May 17, 2017
Dealing with Accident and Injury at the Workplace
All work-related injuries, diseases, accidents and “close calls” must be reported to WorkSafeBC. Employers also have a duty to investigate workplace incidents that resulted in injury, or which had the potential to result in an injury. These reporting and investigation requirements are meant to identify, eliminate or control workplace hazards and reduce the potential for future injury or illness.
If a worker is injured on the job, as an employer you are required by law to report it to WorkSafeBC. As well, you must provide first aid and transportation if the injured worker needs or requests medical attention. Of course, if an injury is serious or if you are not sure how serious it may be, call 911 first.
Whether or not anyone is injured, serious incidents must be reported to WorkSafeBC right away. Serious incidents include:
- critical injuries;
- major structural failure or collapse of a building, bridge, tower, crane, hoist, temporary construction support system or excavation;
- major releases of hazardous substances, or diving or blasting accidents.
If you’re unsure whether or not an incident is serious, report it anyway. You should report less serious injuries to WorkSafeBC within three business days and initiate a WorkSafeBC claim by submitting an Employer’s Report of Injury or Occupational Disease (called a Form 7). For example, a Report of Injury should always be made where a worker:
- loses consciousness;
- receives or is in need of medical treatment;
- is unable to perform his or her job function on any subsequent day; or
- requests that a report be filed.
Employers are responsible for immediately conducting an investigation into any incident that involves:
- Serious injury to a worker or a worker’s death
- Injury requiring medical treatment
- Minor injury, or no injury, but had the potential for causing serious injury
- Major structural failure or collapse
- Major release of hazardous substances
- Diving incident, as defined by the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulation
- Dangerous incident involving explosive materials
- Blasting incident causing personal injury
An investigation must also take place when the accident in question did not involve injury to a worker, or involved only minor injury not requiring medical treatment, but had the potential for causing serious injury. For more information regarding the circumstances in which an employer is required to conduct an investigation, and what the stages of investigation are, please see: Conducting an Employer Investigation
Report incidents of injury or illness using WorkSafeBC’s online Incident and Injury Report. Online reporting streamlines the process and ensures that you will be using the most up-to-date forms.
Alternatively, the board provides a variety of contact points by telephone. View WorkSafeBC for a full listing of telephone numbers, including emergency contacts, frequently called numbers, and direct lines to regional offices across the province.
Information provided by Ryan Anderson, an employment lawyer with Mathews Dinsdale & Clark LLP. The information provided in this article is necessarily of a general nature and must not be regarded as legal advice. For more information about Mathews Dinsdale & Clark LLP, please visit mathewsdinsdale.com.
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