No matter how carefully we plan, near misses, accidents and incidents happen in the workplace. When employees observe these, it is important that the necessary information flows seamlessly between different people, teams, and functions. This will allow your organisation to use the information to your advantage.
By recording incidents and near misses, you can learn from your failures, develop best practices and mitigate future risks. Simply put, cross-team communication is the key to effective incident reporting in the workplace.
Clear Communication and Instructions
No matter how sophisticated your incident reporting system is, it is useless unless employees know how to use it. Another hurdle is having multiple channels across your organisation. Information can easily get lost and it may not be clear as to who should resolve the issue and how.
Begin with clear communication. Give your employees easy instructions on how and where they need to report incidents. Having a single, easy-to-use reporting and communication channel in place will help, as people don't then have to guess where they should report their findings regardless of their role or department.
It is also essential to implement an easy way to assign follow-up actions to the right people across the whole organisation. It may even be best to implement an automatic follow-up procedure, that allocates tasks based on the nature and location of the observation.
If you clarify the bigger picture to employees, it might motivate reporting and providing fresh ideas. If employees understand why there is a need to report incidents, they will be more likely to do so.
Explaining the why and lowering the threshold of reporting will signal to employees that you are prioritising safety, and so should they. This will help increase your organisation's safety culture.
You should not confine the information about an incident to the reporter and the person to whom they are reporting. The whole process should be transparent - from the initial report through to follow-up actions and the resolution. This ensures that the person who reported the incident can see what the organisation is doing to resolve the problem.
You should make sure that employees throughout the organisation can learn about the problems others are facing. This will also decrease the chances of an incident being reported more than once. In turn, it will both reduce the amount of time spent on reporting the same incidents and increase the amount of learning that can be had from mistakes.
By saving time, employees can spend more time collaborating and fixing existing problems. By having more clarity, they can also implement best practices from other organisational functions into their own daily work and processes to prevent a similar incident from occurring.
Use an Incident Reporting Platform
If you are interested in improving cross-team communication around health, safety, environment and quality (HSEQ) matters, we recommend incy.io. It allows fully customisable incident categories to fit the needs of every person, team and function.
It does so by lowering costs and being easy to manage, with people always knowing where to report incidents.
You can assign responsible people to incidents both automatically and manually. It also supports integrations (e.g. to insurance companies for automated claims) to boost performance and reduce manual work even further.
Cross-team communication is essential to effective incident reporting and improving this does not have to be difficult. It all starts from clear communication and instructions which lead to more transparency. The final step is to find an incident reporting platform that supports the process and enables your organisation as a whole to better learn from mistakes.
Incy.io helps you to improve cross-team communication around incidents by making it easier to report and have a transparent dialogue around different areas of your business. Interested to hear more? Book a demo or start a 30-Days FREE Trial to see how it can help your organisation:
We're a tech company with a passion for helping our customers adapt to the fast changing VUCA world. We're doing that by developing easy-to-use SaaS products that make gathering, managing and analysing field information as easy as possible for the end users. Remove gatekeepers, go horizontal and learn from your mistakes before they actually happen. More info at planbrothers.io