Accident/Incident Reporting & Investigations (for Supervisors)

Supervisors are responsible to report and investigate all accidents/incidents involving UBC workers (faculty, staff & student workers) or practicum students, and to submit a Preliminary Investigation Report within 48 hours (2 days) and complete a Full Investigation Report within 30 days in UBC’s Centralized Accident/Incident Reporting System (CAIRS).

If you are from the UBC Okanagan campus, please follow the procedures and report through UBCO Health, Safety and Environment.



What is a supervisor?

A supervisor is a person who instructs, directs and controls workers/staff in the performance of their duties (Occupational Health & Safety Regulation Part 1). This is referenced further in University Health and Safety Policy.

Therefore, any individual who assigns work activities is referred to as a supervisor by WorkSafeBC (even if it is not in your job title). This includes faculty members who hire research assistants or supervise student workers (including work learn students).

As a supervisor you are responsible for the safety of workers/staff under your supervision.

^ Back to Top

What is the purpose of an incident investigation?

An accident/incident investigation identifies any unsafe conditions, acts, or procedures that may have contributed to the injury/illness to the worker and prevents others from being injured in the same manner. Conducting an accident/incident investigation is required by Provincial Legislation such as the Workers Compensation Act.

Incident Investigations are objective fact-finding and information collection practices to correct/improve systems, and are not intended to assign blame/fault.

^ Back to Top

What is the supervisors role if an accident/incident occurs?

If an injury occurs to a UBC worker (faculty, staff, paid student/student worker or practicum/placement student), the supervisor must ensure that:

  1. If there has been a serious/life-threatening injury, major structural failure, major hazardous release, fire or explosion with the potential for serious/life-threatening injury, or otherwise required immediately reportable incident, you must contact 911 and Safety & Risk Services.
    • An emergency, disaster, accident or injury can occur at any time and without warning. Refer to emergency as well as non-emergency numbers at UBC to assist with getting to help as quickly as possible.
    • If a potentially traumatic critical incident has occurred, ensure emergency services have been contacted (911) and then contact Campus Security (604-822-2222) for further direction.
  1. The scene is safe or restricted until the hazard is removed or properly mitigated;
  2. The worker receives attention for any injuries according to Campus first aid procedures;
    • Note: UBC workplaces outside the Vancouver campus must have their own first aid procedures. As a supervisor you are required to ensure that workers know the procedures for obtaining first aid if they are at a location outside of the Vancouver campus.
  3. Conduct a preliminary investigation and submit the report in CAIRS within 48 hours (2 days);
  4. Encourage the worker to submit a CAIRS report as the injured/affected person.
    • If worker immediately departed the workplace to seek medical attention and missed time from work as a result of a work-related injury/illness, advise that they can start a WCB claim by calling the WorkSafeBC Teleclaim Contact Centre at 1.888.WORKERS (1.888.967.5377). They should also complete an incident/accident report at UBC CAIRS (Injured/Affected Person Incident Report).
  5. Investigate causes and undertake corrective actions to remove or mitigate future risk for injury/exposure in collaboration with applicable management and

Note: It is against the law to discourage or not report an injury or accident that has occurred in your workplace.
^ Back to Top

How do I get trained to perform an accident/incident investigation?

The Safety Supervision at UBC course is designed to introduce personnel to the UBC CAIRS as well as educate and train the individual on why investigations are important, when and what to investigate and most importantly how to investigate. The course takes approximately 30 min and requires a minimum 80% passing grade.

For additional in-person incident investigation practical training options, please contact Safety & Risk Services at or 604-822-2029. Examples of training services provided are, but not limited to:

  • Practical incident investigation and CAIRS documentation
  • Incident investigation reviews
  • CAIRS Workshops

^ Back to Top

How do I know if my employees are covered by WorkSafeBC?

Below is a list of people who are and are not covered through WorkSafeBC:

Covered by WorkSafeBC

  • UBC Staff;
  • UBC Faculty;
  • Paid students/Student-workers;
  • Practicum/Clinical Placement Students.

Not covered by WorkSafeBC

  • Unpaid UBC Students;
  • Visitors;
  • Residents;
  • Contractors.

For more information, you may contact UBC Workplace Health Services (HR).

^ Back to Top

How do I determine if the accident/incident must be immediately reported?

If the accident/incident falls within, or may fall within, any of the categories below, you must notify UBC Safety & Risk Services immediately after securing the scene and notifying necessary authorities:

  • Results in serious injury to or the death of a worker;
  • Involves a major structural failure or collapse of a building, bridge, tower, crane, hoist, temporary construction support system or excavation
  • Involves the major release of a hazardous substance;
  • Involves a fire or explosion that had potential for causing serious injury to a worker;
  • Is an incident required by the regulation to be reported such as diving-related incidents and blasting incidents.

Contact SRS immediately so they can work with you to report the accident/incident to WorkSafeBC. If the incident falls within any of the above categories and occurs during weekday working hours, contact SRS at 604-822-2029.

^ Back to Top

Who participates in the investigation?

It is the responsibility of the supervisor to conduct the investigation. There are various resources to assist with the investigation process, however as a supervisor, you have the knowledge, skill and ability to make changes in the workplace to rectify the hazards.

You can also get assistance from:

  • Local applicable management should participate in order to be aware of the incident and assist with the implementation of necessary changes and resources.
  • A worker representative of the Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee (JOHSC) and/or Local Safety Team (LST) who should also participate in the accident investigation.
  • Subject matter experts in Safety & Risk Services and across the University can assist, provide guidance and resources to ensure the investigation is thorough and meets the all regulatory requirements.
  • Any witnesses who saw or heard the incident.
  • The worker who was injured/affected by the incident.

^ Back to Top

What steps are required for the supervisor and investigation team to investigate an accident/incident?

There are two steps that must be followed during an accident/incident investigation: Preliminary Investigation Report; and Full Investigation Report.

Resources to assist with the incident investigation steps:

Preliminary Investigation and Corrective Actions

The preliminary investigation and corrective actions must be completed within 48 hours after the incident. It helps to ensure that work in the accident/incident area can continue and be done safely during the interim period between the incident and the conclusion of the full investigation. The general practice is:

  1. If reasonably available, seek assistance from a worker representative from the Local Safety Team (LST), Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee (JOHSC) or a worker familiar with the type of work that is performed by the injured worker (not a supervisor);
  2. Visit the accident/incident site;
  3. Interview the injured worker;
    • Identify significant events that led up to the incident (note; this may include previous days);
    • Include relevant events that followed the incident, such as first aid;
    • Include dates and time, as able.
    • Don’t include things that should have happened but did not (for example, worker did not use hand rail; worker should have asked for help, but did not);
    • Analyze the sequence of events and ask why each event happened;
    • Describe any unsafe conditions, acts, or procedures;
    • Consider possible work/task system problems such as training, equipment maintenance, standard work procedures and environmental conditions.
  4. Interview witnesses;
  5. Develop interim corrective actions to ensure the accident scene is safe and the hazard has been properly mitigated or removed.
    • Describe the corrective action required and identify the person responsible and the date for completion.
    • Work cannot resume in the accident/incident area unless steps have been completed to mitigate or remove the hazard.
  6. If the entire investigation and corrective actions have been completed during the preliminary investigation, it will be considered as the full investigation will be submitted to WorkSafeBC 30 days after the date of occurrence).

Full Investigation and Corrective Actions

The full investigation and corrective action plan builds upon the Preliminary Investigation Report, and must be completed within 30 days after the incident.

In the full investigation, you must determine the causes of the incident and identify corrections to prevent recurrence of similar incidents or as opportunities for improvement.

Causes could include underlying problems with supervision, training, preventative maintenance, work spaces, or other management systems.

Corrective actions should look to fix identified causes and factors with work systems/tasks (not the individual worker). They should typically be specific and realistic in action and accountability. Actions should generally be undertaken by those with the ability to make changes to the workplace. Note: Actions must be undertaken without undue delay. It is recommended to follow the Hierarchy of Controls for developing corrective actions:

Elimination/Substitution Remove the hazard from the work site or replace the hazardous material and/or equipment with less hazardous ones
Engineering Controls Introducing designs or modifications to buildings, equipment, ventilation systems, and/or process to reduce exposure levels
Administrative Controls Introducing policies, guidelines, safe operating procedures and/or exposure control plans
Personal Protective Equipment Introducing gloves, respirators, hearing protection, lab coats, and/or steel toed shoes

Where this cannot be completed within 30 days of the incident, contact Safety & Risk Services ahead of time at 604-822-2029 to assist with requesting an extension from WorkSafeBC. You will be asked to submit a plan with projected completion dates.

Lastly, be sure to follow up and update the investigation report (in CAIRS) to indicate that the corrective actions are completed, and continue to evaluate those actions in operation for effectiveness.

^ Back to Top