Risk management for public entities: Safety incident reporting

Public entities offer a wide range of programs and services in a variety of settings to serve the needs of its community and clients. When delivering programs and services, there are times that safety incidents occur, which can result in illness, injury, or property damage.

Selective focus automated external defibrillator (AED) on hand of 
 paramedic. Emergency service team.

Public entities offer a wide range of programs and services in a variety of settings to serve the needs of its community and clients. When delivering programs and services, there are times that safety incidents occur, which can result in illness, injury, or property damage. When a safety incident occurs, it is important that the public entity has a plan in place in order to:

  • Make sure affected staff and community members receive immediate support
  • Provide comprehensive documentation of the accident
  • Fulfill its reporting requirements to the following:
    • Senior management
    • Health and safety
    • Police
    • Insurer
    • Provincial Ministry of Labour
  • Address lessons learned to prevent future reoccurrences

What to do when involved in an accident

  • Stay calm
    • Assess whether the surrounding area is safe
    • Assess whether there continues to be immediate danger to yourself and others
  • Do not assume liability
    • Do not make an official statement unless it is to the police
    • Do not assume liability at any time nor take responsibility
    • Do not promise to make payments for damages
  • Don’t leave the scene
    • If it is safe to do so, move to a safe area within the scene
  • Check for any injured individuals
    • If injuries occur, do not move any individuals. Wait for emergency services.
  • Call the police or fire and emergency services
  • Call supervisory staff
    • If accident occurs after-hours or on a weekend, call after-hours supervisory coverage
  • Collect information
    • Get statements from any witnesses, including names and contact information
    • Take photos of the accident scene
    • Write down information regarding weather and area condition at the time of incident
  • Report to designated contacts for the following groups:
    • Health and safety department
    • Labour Partner
    • Provincial Ministry of Labour (or equivalent)
    • Insurer
  • Provide accident/incident form to the health and safety department

Roles and responsibilities

Involved staff, supervisory staff, and the insurance and risk manager need to be aware of their respective roles and responsibilities following an accident.

  • Staff
    • Call emergency services if there is an injury
    • Call supervisory staff
    • Call appropriate departments (for example, health and safety, maintenance, and public works)
    • Complete your internal accident/incident report form
    • Collect information regarding the incident
  • Supervisory staff
    • Preserve all relevant evidence at the scene
    • Immediately secure scene to prevent another incident from occurring
    • Ensure that all information related to incident is submitted by staff
    • Provide support to staff when liaising with other parties (for example, police, and health and safety)
    • Report to the health and safety department
    • Provide accident/incident form to health and safety department
    • Report the incident to the insurance and risk manager
  • Insurance and risk manager
    • Review information submitted by staff related to incident
    • Report the incident to insurer
    • Be familiar with the following aspects of your policy:
      • Reporting provisions:
        • Prior to policy expiry: Reconfirm your reporting provisions under expiring policy
        • New policy: Maintain the retroactive date, continuity date, or prior or pending litigation date. If not possible, there may be a need to purchase extended reporting under expiring policy.
    • Claims-made/occurrence-reported policies:
      • When the loss/act giving rise to the claim is to have occurred or is considered “made”
      • When the occurrence and/or claim are to be reported to the insurers
      • Availability of extended reporting period
      • Discovery provisions
      • Reporting periods (basic and extended)
      • Coverage triggers, reporting requirements, and definitions
      • Need to pursue extended reporting period under expiring contract

Summary

Although public entities take careful steps to plan and deliver a wide range of programs and services in a safe manner, accidents do occur. When safety incidents occur, public entities should have a standardized plan in place to help ensure that the affected individuals receive immediate support, there is comprehensive documentation of the accident, and the public entity is able to fulfill its reporting requirements and address lessons learned to prevent reoccurrences.

If you require additional information, please contact your Marsh Client representative.