Safety Incident Procedures                                                         Updated: July, 2016                  



A safety incident is any situation that could have or did lead to injury or loss.  An accident is a type of incident where injury or loss occurred.  The important difference is that Incidents include “near misses” and “encountering unsafe conditions.”  While learning from accidents is important so they are not repeated, learning from near-misses and resolving unsafe conditions helps us prevent accidents before they occur.  Incident response, reporting, investigation, analysis and sharing is the process of preventing accidents, maintaining awareness and keeping everyone safe.    


These procedures apply to every employee, supervisor and senior official.  Individuals may have different responsibilities throughout the process, but the end products, the lessons learned, are shared with everyone.  Safety is part of everyone’s job.  

Incident Response

The first priority after an incident is life safety.  Immediately secure the area, removing or isolating hazards so no one gets hurt.  In case of injury, treat with first aid and get medical attention if necessary.  Document details of the incident.  Write down what happened and ask any witnesses to do the same.  Record details with pictures when possible.  If there are injuries requiring medical attention, or loss over $500, the Supervisor, HR Director, and Safety Coordinator should be notified as soon as possible.

Incident Report

Incident reports are used to document any unsafe condition, near-miss, or accident.  Any employee can and should fill out an incident report which is then given to their supervisor to complete and turn into Human Resources and/or the Safety Officer.  The corrective actions section of the incident report provides a system to track necessary changes designed to minimize the risk of future accidents. 

Accident Investigation

When an accident occurs it is an indication that something has gone wrong.  Accidents do not just happen, they are caused.  The accident investigation is the process of determining causes so they can be eliminated or controlled, thereby preventing future accidents.  Cause is determined by collecting information and evidence, or the Four P’s: Position, People, Parts and Paper.

Position – This relates to the position of the people, equipment, materials and the rest of the environment that existed when the accident occurred.  Photographs or sketches are helpful in preserving this information.

People – Witnesses are people who know something about what happened.  Some are eyewitnesses who saw the accident happen.  Others may be people who designed facilities, ordered materials or conducted training.  The interview is the primary tool for collecting information from people. 

Parts – This type of information involves the tools, equipment and materials people were using.  Look for potential part failures and ensure suspect parts are preserved as evidence. 

Paper – This type of evidence includes documents such as: training records, maintenance logs, schedules, and job procedures.  

Important considerations:

  • Every accident has at least one cause.  Carelessness is not a cause, but is often the result of some deficiency. 
  • Investigations are not to find fault or place blame, they are to find causes or the facts behind how and why an accident occurred. 
  • Most accidents result from a combination of human error and physical hazard.  Do not overlook the possibility of multiple causes. 
  • The accident investigation should be conducted as soon as possible so the facts are fresh in the minds of those involved.

Incident Analysis and Sharing

The documentation provided by Incident Reports and Accident Investigations must be analyzed to determine and understand immediate and root causes.   The immediate causes are the acts and conditions that directly preceded and contributed to the incident.  Root causes are the underlying reasons why the immediate causes existed.  For example, a motor vehicle accident may have a faulty brake system as an immediate cause.  The root cause of the faulty brake system could have been neglected maintenance or inadequate inspections. 

Sharing is the critical last step in Incident/Accident prevention.  The most significant common factor to almost all accidents is the belief – “It won’t happen to me.”  This false sense of security is often supported by thoughts such as – “In all my years, doing xyz, I have never seen or heard of anyone….”  We assess our personal risk based on our personal experiences.  By sharing information about unsafe conditions, near misses and accidents on the job in Park County; we can expand our awareness of personal risk and reduce workplace accidents. 

Look for safety incident information in the safety folder on the county server’s p: drive under Lesson’s Learned. 


We all have an important role in maintaining a safe work environment.  Personal responsibility for removing immediate hazards, reporting unsafe conditions, near misses and accidents minimizes the risks for all employees and the public.  The process of discovering, correcting and sharing root causes of accidents will prevent personal suffering, improve our ability to serve the public, and see us all home safe and well at the end of our shift. 

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