Importance of a Safety Incident Investigation Procedure and Care Management Process

An incident occurs, a significant near miss or actual injury, and the response is lacking, or even chaotic. Not knowing who calls for assistance, provides immediate care, or begins the investigation process can be frustrating. At worse, lack of adequate response can worsen the incident. A defined, detailed process will increase response certainty, and properly care for those impacted. A well-documented and communicated Safety Incident Investigation Procedure and Care Management Process contains several key components.

Safety Incident Reporting

Incident reporting can be a significant challenge on the manufacturing floor. At Milliken plants, associates willingly report all incidents, near misses, first aids, and injuries. Trust is a significant factor toin that practice. With each reported incident, associates trust that it will be thoroughly investigated and quickly pursued. The response from the safety committee and management demonstrates that every incident has the chance to impact a valued associate. With that assurance, associates continue to report incidents.

Safety Incident First Response

The first moments of an incident are most critical. In the case of an injury, the immediate response can minimize the long-term impact and speed recovery. In the case of a non-injury incident, the quick response can reduce the chance of potential injury. At Milliken, the first response is clearly defined, properly trained, and repeatedly rehearsed. The ‘what, where, when’ is set for all who have responsibility during the critical first moments of an incident with the associate care and well-being as the highest priority.

Safety Incident Investigation Process

Our incident investigation process is defined with an easy to understand flow chart. Each step has an owner, typical participants, and an expected time frame to complete. The investigation begins immediately after the injured is cared for and the area is secured. Pictures are taken, interviews are conducted, and data is collected in order to gather information about the incident. The entire process is a collaboration between hourly associates, supervisors, and managers. They work together through a root cause analysis, such as 5-Why or fishbone, to truly understand why the incident occurred. As potential solutions are developed a Countermeasure ladder encourages the investigative teams to explore options until the best solution is found. While all solutions are considered some are more likely to prevent incident re-occurrence. The investigation teams learn that even though simple may be easier, it doesn’t mean it is always the right solution.

Manage an Incident with Care Administration

The first moment of care is critical to the associate. The care also extends into the next hours, days, and sometimes weeks. At Milliken, we have found that the proper care administration can help recovery and speed return to work. The foundation tof effective care administration is built on trust. Long before an associate is involved in an incident, they should be confident that everyone has their health and well-being as the highest priority. The trust is demonstrated through associate led investigation processes, incident transparency, and thorough communication. Along with a foundation of trust with associates, a good relationship with health care providers are essential to effective care administration. Decisions along the health care chain can significantly prolong recovery and the ability to get back to work. In our experience, an excellent relationship with associates, their families, and the health care professionals is helpful to lay out a quality care plan that considers recovery and the ability to return to work. The ultimate goal for the associate is full recovery and return to their work families.

At Milliken, we strive to continuously improve manufacturing safety performance and eliminate safety incidents. However, when they occur, we have a defined care management process that puts the associate at the center.

Read More: 9 Manufacturing Safety Tips

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