What is a worksite incident in construction?
In construction, the definition of a worksite incident is any occurrence of injury or near miss of injury on the jobsite.
OSHA strongly encourages construction companies to investigate all worksite incidents to identify the cause and determine what avoidable hazards or safety violations contributed.
Incident vs. accident
While the word “accident” is often used interchangeably with worksite incident, these terms are not equal. OSHA defines accidents as unplanned events that cannot be consciously avoided.
Most worksite incidents, however, can be prevented by following proper safety procedures. Using the term incident instead of accident reinforces the idea that the construction company must proactively work to improve safety standards and reduce the risk of injury moving forward.
Incidents that lead to death or serious injury must be reported to OSHA within a specific time period—between 8 to 24 hours after the incident occurs depending on the severity.
Incidents that must be officially reported to OSHA include those that result in:
Loss of consciousness
While there is no legal obligation to report less severe injuries like minor cuts or sprains, construction companies should still document these incidents internally as a best safety practice. Thoroughly documenting incidents helps you identify safety concerns and take corrective action that greatly reduces the risk of recurring injury.
Help your crew learn the importance of incident reporting with our incident and near miss reporting toolbox talk.
How to document a construction worksite incident
When a worksite incident occurs, follow these steps to make sure you document it properly:
Notify emergency services
Document the details
Describe the worksite incident
Identify contributing factors
Use a worksite incident checklist
1. Notify emergency services
If an injury has occurred and immediate medical attention is required, notify emergency services. Providing first aid or securing medical attention for the injured individual(s) is always the highest priority after a worksite incident.
2. Document the details
Record the names and job titles of all individuals involved in the worksite incident. This includes the names of any injured individuals as well as those who were simply present in the general work area.
List any injuries that were sustained and note who sustained them. Document the exact location, time, and date of the incident, and record any equipment that was involved.
3. Describe the worksite incident
Describe the incident and the events that led up to it in detail. If multiple individuals were involved in the incident, interview each of them to gain more perspective.
Attach any job photos or video documentation that were captured of the work area prior to the incident or during the incident itself. Consider taking photos or videos of the work area after the incident occurred if appropriate.
4. Identify contributing factors
Take a critical look at the information you’ve collected. Identify any safety violations or hazards that contributed to the incident.
Define action items to correct safety issues and prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
5. Notify stakeholders
Inform your crew and any outside stakeholders of the incident. Communicate the corrective action that will be taken and reinforce the importance of following safety procedures.
6. Use a worksite incident checklist
When a jobsite injury occurs, it’s easy to go into panic mode. But, if a near miss happens, it’s easy to shrug it off and keep moving along with the work day.
Following a worksite incident checklist helps you make sure you are not missing crucial steps in either case. This helpful safety tool takes the guesswork out of incident reporting.