We do our best to keep ourselves, our employees, and our customers safe. But accidents happen, and sometimes people get hurt. In addition to the fact that we never want to see anyone hurt, injuries that happen at your business or because of your products can seriously threaten your business. So, what do you do if a customer gets injured on your property, an employee gets injured on the job, or your products cause an injury.
Sometimes an accident is just an accident and you’re not liable. But you are liable if the injury is caused by your negligence – your failure to protect them from foreseeable harm. For example, say you know that your front entrance tends to form a slick sheet of ice in the winter. You know that’s a hazard that could hurt your customers. If you salt it (and maybe even put up a sign warning people), you’re doing what you should be to protect your customers. If you ignore it, you may be negligent and face liability.
When a customer is injured at your place of business, the first step is the same: make sure the injured customer gets necessary medical attention immediately. After that, the process is slightly different.
STEP ONE: Get Immediate Medical Attention
When an employee or customer is injured during their time at work, the steps you take in the first hours and days following the injury are crucial to protecting yourself from liability. Obviously, the first step when any person – employee, contractor, or customer – is injured at your place of business is to seek medical care. One of the easiest ways to get yourself in trouble is to fail to seek proper medical treatment for any employee or customer who’s injured on the premises.
Always err on the side of caution when assessing medical situations. It may not be immediately obvious when the medical condition is an emergency. In some instances, such as anaphylaxis, bleeding, or trauma, minutes matter, so don’t hesitate to seek help ASAP.
If the condition is clearly minor, such as a small cut or abrasion, then the best thing you can do is encourage the employee or customer to follow up about their injury using their health care provider. When in doubt, call for medical assistance or an ambulance if necessary.
The worst thing you can do is ignore the problem. Make sure the injured party gets the treatment they need as soon as possible.
STEP TWO: Prepare An Incident Report
An incident report should state all the essential information about the accident or near-miss. It should contain the following key elements to ensure that all facts and necessary details are complete and properly documented.
An incident report should be:
All data must be clear and specific
An incident report should be objective and supported by facts. Avoid including emotional, opinionated, and biased statements in the incident report.
Ensure that all essential questions (what, where, when, why, and how) are covered in the incident report. Record not only the people who were injured and what caused the accident to happen, but also include details such as people who witnessed and reported the incident.
Photos, diagrams, and illustrations should be included as supporting evidence.
Upon completion, those who are involved in the incident (e.g. victim, witnesses, manager, reporter, etc.) should sign off to testify and validate all the information that was mentioned in the incident report.
An incident report log should be maintained at all times in case records need to be taken at short notice. Sample incident reports can be obtained directly from IOMST or through our website members only area.
AT NO POINT SHOULD YOU ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY OR LIABILITY
Doing so may prejudice the defence of any subsequent personal injuries claim and in extreme circumstances result in an insurer declining to provide cover.