In the Diploma of OHS course you will learn the following techniques for securing an unsafe site in the workplace in NSW.
Once the unsafe work area has been checked and people have been cared for, it is necessary to ensure that the integrity of the site and safety of personnel is established and maintained in accordance with legal requirements. This requires that the site not only has to be safe, but should also be secured to avoid possible alterations to the scene.
This must be done because:
It may be a legal requirement to notify a regulatory authority. If so, an investigation conducted by the regulator may follow depending upon the nature of the incident.
In NSW for example, in certain circumstances, the site of an unsafe occurrence is not to be disturbed for a period of 36 hours pending an investigation by the regulatory authority.
This is referred to as a ‘non disturbance occurrence’* and may include: injuries resulting in amputation, loss of consciousness, major damage to plant and equipment, uncontrolled fire and explosion.
Evidence is preserved in order to ensure that the gathering of information is not complicated by unnecessary alterations to the scene. Retaining the incident scene as close as possible to what it was prior to the incident helps the investigator to maintain objectivity.
Secure the Unsafe Site
In securing the unsafe work site, the following actions need to be taken:
Close off the area. The area is to be physically barricaded or marked as a “no go” zone. This can be done using barriers or special purpose tape. You need to make sure that you have not created any new hazards in this process. For example, by blocking off the area are you forcing people into an area which is also unsafe?
Relevant personnel are identified. Where people have been harmed or injured, a record must be made of injuries or illnesses that have been observed. Witnesses and others who may be able to assist in describing the events that led to the incident must also be identified and their details recorded.
Evidence is protected. Ensure that any items of plant, substances or work procedures are secured. This is done to prevent evidence from being removed or altered. Where relevant it may be necessary to identify samples of equipment and substances that could have a bearing on the investigation.
However, it is important that where a formal investigation is to be conducted by a regulatory authority, such evidence is not disturbed until the investigating officer has given approval for such samples to be collected.
Conditions are observed and noted. This may include a notation of any obvious damage to plant, equipment or premises as well as underlying environmental conditions such as temperature, wind, dust or odours.
Remember: Site integrity is a preliminary action. Keeping the site free of alteration will assist the investigation process. If the site conditions can be preserved as closely as possible to the conditions that prevailed at the time of the incident, the investigation team will be better positioned to understand what occurred.
LMIT delivers the Certificate IV in OHS and the Diploma in Occupational Health & Safety Completely Online in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra
Published by: LMIT