Health & Safety Resources Site
Engineering Physics and CEDT

Incident Reports

Three scenarios...

You're working with HF acid. A bottle is knocked over and spills a small puddle of acid on:
  1. the floor of the lab space;
  2. your protective glove;
  3. your unprotected skin, just above your glove and below your lab coat.
Which of these cases would be considered an "incident?"

The answer is that each of the three scenarios are, in fact, considered incidents. Each case requires follow-up.

What should I do next?
  1. Case c: Wash the acid off skin and immediately apply calcium gluconate gel. Tell supervisor. Immediately seek professional medical attention. The risk of complications is very serious and very real.
    Case b: Wash the acid off the glove, then remove and dispose of the gloves.
    Case a: Secure the spill area so no one else is at risk.
  2. Inform the lab supervisor, and if necessary, assist them with clean up.
  3. Make sure that the supervisor files an incident report.

An "incident" refers to any accident or injury, or to any situation that could potentially lead to an accident or injury.

In the event of an incident, all employees are required to inform their supervisor so that an "incident report" can be filed.

Reports are to be filled out within 24 hours of an incident, either by a worker directly involved in the incident, a worker witness to the incident, or a supervisor of the workplace in which the incident occured.

Note that certain serious injuries fall under the definition of a "critical injury." In the event of a critical injury, the supervisor must immediately notify EOHSS and ensure that the scene of the incident remains undisturbed until formally inspected.

Why fill out an incident report?

Incident reports serve a number of purposes. Foremost, they provide a record of the incident so that, in the event of claims or lost work-time, appropriate benefits and compensation can be provided. As well, incident reports may help to identify specific hazards or trends that could otherwise escape detection, providing motivation to have the situation remedied.

Incident reports should be filed for any physical injury, no matter how apparently insignificant.

Incident report forms can be downloaded here.