Safety Corner

Why Report an Injury

by Brad Bradish, Manager, Injury Risk Management for SRG

My friends know I’m in health and safety and the question I hear the most is ‘why do I have to report every little injury?’ Why does the company need to know about a cut, bruise or even that pain in my arm? My friends always say, ‘what does it matter to the company, they never fix anything.’

Well, could the reason the company doesn’t do anything be due to the fact that they don’t know?

Injury tracking and monitoring are key for any health and safety manager, as they give management proof to show that certain protective gear/operating procedures are not working. Change in a company doesn’t just happen because people wish for it. It needs to have facts that show something is wrong. If management sees a lot of injuries or incidents from a certain area, that area will be reviewed. If nothing is reported, then management deems everything to be working properly.

Legislation and law also play an important part. By law, employers must report any incident that required outside first aid, caused an employee to miss a shift, or included modifying the job or task. Failure to report leads to a fine. This is especially important in the staffing industry where the employer is different from the client.

Usually when one of my friends will ask me, ‘why is any of that important to me?’, here is the example I give:

Infections – a single steel splinter can lead to tetanus, which can lead to death in rare circumstances. Depending on the chemicals in the workplace a staph infection is also likely. This can all be avoided by reporting what happened and making sure to seek medical attention.

My biggest worry though, is the times when something unusual happens, but nothing is reported. A concrete company that I used to work for made an error when casting large parking garage supports. The employees didn’t want to tell the supervisor of the mistake and instead proceeded to grind each casting down 2 inches. There were 40 pieces, and each piece was 40 feet long and 8 feet wide. They grinded by hand, with no face masks. The exposure to grinding concrete leads to an irreversible lung disease. These employees were unaware they were even exposed to a dangerous situation until the supervisor learned of the mistake and their actions. They had been grinding for 2 weeks. They are now all on permanent 6 month doctor visits to monitor their lungs.

Remember to report all injuries no matter how small they seem. You never know what the outcome will be, so it’s best to protect yourself.

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