The effect of empowering everyone with reporting tools
10 Ways to Improve Near Miss & Incident Reporting
Imagine a culture where everyone in your company is connected. Where everyone understands the importance of health and safety. Where everyone can easily report near misses and incidents. And most importantly, a team that supports and facilitates it.
That is our vision for health and safety reporting and we believe it starts with communication – Brilliant Communication.
We have spoken with dozens of companies over the last few years and there is one common problem that keeps coming up:
‘We are not getting enough near misses reported’. Can you sense the frustration?
After all, near miss reporting is vital for identifying trends and making informed corrective actions to keep everyone safe. Good near miss reporting also demonstrates your company is actively taking health and safety seriously. After all a strong health and safety culture is a competitive advantage.
For your convenience we have put together 10 different ways that companies can improve their reporting.
1) Make reporting easy
Many workers find reporting difficult, time-consuming, and distracting. If you can simplify the process workers will report more near misses.
With the technology available today, companies are turning to software applications – these can empower every single worker with the capability to report near misses or incidents in a matter of minutes.
The added bonus of using software is the ability to organise and track data effectively.
2) Educate and train workers
Many workers are unsure ‘what a near miss is’ and without having the knowledge to identify them, chances are they won’t be reported.
Education and training have the ability to transform mindsets and get workers onboard with reporting – not just for the company’s benefit, but for the benefit of their own safety and that of others.
Education & training should be job specific, but here are some questions to start with:
- What is a near miss and incident?
- Why is important to report them?
- What will the information be used for?
- What is the process for reporting them?
3) Avoid playing the blame game
It’s no surprise that one of the big reasons workers avoid reporting near misses and incidents is for fear of retribution.
To combat this, you can foster an environment where workers feel safe to report them. This can be done by explaining how reporting will be used to improve workplace safety and not as a disciplinary system.
If there is no improvement, try anonymous reporting. After all, it’s better to have anonymous reports than none at all.
4) Lead by example
As an executive, site manager or H&S Representative how can you lead by example?
Are you actively identifying and reporting more near misses? Are you taking it upon yourself to educate less experienced team members? Are you taking it upon yourself to implement correction changes?
All of these actions will help you lead by example and create a team that is willing to report near misses.
Someone once said to me, ‘we not only have a responsibility for our own safety, but we also share responsibility for the safety of those around us’.
5) Encourage staff with positive reinforcement
There was a worker on a construction site that nearly fell over after getting his foot caught on a string-line. He was embarrassed and felt he shouldn’t have been as careless.
Its situations like these, where if no one witnessed it, he might not report it for fear of embarrassment.
This is why it’s important to provide positive reinforcement when staff report near misses or incidents. No matter how small or embarrassing. It can be as simple as a site manager saying ‘thank-you’ when one of their workers reports a near miss or praising them at the next meeting.
6) Incorporate it into your onboarding process
If you can highlight the importance of health and safety reporting during staff onboarding, it can go a long way to creating a positive safety culture.
This can be done by including a section on near miss and incident reporting, along with examples to make it relatable. For best impact, make it an integral part of the process rather than a ‘tick the box exercise’.
7) Make reporting a priority
If you make reporting a priority, workers will view it as something that is required as opposed to something they ‘should do’.
A small but effective change one company made was having health and safety as the first item in their meeting agenda – they discuss any near misses, incidents, hazards, and audit results at the beginning of each construction meeting.
This helps in two ways, (1) it reinforces the importance of reporting by bringing it up each week, and (2) it facilitates an ongoing discussion that workers can contribute to.
8) Share results and be open
A powerful way to get everyone involved is to share reporting with all staff in an open environment.
Have a go at asking workers to share a near miss they identified and the corrective actions that were made. You can also share reporting statistics over the previous month or quarter. Being open with results makes staff feel included, builds trust, and helps avoid negative rumours about any incidents that might have occurred.
9) Use incentives and rewards
Using incentives and rewards shows that you recognise good performance. If done right it can lead to a health and safety culture that embraces reporting, and workers that take initiative to make improvements.
One company awards a $50 gift voucher to a worker that has made a positive impact on health and safety that month. The person is nominated by their peers and presented with the award at the monthly meeting.
10) Take action
Reporting by itself serves no real purpose. The value comes from using the reports to identify trends and make informed corrective actions.
Demonstrating that reporting is being used effectively shows workers their effort is making a difference. It also shows that the company cares about making the workplace a safer place.
Which is ultimately what we are all trying to achieve.
See if you can implement one or two of these to improve your company’s near miss and incident reporting. Reach out if you would like to let us know how this has improved your business activity and culture.
Remember, it all great outcomes begin with brilliant communication.
Matt is the co-founder of Conexie – a user managed reporting platform helping businesses communicate brilliantly.