Report It - Health & Safety for Your Small Businesses: Let’s Make This Easier

Sep 30, 2015

The unthinkable has happened. A worker, customer, supplier or guest has been critically injured on your premises. What do you do?

"Report it" is the fifth of six steps to an effective health and safety program, designed by our trusted health and safety provider, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS).

In the event of a critical injury or fatality, the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) requires you to first address the needs of the person who has been injured, then swiftly report the incident to both the Ministry of Labour (MOL) and the Workers Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

Good reporting and follow-up will ultimately make things easier for the injured party and enable the transition back to work, smooth your relationship with government representatives, and save money in workers' compensation costs.

The MOL defines a critical injury as one of a serious nature that

  • places life in jeopardy
  • produces unconsciousness
  • results in substantial loss of blood
  • involves the fracture of a leg or arm but not a finger or toe
  • involves the amputation of a leg, arm, hand or foot but not a finger or toe
  • consists of burns to a major portion of the body
  • causes the loss of sight in an eye.

First-aid injuries, meanwhile, are minor cuts, scrapes and scratches that require cleaning and the application of bandages, dressings or splints, as needed. You don't need to report first-aid injuries (i.e. the WSIB Form 7), but you must keep a record of them.

What to do in the event of a critical injury

Put the injured person first

Your first priority is to assist the injured person. If medical aid is required, call 911 and accompany the injured person to Emergency. Make a record of the incident and the first aid given.

Secure the scene

Do not disturb, destroy, alter or remove anything from a scene where a critical injury or death occurs, except for the purpose of saving a life or relieving suffering. Leave equipment, spills and wreckage as they are. The MOL or police will tell you when it is okay to clean up.

"Employers will often clean up the debris, putting fallen boxes back on the shelf, fixing something that was broken, moving the lift truck," says Paul Mansfield, Account Manager at WSPS, "but this is against the law. You are interfering with the investigation process. The MOL wants to see everything just as it happened."

Immediately call the MOL Health and Safety Contact Centre

Call or fax anytime of the day or night to report critical injuries or fatalities:
Toll-free: 1-877-202-0008
TTY: 1-855-653-9260
Fax: 905-577-1316

Immediately notify your staff representatives

Advise your joint health and safety committee, or health and safety representative, and the union, if there is one, by telephone or other direct means.

Within 48 hours, contact a MOL director

The employer must also notify, in writing, a director of the Ministry of Labour, giving the circumstances of the incident.

"A big pitfall for employers is rushing someone to hospital and thinking they reported the incident through Emerg," says Mansfield. "Emergency will always ask if the injury is work-related, but the reason for that is to determine which of two ways they will be paid: OHIP or WSIB. The worst thing businesses can do is to fail to report the injury to MOL themselves, or to assume the injury isn't critical. Report immediately, and err on the side of caution by assuming the injury is critical."

Conduct an investigation

Documentation useful in an investigation includes written notes, tape recordings, photographs, test results. Address the who, where, when, how, why and what of the incident. Describe the weather, light, and noise conditions, and sequence of events. After completing the accident investigation, analyze the findings to determine contributing factors and root causes, and choose a course of action (e.g. introduce or revise a hazard control).

The employer must provide a corrective action plan or reasons why the recommendations cannot be undertaken within 21 days of receiving the report.

You'll find helpful links and downloads in the WSPS Roadmap for Small Business.

Within three calendar days, report to the WSIB

Three calendar days after an employer learns that a worker requires health care, and/or is absent from regular work, the employer must complete a Form 7 and send it by mail or fax, and the WSIB must receive the completed form within seven business days. Another option is to use the WSIB e-Form7 (more information at search on "eform7").

Within four days, in the event of occupational illness…

Within four days, an employer who learns that a worker has an occupational illness, or that a claim for such has been filed with the WSIB, must notify, in writing, a MOL director, the JHSC or health and safety representative, and the union, if there is one.

A snapshot of key requirements

Here is the salient information in a handy chart:

Type of Incident Report to whom By when
Close call or first aid No requirement: keep record No requirement
Medical aid (requires medical attention) WSIB on form 7 3 days
Lost time injury WSIB on form 7 3 days
Critical injury or fatality
  • MOL: call
  • MOL Director: in writing
  • WSIB: Form 7
  • Immediately
  • 48 hours
  • 3 days
Occupational illness
  • WSIB: Form 7
  • MOL Director
  • 4 days
  • 4 days

N.B. You must also inform your health and safety representative or JHSC, and your union rep, as applicable.

Let's make this easier

You deserve to be on the simplest, fastest path to a healthy, safe and productive workforce. Check out all six steps to an effective health and safety program in the "Roadmap," "How-To Guide," and other resources offered on the WSPS Small Business Safety Made Easy, and find out how to get it, do it, write it down, watch for it, report it, and find it.