you’re not sure if it should be reported just ring the regulator and say this is what’s happened. Is this reportable incident and they will say yes or no.
Matt Jones: [00:19:57] Is WorkSafe, WorkCover?
Shayne Connolly: [00:20:00] No. Well they’re the same they come under the same umbrella but they’re not the same thing.
Matt Jones: [00:20:05] Okay.
Shayne Connolly: [00:20:07] It’s a I don’t know why they have to have different names for everything but yeah they they take care of the the other side.
Matt Jones: [00:20:18] Okay.
Shayne Connolly: [00:20:18] So WorkSafe for trying to prevent injuries they take care of what happens afterwards.
Matt Jones: [00:20:22] Gotcha, okay.
Shayne Connolly: [00:20:23] So I guess the simple way to look at it
Matt Jones: [00:20:25] Maybe we’ll talk a little bit about that and then follow up. So we’re talking about moving forward after an incident
Shayne Connolly: [00:20:30] Is a big part of it. Yes.
Matt Jones: [00:20:31] Okay, cool cool. Alright well mate thanks for that. I think we can pretty much wrap that one up. Once again for the listeners, head across to Shayne’s website if you want to get hold of the online free W.H.S. assessment. It’s pretty handy and it will certainly give you a good indication of where you stand in terms of safety policies and procedures. Shayne thanks again once for your time and we will head, we’ll close this one off and we’ll come back with the following and final parts of this series which is going to be moving forward, other incidents. Sound good?
Shayne Connolly: [00:21:04] Sounds good.
Matt Jones: [00:21:05] Rock and roll.