This blog post has been originally published in April 2016.
Incidents and observations come in many types: safety incidents and accidents, near misses, environmental observations, IT security incidents, claims and flaws in facility or in work environment. Most of us are aware when we see something out of condition and the most thoughtful of us even do the work to fix it, which we call corrective action process. Why is it then not enough to just force everyone in the organisation to correct the faults and defects they notice and pay reward and recognition for it?
Here are seven reasons why incident and observation reporting is indispensable whether you are a small-sized company or a global player!
1. Minor incidents and observations help to find out why serious incidents do not occur
Most incident report forms identify the barriers that prevent adverse situations from developing into a major accident or disaster. On a large scale this might mean the avoidance of environmental disaster such as The Talvivaara case or just a line between life and death of an employee. On a smaller scale we talk about observations that mitigate issues such as occupational diseases or discomforts or just waste.
The insights that are collected are very important. They help safety, security, environmental, quality and facility managers to identify where additional support is required in order to guarantee that no major incidents happen.
2. Minor incidents and observations mean more data to analyse
And it’s not just the amount of observation but also the frequency of them that permit the quantitative analysis. Accidents many times begin and develop from atypical occasions. Thus they themselves provide relatively little information about the possibility of future incidents. In contrast, the more and the higher frequency of incidents, the greater insights they give of human error, systems failure, site comparisons, regulatory weaknesses etc.
3. Incidents and observations keep us aware
They provide a reminder of possible hazards. Reporting them provide a way to monitor potential problems and root causes as they recur. The documentation of these problems and root causes increases the likelihood that repeating failures will be noticed and corrected before they develop to more serious incidents.
4. Feedback from incidents keep the observers aboard
Incident reporting provides a way to encourage employee participation in improvement whether it’s about safety, quality, environmental or security. Everyone can see that their concerns are treated seriously and are acted upon by the organisation. In the end the culture of improvement can be created with two-way communication and everyone being part of it.
5. Lessons learned within the organisation and benchmarks between industries
The gathered data can be used for comparisons both within and between organisations and industries. Even though the incident categories and types differ between industries, verticals and even functions, the habit of being aware in the field and documenting the observations is the same.
6. Reporting is cheaper than the costs of a major incident
The average cost of occupational accident ranges from thousands to tens of thousands euros between industries and countries. Thus even in a global organisation that has tens of thousands of employees and service-providers, the cost of maintaining the incident reporting program and/or software is many times cheaper than the cost of accidents or major incident.
7. Incident reporting is a key habit that creates culture
Each organisational culture is a set of habits, values, thoughts and beliefs. In organisation-level development areas such as health, safety, quality and environment, the habits are the keystones that affect the culture the most. If you want to create safety culture, start collecting safety observations. If you want to create culture of quality improvement, start collecting quality observations. If you want to raise environmental awareness, start collecting environmental observations.
As we can see, there are multiple different points contributing to the importance of incident reporting. If we were able to convince you why it is important to report incidents, you might now be asking yourself how to do in the most effective way. And if you are, we've got you covered!
We at Plan Brothers have developed a product called incy.io which is designed to lower the threshold of reporting to maximise the amount of observations, thus leading into more actionable data. It is easy to build incident reporting forms, enrich them with different question types, assign observations to the right people, ask follow-up questions, close the ones that have been handled and monitor the overall performance from the automated statistics.
There are a lot more features in the tool, but you aren't here for a spec sheet. That is why we are offering a 30-day trial so you can take your time testing it out for FREE. If you are interested, click the button below and fill in the required information to get started:
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.