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How to report an accident

It’s an unfortunate but probably familiar scenario: A guest slips on some standing water in your facility and injures their back. Or, an employee sustains an injury in the kitchen and needs first aid. Or, a child bumps their head on the playground and appears to have a concussion.

Whatever the incident happens to be, you need to report it. But how far do you need to go in your reporting? Here, Church Mutual outlines the steps you should take when someone has an accident on your property:

  1. Seek medical attention. The first step is to either administer first aid or call 911—and sometimes both. Your top priority is ensuring the health and safety of all who are involved.

  2. Fill out an accident report. Document, document, document. Church Mutual offers a sample of an accident report on our website. The report should detail the facts of how the accident happened, who was involved, , whether there were any witnesses and what conditions were present.

  3. Gather testimony from the witnesses. Church Mutual also provides a sample witness report. It is best to gather this information as soon as possible after the accident, because witnesses’ memories are best at that time.

  4. Conduct an incident investigation. Whenever an accident happens, it is a clear indication there is a hazard on your property. When you investigate the accident, you can identify hazards that are likely to cause future harm—including the root causes of those hazards—and prevent other similar incidents.

Your organization should have a clear, written policy that details how you will perform accident investigations, so you can begin the investigation immediately after an accident has occurred. For injuries involving workers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that you:

  • Train an internal team on investigation techniques.

  • Make sure this team is composed of representatives from both management and workers.

  • Investigate not only full-fledged accidents, but also close calls and near misses.

  • Identify the root causes of the accident.

  • Take immediate steps to make changes that would prevent this accident from happening again.

  • Communicate the results of your investigation—and the mitigation steps—to others in your organization.

For worker injuries, you are required to notify OSHA within eight hours of a work-related fatality, and within 24 hours of an amputation, loss of an eye or hospitalization.

See other safety resources on our workforce management page.