Notify Technology | Apr 8, 2024 | Blog

How to Accelerate Safety Investigations with Incident Reporting Software

Quick, proactive and accurate incident reporting should be one of your top priorities as a health and safety professional. Not only do you have a responsibility to maintain a safe workplace, you must also be prepared to effectively report and investigate incidents if and when they happen.

According to the Health and Safety Executive, employers reported 60,645 non-fatal employee injuries in the year 2022-23. The number of self-reported injuries for the same period was even higher, at 561,000. Of these reported incidents, how many could have been mitigated or completely avoided by having a robust incident reporting system in place? Could follow-up investigations have been accelerated by a reporting system that wasn’t reliant on physical paper trails or after-the-fact reporting? What did employers learn from how these incidents were reported and dealt with?

Even the most diligent employers can be let down by health and safety reporting systems that don’t best serve them, their employees and their wider workplace. With Incident Reporting Software, you can improve your skills and knowledge, better engage your employees to increase reporting, and prevent future accidents from happening by spotting trends and hot spots.

In this article, we’ll take a look at why incident reporting is so important and how traditional reporting could be holding your company back. We’ll explore how Incident Reporting Software can transform the way your organisation reports safety events, from engaging employees and speeding up investigations, to helping you learn from workplace incidents and driving a proactive health and safety culture in your workplace.

Why is incident reporting important?

One of the most effective ways to prevent accidents occurring in the workplace is to report incidents when they happen. Responding quickly to incidents and reporting them accurately can reduce their impact both now and in the future, creating better awareness and minimising risk. However, incident reporting is about more than just documenting accidents.

Having a proactive reporting culture around all kinds of incidents is crucial to ensuring the overall health and wellbeing of your employees. While it’s essential to report workplace accidents that lead to injury or illness, it’s just as important to report other examples of incidents / safety events. Reporting near-misses helps identify any missed workplace hazards, enabling employers to implement new safety measures or provide additional staff training. Similarly, reporting mechanical failures, equipment malfunctions or other environmental problems, however small, can prevent more serious incidents like fire or chemical exposure. Positive observations about good health and safety practices are also important and are often forgotten about when it comes to incident reporting. Recording these gives employees tangible examples of the safest ways to work and consolidates what good health and safety practice looks like in your workplace.

With accurate and timely reporting, you can build a better picture of your workplace safety culture. You can quickly identify patterns and put proactive safety measures in place to reduce risks. Paired with regular staff training and policy updates, good reporting ensures you remain compliant with health and safety regulations too.

Traditional incident reporting is slowing you down

Traditional approaches to health and safety reporting no longer stand up to the demands of the modern workplace. Manual systems and reactive, not proactive, procedures are not the most effective way to keep you and your employees safe. Using physical paper forms, retaining complicated processes or storing data in multiple places just because ‘that’s the way we’ve always done things’ won’t cut it anymore. These outdated methods are slowing your organisation down, costing you money and ultimately compromising the safety of your employees.

For example, consider the time a team member could spend filing a near-miss report with a physical form. They first have to find the correct form, before then making time in their day to complete it. Depending on their workload or schedule, this might be hours or even days after the actual event. This leads to a higher risk of key details being reported incorrectly or even missed altogether. After filling in their report, that team member then needs to send it on to your Health and Safety team, either in paper form or to an email inbox where it gets added to a list of other messages that need responding to. Even by this stage of the manual filing process, we can see that precious time has been lost and opportunities to deal with the reported hazard have been missed.

Once a report is manually completed, you then face questions about how that report is processed, stored and what actions are taken to investigate. Where are incidents logged? A spreadsheet can quickly become messy and difficult to navigate. Paper filing systems take up too much space and make it hard to find information easily. These manual reporting processes make it harder to keep track of what has been logged and when. This prevents you from easily tracking the progress of any corrective action or changes that have been made during an investigation.

Moreover, with a manual reporting system, there is no easy way to see an overview of incidents at any one time. This makes it impossible to identify key trends or incident hot spots in your workplace, again leading to more time lost. It may even result in accidents that could otherwise be avoided. Luckily, Incident Reporting Software can help cure these health and safety headaches once and for all.

What is Incident Reporting Software?

Incident Reporting Software is a digital tool that your company can use to improve the way that workplace incidents are captured, investigated and prevented. It is a centralised, online solution that anyone in your organisation can access at any time, from any device. Employees can log incidents from their phone, tablet or computer, and managers can respond, review and investigate straight away, even if they are in a different place. Incident Reporting Software makes reporting faster and more accessible, keeping all elements of an investigation in one place, with a fully traceable audit trail.

How Incident Reporting Software can speed up investigations

Time is of the essence when it comes to reporting and responding to incidents in the workplace. Using Incident Reporting Software can accelerate your safety investigations in several ways, helping to keep you and your colleagues safer, healthier and more productive at work. Here are some ways that this digital software can enhance and speed up your incident reporting process.

Time is of the essence when it comes to reporting and responding to incidents in the workplace. Using Incident Reporting Software can accelerate your safety investigations in several ways, helping to keep you and your colleagues safer, healthier and more productive at work. Here are some ways that this digital software can enhance and speed up your incident reporting process.

Real-time reporting

Whether your teams work in an office, in a lab, in a workshop, or on a building site, they must be able to report incidents as quickly as possible. If your employees can only report from their desktop computer or with a certain paper file, they might not be able to share what they’ve found in a timely way. With Incident Reporting Software, employees can report observations, hazards, near misses and accidents and injuries in real-time using an app on their phone or on a tablet.

Notify’s mobile app is free to use and can be accessed on any device. It’s easy to use with no training required, meaning your workforce can start reporting incidents in seconds, from anywhere. With our app, you can also receive specific notifications whenever a high-priority incident is reported, allowing you to respond as quickly as possible. This will enable you to put corrective actions in place quicker, decreasing the likelihood of another accident occurring.

Easily keep track of investigations

With Incident Reporting Software, keeping track of an investigation following a report is easy. With Notify’s actions module, you can follow up on an incident report by digitally assigning corrective actions, as well as being able to see how actions are progressing at a glance. Those who have assigned actions can also receive daily email digests to stay up-to-date with progress across their team. With a dashboard that everyone involved can access, you can ensure transparency and accountability throughout your investigation process.

Having your incident reporting data all in one place like this, rather than in multiple paper files or computer folders, means that your teams can more readily engage with the reporting process. This in turn will encourage them to continue to proactively report incidents and improve overall response times when accidents occur or when hazards are identified.

Closing the feedback loop

When teams use Incident Reporting Software, managers can be sure that everyone can see the information they need, whenever they need it. With traditional reporting methods, communication becomes drawn out, with the need to continually reshare information with every change that is made. With our digital tools, everyone involved can see all the information they need on one dashboard.

Managers can directly respond to employee actions and feedback, without the need for multiple meetings or calls, and everyone can see how and when an issue has been resolved. Having this information saved centrally also makes it easier to share with the wider company, meaning more people can learn from each incident report.

Prevention is better than cure

Not only does Incident Reporting Software help address safety issues in the present, but it is also a useful tool for preventing future incidents. Thanks to features like a centralised dashboard of activity, you and your board can easily get an overview of where incidents, accidents and near-misses are occurring in their workplace, as well as the actions that are helping to mitigate these instances.

Having a comprehensive picture of your health and safety data is one of the best ways to identify common issues or emerging trend. It will help you take proactive steps to stop them from becoming full-blown hazards or accidents. With this information at your fingertips, you can make informed decisions about workplace safety more quickly, while proactively supporting your teams to do the same.

Notify’s Incident Reporting Software can be fully customised to suit the needs of your organisation. From our native mobile app to SMS and email alerts, to reporting with a dedicated QR code, Notify can give your teams the tools they need to maintain a proactive and effective health and safety reporting culture. Book a demonstration today and find out how Notify can help make your organisation a safer, healthier and happier place to work.

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