Division Title
Safety

Injury & Illness Investigation

​When a work-related injury or illness occurs it is important that we investigate why it happened so we can suggest changes to prevent a similar incident from happening again. Most injuries and illnesses are preventable. The purpose of our investigation is not to assign blame, but to identify contributing factors which can then be controlled. Similar incidents can be avoided in the future by identifying the factors that led to the incident and then changing the conditions or actions.


Select one of the links below for more information:


What Happens If I Report A Work-Related Incident?

Our Illness & Injury Investigation Reporting Process

Workplace Injury and Illness Trend Analysis

What Happens If I Report A Work-Related Incident?

At the NIH, when you report to the Occupational Medical Service (OMS) that you had a work-related incident that resulted in an injury or illness, the basic facts (who, what, when, and where) are shared with specific individuals in our organization who review each incident and try to determine the why and how – why it happened and how to stop it from happening again. Most incidents are investigated either by your supervisor, us or both.  The information is shared only with those with a need-to-know, maintaining your confidentiality while still meeting workers compensation and OSHA requirements. If you are a contractor, we work with your management to ensure that your employer investigates and addresses concerns within their control. 

 

Occasionally very minor incidents may not be investigated because there is no likely learning opportunity, such as a paper cut in an office or an insect sting when eating lunch outdoors.


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Our Illness & Injury Investigation Reporting Process

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) established a reporting process for each employer to collect the injury/illness data and share it with workers. Each injury or illness is assessed and documented in these ways: 

  • Is the incident recordable according to OSHA requirements? This is intended to identify only more serious incidents and not the ‘first aid’ type of incidents.

  • Does the incident require submission to the Department of Labor for Workers Compensation? This is true if the worker cannot do their regular job for any period of time, or if the injury requires medical treatment beyond what OMS provides. In these cases OMS submits the proper forms on behalf of the worker and the supervisor.

To maintain the right to receive compensation for a work-related injury or illness it is essential that you report the injury/illness to OMS promptly, to complete the employee portions of the report and for your supervisor to complete their portions of the report and send it back to OMS within a few days. If the incident happens on the main campus, you should report to OMS at Building 10, Room 6C306. If the injury occurs when OMS is closed, you are at a distant location, or if the injury is severe enough to require transport to a hospital, then you or your supervisor must notify OMS as quickly as possible to help ensure proper medical treatment, incident investigation, and filing with workers compensation.

 

Each year from February 1 to April 30 each employer has to share certain injury/illness information with employees. At the NIH, the data is posted on our website categorized by work location, as required by OSHA. 

 

Summaries of work-related injuries and illnesses are shared with Institute/Center Safety Committees so that they may help identify trends and establish processes to prevent recurrence, and to share the learning opportunities more widely. Data or summaries are always modified so that personal identifiers are NOT associated with a report.

 

We use several mechanisms to identify trends and establish programs to attempt to reduce future incidents.  Your IC Safety and Health Specialist is the best starting place to get this information. We also prepare a Workplace Injury and Illness Trend Analysis.


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Workplace Injury and Illness Trend Analysis

Our Workplace Injury and Illness Trend Analysis Program strives to identify unhealthy behaviors or hazardous conditions by tracking work-related injuries and illnesses. This information is used to target occupational health and safety education activities to prevent or reduce future employee work-related injuries and illnesses. Workplace Injury and Illness Trend Analysis includes the following:

  • Tracking and monitoring workplace injuries and illnesses on an on-going basis.

  • Grouping injuries and illnesses by nature, body part affected, event or exposure, source, etc.

  • Determining if any trends in workplace injuries or illnesses exist and graphing those trends if possible.

  • Identifying any equipment, materials, or environmental factors that may be commonly involved in workplace injury or illness incidents.

  • Identifying possible solutions and suggesting improvements to reduce or prevent the likelihood of future workplace injuries or illnesses.

To find out how we can help you improve healthy behaviors, eliminate hazardous conditions and prevent or reduce employee work-related injuries and illnesses, contact your Safety and Health Specialist or our Chief, Community Health Branch at (301) 496-2960.


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