Some jobs are inherently more dangerous than others. Still, regardless of where you work or what you do, you may eventually witness an on-the-job injury. In fact, the National Safety Council reports that a workplace injury occurs roughly every 7 seconds somewhere in the United States.

Injury scenes can be both chaotic and traumatizing. Nonetheless, what you do in the immediate aftermath of a job-related injury may have a tremendous effect on the health of your injured colleague and others in the area. Here are four steps to take if you witness a serious workplace injury: 

  1. Help your injured coworker 

Arguably, the most important thing to do after seeing a workplace injury is to help the injured person. While providing first aid may be necessary, you should always notify emergency responders after a serious accident. Of course, you must prioritize your personal safety. After all, two injured workers are worse than one. 

  1. Stop ongoing danger 

Depending on what caused the individual’s injury, there may be an ongoing threat to you, your coworkers, EMTs or others. As such, provided that you can do so safely, you should shut down machines or otherwise stop the immediate danger. 

  1. Document the injury scene 

After a serious accident, your employer should conduct a complete investigation. As a witness to the injury, you likely have relevant information. Therefore, while the incident is fresh in your mind, try to create a written record of what you observed. 

  1. Notify your employer 

Finally, if you have seen a serious injury at your job site, you should notify your employer as soon as possible. Your organization may have an official form for you to complete or may simply accept your verbal account.

What you do in the immediate aftermath of a workplace injury may make a meaningful difference. You must realize, however, that witnessing a traumatic event may cause you to sustain your own emotional injuries. Accordingly, after the injury scene is clear, you may need to seek treatment.