Chapter 21: Incident Reporting and Investigation

Revised January 2023

Incident Reporting

Laboratory workers are to report all occupational injuries or illnesses (or exposure) to their supervisor as soon as practical. Employees are also encouraged to report “near misses” as they are considered a precursor to actual incidents. To encourage reporting of incidents, including near misses, the EH&S “Incident, Near-Miss and Safety Concern Reporting” web form can be used.

  • All incidents involving occupational injury or illness should be reported to Business Center North Workers’ Compensation Office (BCN) at (775) 784-6082.
    • Affected personnel should complete a C-1 form, which they submit to their supervisor. The C-1 form is routed through the employee’s department to the Worker’s Compensation Office.
    • There are many reasons why it is to the employee’s advantage to file a worker’s compensation claim for occupational injuries or illnesses. For more information, contact the BCN Workers’ Compensation web site, which has links to information documents and contact information.
  • Student (non-employee) injuries or hazardous materials exposure incidents should be reported to the BCN Risk Management Office.
  • All incidents that result in personnel illness or injury, or facility or instrument damage must also be reported to EH&S at (775) 327-5040 as soon as practical.

Incident Investigation

All laboratory incidents and “near misses” should be investigated. The goal of the investigation should be to gather information that can be used to prevent a similar type of incident in the future, not to find fault or place blame.

The laboratory supervisor is normally responsible for investigating the incident and submitting a report of their findings to EH&S. In some cases EH&S will lead the investigation of the incident. This will typically occur if the incident involves significant personnel injury or hazardous materials exposure, spill or release of hazardous materials, or regulatory or media attention.

Investigations should be conducted as soon as practical. Personnel who witnessed the incident or who have special knowledge of the circumstances of the incident should be included in the investigation. The supervisor conducting the investigation is responsible for requesting assistance from other University groups (EH&S, Facilities Services, etc.) as needed to conduct a thorough investigation. Facts related to the incident, personnel statements, and other pertinent information should be documented and included in the investigation file.

The laboratory supervisor must complete and submit a Supervisor Accident/Injury/Incident Investigation Report form to the BCN Risk Management Office. A copy of this form and any attachments should also be sent to EH&S.

The Supervisor Accident/Injury/Incident Investigation Report form often does not contain sufficient information to indicate the root cause of the incident or sufficient corrective action to prevent a repeat incident. In these cases, the Chemical Hygiene Officer will ask the laboratory supervisor to conduct a thorough investigation and to submit an investigation report that includes the following information.

  • Description of the incident that includes the work that was being performed, safety procedures and precautions implemented at the time of the incident, personal protective equipment worn at the time of the incident, and any other circumstances pertinent to the incident.
  • Immediate response actions.
  • Any additional or follow up response actions (for example, medical care, hazardous material clean up, etc.).
  • Direct cause(s) of the incident.
  • Root cause(s) of the incident (what led to the direct cause(s)?).
  • Proposed corrective actions to address the direct and root cause(s) and prevent a similar incident from occurring.
  • Completion dates for proposed corrective actions.

For other than minor incidents, the incident report and associated information will be reviewed by the university Laboratory Safety Committee. That committee can ask for additional information or corrective action as it feels is appropriate.

Additional Information

Chapter 22: Recordkeeping