Incidents include injuries, damage to equipment or infrastructure, unauthorized modifications to UNBC infrastructure, near misses, or unsafe situations. This can range from someone tripping on an uneven pathway to a collision between pieces of equipment. The Workers Compensation Act requires that a preliminary investigation of workplace incidents be performed within 48 hours with steps taken to correct any deficiencies and a final report submitted to WorkSafeBC within 30 days. All incidents affecting campus safety must be reported to Risk & Safety Management for follow-up and reporting.
Examples of incidents that need to be reported to Risk & Safety Management and investigated:
- Accidents or damage involving UNBC-owned or leased vehicles and equipment, including ATVs, skidsteers, boats, trucks, cars, snowmobiles, lawn tractors, UTVs, lifts, and electric vehicles
- Chemical spills or releases of hazardous materials to environment
- Injuries to UNBC personnel or personnel associated with UNBC activities
- Damage to UNBC property or infrastructure
- Incidents in which equipment was nearly damaged or personnel could have been injured, known as near misses
- Theft or damage of traffic signage
- Unsafe operation of vehicles or equipment
When an incident occurs
- Make the scene safe
- Report the incident to your supervisor
- Report the incident to Risk & Safety Management
Incident investigations are required by the Workers Compensation Act and are part of an employer's due diligence process. Investigations are generally performed by supervisors, but Risk & Safety Management provides support in the process and reviews the reports for completeness. The Joint Health and Safety Committee can also participate in investigation and reviews incident investigation reports. A preliminary incident investigation must be performed within 48 hours of the incident
An important focus of an investigation is to look for the underlying causes of an incident (i.e., identify the problem that ultimately resulted in the incident, not the symptons of the problem). There are a number of incident causation models, but all of the currently accepted ones emphasize the employer's responsibility in producing/preventing substandard conditions and acts. The investigation process should not focus on assigning fault or blame--the goal is to identify the cause of the incident, make concrete recommendation to prevent similar events, and take action to prevent them.
Incident investigations need to be performed promptly after the incident while the information is fresh and the scene has not been changed. When possible, take photos and draw a top-view diagram of the event with a timeline. Take notes from witnesses and have them review the statement to indicate accuracy. Generate short-term and long-term plans to address the root cause. Sign the document after it is finished to show who performed the investigation.
If you feel that there is a conflict of interest or objectivity is a challenge in the investigation, contact Risk & Safety Management to request support.