What to do When an Accident Happens

Have you ever asked yourself; does my team know what should be done onsite immediately after an injury or accident occurs?  Have you ever asked yourself; does my team know what should be done onsite immediately after an injury or accident occurs? 

 Fortunately, the vast majority of tree care companies do not experience frequent injuries and/or accidents, however, when an accident does occur, chances are it will be a severe one. Because they don’t happen often, most tree services are unprepared to handle them correctly, causing unnecessary confusion and panic in an already stressful situation. In fact, we typically see the safest companies having more issues when an accident occurs, because they have not had to deal with that situation in quite some time or have focused their training on accident prevention and not response. 

So our tip this week is about Accident Preparedness and I’ll start by asking you if you can answer any of the following:

Do your employees know what to do when an accident occurs?

Do your staff have specific training on what to do when an accident occurs?

Do any of your employee have allergies to certain medicines?

Do your employees have any pre-existing condition that you’re unaware of?

Do you have a relationship established with an Occupational Health Clinic?

If you can’t answer these questions or don’t have the information readily available, whether in your office or onsite then, keep reading so you can better be prepared before an accident occurs.

1. Job Briefing – Requiring all crews to hold a job briefing prior to commencing work is the best way to ensure an accident is handled appropriately. Of course the job briefing should outline the scope of work, but should also address what to do if an accident occurs. Who will call 911 and wait for the ambulance? Who will administer first aid? Are there any specific medical conditions that this crew may have? Where will an injured employee be taken? It is easy for this step to become monotonous at every job, so work with your team to stress the importance of this. 

2. Create Easy to Follow Steps – Within in truck, there should be an envelope or packet of information with easy to follow steps on what to do in case of an accident. Label this packet clearly with the following categories: Supervisor/Crew Leader; Injured Employee; Medical Provider. Under each category have no more than 5 steps to ensure everyone knows what to do immediately while still at the jobsite. 

3. Paperwork – Ensure all appropriate forms are readily accessible for all team members to complete at the jobsite. At a minimum, this should includes an Injury/Accident Report, Accident Analysis and Physical Capabilities forms. 

4. Post-Accident – Build an injury investigation process to analyze what happened and how it could be prevented in the future. Think about where the panic set in and procedures were not followed and strive to eliminate that stress during future accidents. 

ArboRisk’s mission is to get you and your employees home safe every day. That said, in the event of an accident, we also want to make sure that you’re in the best position possible to mitigate and minimize the damage to your employee and your company. Part of our Risk Management services includes an Accident Preparedness program that will help you to lay out the procedures in the event of an accident. For more information, please contact an ArboRisk team member today. 


Written by: Mick Kelly