Accidents Happen—An Immediate Action Plan

Steps you need to take immediately after a significant incident

When an accident or serious adverse event occurs in your facility, you want to know how it occurred, the root cause analysis (RCA) findings, whether the incident must be reported, and how to prevent recurrence. ECRI has five important steps to take after every significant incident.

  1. Take emergency measures to minimize and care for injury, discomfort, and threat to life of patients or personnel (e.g., thermal burns, electric shock, contusions, lacerations, fractures, cardiac arrhythmias, interruption of normal respiration, loss of consciousness).
  2. Take appropriate action to minimize damage to equipment and the environment.
  3. Notify the attending clinician who has legal responsibility for the patient, and impound all equipment attached or contiguous to the injured party.
  4. Do not disconnect or change the relative physical positions of equipment or connecting cables, except as absolutely necessary to avoid further injury or damage.
  5. Retain and preserve any disposable products and packing materials that may have been involved (e.g., drapes, electrodes).

Immediate Action Poster

Display this poster throughout your facility so you and your staff know what to do when an accident occurs.