The Harwood Safety Group

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"No one expects the Spanish Inquisition" The Value of a Critical Incident Protocol

We regularly get calls from prime contractors and employers who have just had a serious incident on a work site. We go into action immediately to provide assistance in investigating and responding to enforcement action.

Typically, we find that those that have a plan in place for how to deal with serious incidents have better outcomes overall - from legal, corporate and worker resilience perspectives - compared to those that do not.

Planning and documenting a system that comes into play in the event of a tragic serious injury or fatality at your workplace, can make the road ahead smoother for everyone involved.

A Critical Incident Protocol (CIP) sets out an effective response to serious incidents involving workplace injuries or hazardous exposures. Whether a stand alone document or incorporated as part of existing emergency response procedures, a CIP is an important tool for incident management. It serves three key purposes:

1. It sets out the immediate response to a serious incident.

2. It identifies and addresses any other potential harm that may result to other workers, families and the company, arising from an incident.

3. It clarifies the actions needed moving forward, such as reporting, and conducting preliminary and final investigations.

An effective CIP should clearly identify the processes to be put into place after an incident by setting our what, where and how resources will be directed. Some considerations to be covered when developing a CIP include:

  • setting up a CIP team and designating various roles

  • dealing with injured workers, calling 911, police

  • securing the scene, ensuring safety

  • advising families, providing trauma counselling and other support

  • working with attending authorities - police, WorkSafeBC, coroner

  • messaging to the work force, handling media attention

  • conducting the preliminary and final accident investigations

  • identifying external expertise - hygienists, engineers, investigators, lawyers

  • training workers and keeping them updated on the CIP

While no one expects to have a serious incident at their workplace, in the aftermath of such a tragedy, having a CIP in place can bring a much-needed measure of focus and direction for the way through, and forward.

Contact The Harwood Safety Group for further information and assistance in developing and implementing a CIP.

#Emergencyplanning #Accidents #Healthandsafety #Investigations

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