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Environmental incident toolbox talk

environmental incident toolbox talk photo

Toolbox talks about environmental incidents that can happen in a construction site.

What is an environmental incident?

An environmental incident is an event that is a departure from the standard operating conditions in an environment. Such an incident can impact human health and the environment. It can be a minor or major incident due to the outcome and its impact on the surroundings. An environmental incident can happen without announcing itself on a construction project. 

There are lots of Environmental incidents that can happen in the work environment. Those incidents are

  • Flooding.
  • Earthquakes.
  • Bushfires.
  • Heatwaves.
  • Leakage of fuel from the storage tank.
  • Overflowing out the fuel storage tank.
  • Escape of radioactive waste to the environment.

Why do we report environmental incidents?

Organisations make reports of any environmental incident for reference and the learning process. The report will show the containment given to the incident and the clean-up strategies or measures deployed against the incident. It will serve as a formal basis to inform other actors and those in charge of the environment about what went wrong and things to put in place to prevent recurrence.

Environmental incident report form.

It is a document to report environmental incidents in the work environment. Some organisation can design their own based on their requirements. Some companies also have an incident reporting policy that informs everyone on what to do and roles to play in the event of environmental incidents. Environmental incidents are serious matters requiring a formal report to conclude them whenever it happen. It also requires you to pen down valid points to be clear in your reporting. 

Elements in the environmental incident reporting form.

Some organisations choose the type of reporting format best suited for them depending on their peculiar activity and the nature of the environment. Some even make the form in digital format or on paper. However, no matter the format, some elements will be visible in the form. Those elements are

  • Time and date when the incident occurred.
  • Location of where the environmental incident happened.
  • The person who identified the incident.
  • What was the incident?
  • Steps to prevent future occurrences.
  • Who was notified about the incident?
  • Actions taken when the incident happened.
  • The author of the reports.
  • Where did the authorisation of the report come from?
  • Categorisation of this incident.

Control measures for environmental incidents.

  • Put adequate measures in place to handle all kinds of Environmental incidents and emergencies on site.
  • Educate the workforce on what to do during an Environmental incident.
  • If there are potential environmental incidents involving spillage of fuels, always provide spill kit environments.
  • Remove all contaminated soil and place them inside the sealed plastic drums.
  • At the chemical, water and fuel storage locations, ensure that you place a bund with a capacity of 110 % of the volume of the liquid in storage. 
  • Train your workers in all emergency procedures in the work environment. 


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