The Importance of a Quick Response: Proper Incident Management Techniques

In a perfect world, you’d never have to deal with a workplace incident. Unfortunately, even the best risk management and injury prevention plans are vulnerable to unforeseen circumstances and human error. Sometimes, no matter how hard you’ve worked to prevent it, an unfortunate incident can still happen. When things go wrong, you want to know that you can count on incident management software to help you get to the root of the problem and take action to prevent another incident in the future.

Technology is the Answer

Incident management can be thought of as the cornerstone to safety. The two go hand in hand and work together to ensure your employees are kept safe on the job. The reality is that within an instant, your dreaded “what-ifs” can turn into, “what-now’s”. Quick responses to any kind of potential incident are so vital because they ensure safety among all your employees. We know that managing incident reporting and investigations among your organization has never been a simple task, but with software solutions available to you, you can be one step closer to better incident management among your organization. 

The Organizational Value 

Companies across the board are required to track the number, type, and nature of incidents occurring in the workplace. Safety Incident Management software is an integral component of managing the overall health and wellness of employees within a company and allows you to track key elements at complete ease.  Safety management software can go a long way towards enabling organizations to collate, manage, and interpret incident data. This includes accurate reporting of incidents, implementing corrective measures, identifying various learning points in the system, and identifying the root causes of the accidents that are taking place. You can turn to software to ensure you are meeting all the tasks associated with incident management.

The Key Benefits:

Safety Incident Tracking Software allows for the formation of a holistic picture of the event, and the circumstances leading up to it taking place. Once an incident has taken place, there are multiple interrelated components that need to be considered. Whether it is an injury or an illness, accurate analysis, documentation, and reporting of the matter must take place. This includes elements like self-reports, MVAs, risk assessments, findings & actions, case management, clinic visits, and audio recordings of the incident.

 Safety incident tracking software has proven its worth as an invaluable tool in large-scale enterprises. A good suite of safety incident tracking software should be customizable to your industry and your company’s specific requirements, allowing you to record all of the necessary data. It should allow you to not only record workplace accidents that resulted in injury, but also near-misses, property damage, and any other sort of issue that your company wishes to track.

With the ability to not only track incidents but also near-misses and potential incidents, software can help you identify key learning points where employees could be reminded of safety procedures and company policy. Catching a pattern of “almosts” can give you the chance to put preventative measures in place before a serious incident causes employee injury and lost productivity.

For starters, there are multiple benefits to implementing this software such as:

  1. Adherence to safety management systems and standards
  2. Fully streamlined safety incident reporting and management processes
  3. The ability to track the causes of the safety incidents, hazards, and related risks
  4. The improvement of data sharing between medical professionals and management personnel

Large-scale organizations typically operate multiple sites, divisions, and workplace business units. Incident management software has the inherent ability to standardize, streamline, and digitize the processing, transfer, sharing, and reporting functions when incidents take place. Since these interconnected systems allow for real-time sharing of information – it can be implemented across departments and all along the chain of command. Any changes, updates, or notifications can instantly be integrated into the system. This means that supervisors and managers can share injury or illness incidents with health and safety staff, case managers, and safety professionals with this work safety software.

More importantly, this software serves as an effective means of implementing preventative action to decrease the likelihood of similar events taking place in the future. Premium-grade integrated software systems provide multiple benefits to users, notably root cause analysis, preventive action tracking and investigation, metrics on safety incident management, and data collection. Workplace safety software can be used to address the safety management concerns that are always a top concern for management, since time lost through injury or illness can significantly impact the bottom line of a company. All manner of instant tracking should take place via the software, including property damage.

How Is Data Collected with Safety Incident Tracking Software?

Typically, a single incident record is used to collect and collate data. This encompasses many forms of data inputs such as environmental data, company questionnaires, company checklists, and photographs from the incidents. Other data includes: documentation pertaining to the event that took place, the precise location of the event where injury or illness occurred, and corroborating information from witnesses and various contact information.

Supervisors are tasked with tracking workplace incidents and monitoring the safety of operations and employees at all times. Safety managers are particularly sensitive to this type of information, and they must be armed with the requisite analysis, insight, and data to report and follow up on these incidents. Work safety software goes a long way towards safety compliance with regulatory standards. The types of reporting activities that are covered with health and safety management software include poisoning, chemical exposure, skin conditions, toxic fumes, gas leaks, respiratory conditions, loss of hearing, and slips and falls.

Once the cause of the incident has been assessed and confirmed, the decision tree will be stored on record. Next, investigative assessments take place, and corrective action follows. The presence of an automated software system allows for instant reports and investigations to be requested with the requisite supervisor or manager. Further, reminders can be initiated for various purposes.

Taking Safety Management One Step Further with Near Miss Reporting

Reporting and investigating incidents, injuries and property damage are central parts of any safety management system. However, many organizations are reluctant to expand their reporting and investigation processes to encompass near misses, fearing that doing so will overwhelm safety teams and lead to inflated safety spending; all for something that did not result in an accident, injury or property damage.

While there are other definitions for a near miss that are widely used, the definition of a near miss that will be used here is: an unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness, or damage – but had the potential to do so and did not do so only as a result of a fortuitous break in the chain of events. For example, an employee at the top of a ladder, is holding a heavy object and drops it as a second employee walks past the ladder. Fortunately, the object drops to the floor and misses the employee walking past, so no injury occurs. However, if the object had been dropped seconds sooner, or the person had walked at a slightly different pace, someone could have been injured.

Why Track Near Misses?

The accident triangle (or pyramid) is one of the fundamentals of safety management. The reality communicated by the triangle with respect to the relationship between various safety related events (serious accidents, less serious accidents and near misses) is central to the understanding of why near misses should be tracked. Although the ratios are inexact, it is widely accepted amongst safety professionals that for every 1 fatality at the top of the triangle, there are 10 serious accidents, 30 less serious accidents and 600 near misses. Therefore, by learning from the bottom segment of the triangle (the near misses), you can have a direct impact on the number of serious accidents and fatalities. You are discovering and correcting the root causes of accidents, rather than waiting for accidents and injuries to occur, showing the strong connection with incident management.

Near misses are often brushed off by employees as unimportant as there was no accident and they didn’t actually get hurt. However, gathering information regarding a hazardous situation, caused either by unsafe conditions or unsafe act, will be useful. Management and front-line employees will be alerted to a hazardous condition and this will facilitate taking corrective action. By making management and employees aware of the situation and requiring an investigation and corrective action before an employee is injured or equipment is damaged, near miss reporting gives management a valuable tool that facilitates them having a real impact on the safety of a workplace.

Incidents happen more than we think. For example, there has been a sharp increase in trench and excavation fatalities in 2016, which were nearly twice the average of the previous five years combined. To address this increase, the Department of Labor has developed a comprehensive action plan and set a goal to abate trenching and excavation hazards by 10%, compared to fiscal year 2017, through inspections and compliance assistance programs. To highlight the severity of the matter, OSHA is also issuing citations and doling out large fines to employers who expose workers to dangerous conditions.

It’s when we hear about scenarios such as this that the importance for comprehensive safety incident tracking software becomes ever so clear. There is no denying that when organizations improve their incident management, employees are left a lot safer thanks to the following three functionalities that safety incident tracking software provides:

  • Safety management software allows for the easy tracking of injuries or illnesses in companies. These reports provide greater insight into the business operations. Employees are a lot safer as a result.
  • Businesses and their employees are automatically privy to an efficient process of documenting, reporting, and following up on workplace incidents. Reports can be generated quickly and easily, and data can be shared in an efficient manner.
  • Safety management software makes it possible to create a standardized system for safety metrics. Employees and supervisors can stay updated on individual incidents, with better consistency and record keeping. This results in less downtime, greater productivity, and an enhanced workforce.

Conclusions

Employees can easily get complacent and distracted. Equipment can fail to perform as advertised. Environmental conditions can throw an element of chaos into the workplace. The world is full of unexpected complications that can lead to an EHS incident. You need to know that the best tools are at your disposal to help you track trends and watch out for potential pitfalls. Cority’s workplace safety software and incident management software can be your digital partner in this never-ending task to keep your organization empowered to prevent incidents and maintain a safe workplace. Find out more at https://www.cority.com/.

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