Investigation of Incidents: Distributing The Outcome Report

Certificate IV in Occupational Health and SafetyThe distribution and use of an incident report will depend on, to some extent, who prepares the report and for what reason.  At the workplace level, the report is likely to be prepared by a safety officer or person delegated to manage safety, together with a report from the elected worker health and safety representative (if any). This report may be a joint report between these two parties.

The health and safety committee is an appropriate forum for members to discuss the report, the circumstances described in the report, the outcomes and the recommendations. It may be that the combined expertise of the committee will provide alternative, perhaps more practicable solutions or substitutions, to prevent further occurrences of these circumstances. Pooled resources can be extremely beneficial, particularly if an enterprise decision-maker is involved in the process. This is also an excellent forum to follow up and monitor recommendations and preventative strategies, to ensure they are implemented. When implementation is left to one person, it is easy for the process to run off the rails if that person is absent, on leave, sick, or leaves the particular work area or the enterprise. The health and safety committee have to have recorded notes or minutes to ensure that the recommendations are continuously reviewed until the matter is satisfactorily completed or resolved.

In the early section of this blog series, we referred to who conducts an investigation and further split the options between internal and external investigators. The external investigators will in most cases produce a detailed report for the organisation they represent, and if the person died as a result of the incident, the Coroner will be seeking a report prepared by a Government agency. If that agency proceeds to a prosecution for breaches of legislation arising out of the investigation, a copy will also be forwarded to the Crown Solicitor.