HR can do all the risk assessments in the world, but sometimes accidents still happen. HRM asked two experts what HR directors can do before, a workplace accident to ensure the best outcome for their organization.
Top of the list is ensuring that every site has a specific emergency preparation plan that is easy to find and follow, says occupational health
-and-safety law expert Karen Fields. It should include instructions on how to assist an injured worker, who should call 911, who could contact the family, and who is to contact HR.
“We’ve seen many times that, no matter how much you train, when something awful happens, all of that training sometimes doesn’t kick in as easily as you think it will,” says Field, who is a partner at CC Partners
LLP. “The emergency plan should be easy to access so people can find it if they need a copy, and easy to follow, like a step-by-step program.”
All shift supervisors should be trained in what to do if the Ministry of Labour shows up following an accident. For critical accidents and fatalities, ministry investigators will usually be onsite within a few hours, so ensure that supervisors know their rights and obligations.
HR managers and senior managers should have important contact information easily at hand including phone numbers for a local counsellor or therapist, and a lawyer.
One of the best steps an HR director can take is to embrace values-based safety, rather than relying on the mandatory minimum requirements for the province or industry, says Organizational Solutions owner Liz Scott.
“How do we make sure everyone is accountable for their actions and for the individual standing next to them?” Scott asks. “Accidents, on the most part, are because the individual cut corners, but the longer answer is that the system allowed them to do that,”
Create a culture in which everyone, from the visiting executive to the junior colleague, says, “Where are your safety goggles?” and you will help build the value of safety into an organization’s everyday operations.
Read more about managing an accident before, during and after in this month’s issue of HRD.