This assignment asks to investigate an incident at work focussing on risk identification and assessment. The investigative tool that was used was downloaded from the WorkCover website and was found in their 'Subby Pack'. The incident investigated involved a co-worker who hurt her back trying to move stacked chairs to set up a room for an activity only recently and as such all the details are still fresh in everyone's mind.
1. Incident investigation tool The incident investigation tool was downloaded from the WorkCover website and was found in their 'XXXX XXXX' in their publications area. I selected this form for a number of reasons: It is a XXXXX recommended form and as such should be acceptable to them if an inspector calls to look at our documentation for an audit or investigation of incidents at our workplace. The form involves a number of people in the investigation who have the power and expertise to act on the circumstances detailed in the form to ensure it does not happen again. It is a xxxxx form in that it has sections on it that can be filled in some time after the incident to ensure the completed picture can be seen by anyone picking up the form at a later date to see how the issues that caused the incident have been addressed. It is xxxx xxx by all relevant parties which means that no one can avoid taking action and/or their responsibilities. Even though there is an area on the form mentioning trade qualifications I like to think that we can easily amend the form to reflect our circumstances. The form was easy to read, understand and complete. The code number areas in the form allow for workers compensation code numbers to be entered which means that we can keep our own statistics on incidents if we had a HRIS or access to our Workers Compensation Insurers computer system.
2. Incident report The lead-up events prior to the incident occurring Setting up rooms for activities for the children are undertaken a number of times a day and involve different pieces of furniture and equipment. On this occasion Kim was getting out the chairs from the furniture cupboard ready for some individual cutting and pasting onto cardboard. Kim: Was aware that it was the first indoor activity of the day and the room was clean and clear of obstructions. Opened the door (a rather large door) and bent down to get out a stack of children's chairs ready to put them with their desks. What actually happened during the incident As Kim grabbed the chairs to slide/pull them out of the cupboard (while bending) she felt a sharp pain in her lower back and she was unable to straighten up and screamed due to the pain. There was nothing blocking the chairs from coming out, nothing fell on her or near her and nothing distracted her from these normal duties. It is assumed that she was not in the best manual handling position to engage in this activity however she and we have done this duty hundreds of times before without incident and are at a loss to understand how she came to be injured except that it may well have just been some individual physical problem or weakness she was experiencing at the time. The events immediately following incident occurrence Immediately I asked the other childcare worker to take charge of the children while I assisted Kim. I offered her first aid while supporting her in her stooped position. We walked gently to the office chair where I sat her down. I immediately heated up the heat pack from the first aid kit in the microwave and she positioned it directly over the painful area. As she couldn't move I rang the local doctor (only a few doors away) who came down almost immediately and he tended to her. She was given a prescription for painkillers and anti-inflammatory and after a while her mobility returned. While she was sitting there we discussed what happened and I filled out the workers compensation form, both hers and the Centre's and she signed her claim form on the spot. I telephoned her husband to come and collect her and informed him of the events. I then went in and helped the other member of staff finish setting up the room and we commenced the children's activities.
3. Analyse this incident to identify hazards and prevent re-occurrence. After reading the TAFE learner guide and the text it appears that we have broken the most fundamental rules of OH&S and not conducted some of the basic processes required under the OH&S Act 2000 and Regulation 2001. For example: We had not conducted a XXXXX in regards to this activity. We had taken for granted the process and not thought that a manual handling injury might occur in these circumstances when clearly we should have.
With no XXXXX there was no XXXXXX using a tool such as the XXXXX so that we could assess the likelihood of injury and the severity of injury.
Again with no identification and assessment the 'XXXXXX' was not used to avoid potential incidents.
Due to the above we did not have a XXXXXX for this activity or thought about alternatives and aids to undertake this job and as such no one knew the technically correct method of sliding the chairs out. More generally speaking it highlighted that we did not have a XXXXXX approach to OH&S we just reacted to incidents rather than having in place a process and XXXXX that anticipates workplace incidents and takes action before they happen.
Preventing re-occurrence is a bit easier after having seen an incident and then thought through similar scenarios. We then:
Conducted a thorough XXXXXX and XXXXXX of all XXXXXX in the Centre. We identified xxxxx, xxxxx, xxxxx, xxxxxx, xxxxxxx, xxxxxx, putting xxxx and passing activities (including dancing, lifting and assisting children, outdoor play activities, toileting, children's rest periods and the like) as being a potential hazard. We then assessed the xxxxxx of injury and xxxxxxx based on our understanding and experience. We then xxxxxx the hazards for budget and action purposes. Then we called in the local council OH&S officer (who had a child at the centre) and he advised that there were many mechanical aids available to suit circumstances such as ours and he provided brochures of suppliers of such equipment. The staff then selected a xxxxxx which could be height adjusted (by foot pump) and would fit into the furniture cupboard and the decision was taken to store the furniture on the xxxxxx all the time to save extra manual handling. We then developed a xxxxxx for this and other manual handling activities. The Centre Director also agreed to a manual handling xxxxxx being run for staff (by a local physiotherapist) who has developed a xxxxx to show how human differences, exposure to risk and consequences can all be covered in workplaces. This also reflects the requirements of the OHS Act 2000 and the xxxxxx Code of Practice to tailor solutions to the individual needs of people and the organisation. We have also agreed that manual handling activities may require more than one person sometimes and that staff must assist one another when manual handling needs to be undertaken. Resources are not included in this example answer as they are left to the student to find appropriate resource sources to suit their answer's content. Conclusion As the incident investigation form shows the workers compensation claims estimate was $10,000 (quite modest they tell me) for Kim's accident yet the xxxxx that could have avoided this expense and her pain only cost a few hundred dollars. This is wisdom in hindsight but the experience has shown how important it is to have system in place that complies with OH&S Act 2000 and also results in a good system that attempts to protect the OH&S of staff.