The Do’s And Don'ts Of Dealing With Inspectors And Accident Investigations

Author:Mr Peter Bredin
Profession:Arthur Cox
 
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Accident Protocol

A comprehensive accident protocol is of great assistance in dealing with an accident at the workplace. It is also a legal requirement under section 11 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 for every employer to have adequate plans and procedures to be followed and measures to be taken in the case of an emergency or serious and imminent danger. The Act also requires an employer to revise such plans and it would be prudent to consider now whether you need to revise your existing plan, to take into account any changes to the nature of the work or the workplace since the plan was drawn up or last revised.

The plan must meet the requirements of section 11, which provides for:

first aid, fire-fighting and evacuation procedures; details of the local emergency services and procedures for contacting them; designation of employees to implement the plan; training and provision of appropriate equipment for those employees. The plan must be specific, taking into account the nature of the work, the size of the workplace, and the hazards relating to that workplace. The plan must also comply with any requirements particular to the workplace, for example under an Industrial Emissions Directive Licence if applicable.  In addition, an effective accident protocol should clearly identify points of contact and responsibility within the company for liaising with the Health and Safety Authority ("HSA"), and the Gardaí, as well as managing both internal and external communications.

Immediate Aftermath

Obviously, the first concern will be to care for the injured person and to minimise the risk of further injury. Employees should be instructed to stop work and leave the workplace and must not be required to carry out or resume work where the danger still exists.

There are strict requirements for the reporting of accidents to the HSA. The employer is responsible for such notification. If a death has occurred, the HSA must be notified by the quickest practicable means. In all cases that are reportable, the HSA must be informed as soon as practicable, and the HSA prefers notification to occur online.  The description of any accident on the notification should be as factual as possible.  Failure to report is an offence.

The Investigation

For effective management of the situation post-accident, it is preferable to have one senior person who is designated to coordinate the response. If it is necessary to have more than one...

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