Are you willing to move incident reporting from paper to digital?
Especially now that we are living in a pandemic and we need to make less contact with objects and surfaces?
Keeping paper records is more common than we realize.
Just the other day, I was strolling the streets of LinkedIn when I noticed a company share a picture of their very first accident report. Written on paper. ????
I opened my eyes in amazement. Why? They were a digital company and should know than to regress to paper. Yes?
I was disappointed but I quickly remembered that many do not take safety management seriously and only remember safety and safety officers or managers exist when there is a problem and they need an urgent solution. So they are never really prepared for it!
What if I told you, you could take the first step to digital incident reporting with Google Forms? Yes!
But… Why bother? Is incident reporting is a legal requirement?
Yes, it is. At least here in the UK.
So what does the law say and what kind of reporting and record-keeping should you be doing with regards to incident and accident reporting?
Reporting and Recording incidents and accidents at work is a LEGAL REQUIREMENT.
It is a legal requirement for a person injured at work to report their injury to their employer for recording and on employers to investigate the circumstances (Social Security Act, 1998 – UK).
It is also important for investigations to be carried out to determine the causes of accidents, incidents, and near misses so that appropriate action can be taken to prevent a recurrence.
The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) require employers, or in certain circumstances others who control or manage the premises, to report to the relevant enforcing authority and keep records of:
- work-related deaths
- work-related accidents which cause certain specified serious injuries to workers (e.g. amputations), or which result in a worker being incapacitated for more than seven consecutive days (see the RIDDOR site)
- cases of those industrial diseases listed in RIDDOR
- certain ‘dangerous occurrences’ (near-miss accidents) like explosions, biohazards, or gas release
Reporting also helps the HSE and local authorities provide advice on how to avoid work-related deaths, injuries, ill health, and loss.
Many Health and Safety professionals also use the information from these reports to improve risk assessments, control measures, and safety performance of the company.
Now that we understand the importance of incident reporting from both the legal and safety improvement angle, let’s dig a little more into why digitizing incident reporting is the way to go.
Why digitize incident reporting?
In this time and age, a global pandemic, and with many working remotely, it’s only natural that we make many, if not all our processes digital.
It not only saves time and streamlines the reporting and investigation process. And guess what, everything gets reported and updated in real-time ensuring everyone has the latest version and information.
Even when going digital, it is important to ensure that it can capture the actual report, reviews by the H & S manager or authorized person, follow up actions required following the review, and of course, a way to alert the relevant authority where necessary, like RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations), OSHA etc.
3 ways you can digitize incident reporting today
1. Ready-made software products
There are so many options available – either free or paid for.
Many are designed in a way that encourages employee participation in prevention and reporting. For example, if reporting hazards. the employe observes the hazards, opens up the app, and reports the observation with photographic evidence. Of course, the relevant individual is alerted and is able to take action quickly.
How each software work could vary but always better to go simple.
Many are so intelligent that they take away almost every manual aspect of reporting and investigating accidents. manual in the sense that, if you needed to report to RIDDOR for example, you have to actually get that done yourself. I am yet to see a software that does this for you.
A simple google search will reveal many softwares that you are able to try out and/or implement.
Without giving away too much, HSEWise is working on a solution you just might fall in love with. #watchthisspace. But first, in option 2, coming up next, is a system I am presently testing out and have found to be a great business tool that can be used to make our safety departments digital.
2. Create an in-house digital solution
You can save lots of time by creating your own digital solution. This can be pretty expensive. However, I found a tool I have been experimenting with and know can help with some safety functions including incident reporting.
Watch this video recording I did of the tool and let me know what you think. It allows you to capture reports, monitor and update, add comments, and track investigations!
P.S. HSEWise has partnered with an all-in-one business management solution to give a limited few access to this platform at a lower cost. HSEWise is only able to take up 10 clients on this system due to our support team.
Once this number is exceeded, you will be referred to the solution provider and will pay significantly higher than we’ve quoted. We are presently able to provide our solution to small firms with 1-25 employees.
P.P.S. Would you like this system implemented in your business? Contact us for a drive-through of the many other functionalities like task and project management, ticketing system, form creation, and CRM which is useful if you are a consultant and comes with a client portal.
3. Use Google Forms
Sadly, you may not be able to afford the first 2 options and may have to settle for Excel. But there is a better way. Google Forms. This is a powerful piece of simple software that even helps you analyze data without sweating.
With Google Forms, you are able to maintain ownership of the forms and entries, invite collaborators (other safety managers), and eliminate the risk of someone breaking or tampering with your excel formulas.
I have recorded a short video showing you what’s possible with Google Forms and how you can use it to capture incident reports.
P.S. Using this system requires some manual input like ensuring investigations are carried out and chasing reports, but it is surely better than paper or Excel.
P.P.S. Would you like a copy of the incident report we used for the video? For just £19, you can receive a link to the form, make a copy, add your company logo and make it bespoke to your needs. Click HERE to pay now. After payment, you will receive the link and a short video showing you how to make a copy of the template for your own use!