Oct 25, 2019 | Blog

Grow your business, grow your risk?

by Queen Asianya-Olisa

With great power comes great responsibility. So it stands to reason that with greater power comes even greater responsibility.

And that’s definitely the case when it comes to managing risks in any business. Whether you’re sat in an office with a team around you or you’re managing a busy warehouse and a fleet of forklift trucks, there’s risk all around you.

Take Notify – the company – for example.

We’re about to take on our tenth member of staff at our office in North Tyneside and, whilst fantastic news for us, that comes with its own set of challenges.

The nature of what we do – building software that helps businesses manage health and safety risks – we’re uber conscious that our growth means more bodies, more computers, more coats, more bags, more waste, more everything!

How many times have you almost tripped over someone else’s bag in your office, or knocked over your coffee because your desk is a mess?

These seem like small issues to deal with on a daily basis but, if they exist today, they won’t go away.

This is where Notify – the product – comes in.

By the time you’ve read this highly insightful blog post, you could have reported a near-miss or incident using our app. It literally takes seconds.

It’s estimated that last year workers in the UK reported 600,000 non-fatal injuries at work*, with 144 reported fatalities**.

Those numbers in themselves are quite frightening.

So imagine how many injuries and near-misses are going unreported?

In our most recent case study, Velocity UK told us that the number of reported near-misses in their business increased from 60 per year to over 400 in ten months after rolling out Notify. That’s potentially more than 400 trips, falls, knocks and bumps going unreported and becoming invisible to the company’s health and safety team.

But perhaps not intentionally.

Prior to using Notify, Velocity’s system of manually sending out near-miss forms and ‘waiting up to two weeks for a response’ was long-winded and difficult to manage.

Now, incidents are reported much faster than before and are therefore dealt with quicker.

We believe that most incidents at work are avoidable.

Accidents happen – of course – but when near-misses at work are reported it can help prevent the same or similar from happening again.

And, if incidents aren’t reported, the chances are they will keep on happening.

So how do practice what we preach and take inspiration from our clients ourselves, as a growing – but still very small – team?

Well firstly, we use Notify – of course we do.

We’re lucky in that we don’t have a great number of accidents, incidents or near-misses to report, but when they happen we report them. We then implement measures to stop them happening again.

Here are some of our team’s tips for reducing hazards in an office environment:

  • Invest in some coat stands or lockers to avoid coats-on-chairs and bags-on-floors
  • Use cable tidies and rubber runners to avoid trips on wires
    • and if someone trips over the rubber runner, move it, it’s in the wrong place
  • Implement a clear desk policy, a no-food-or-drink-at-desks, policy and use designated break areas
  • Create a waste and recycling area – no bins under desks or in gangways
  • Report EVERYTHING – no matter how insignificant it may seem

In summary, do whatever you have to in order to resolve known issues within your office and help prevent incidents from ever happening again. No one enjoys being one of the 600,000 and we certainly want to do absolutely everything we possibly can to make sure none of our employees, or our clients’ employees, become one of the 144.

You can start by downloading our free near-miss reporting app and seeing how easy it is to report a near-miss in the time it’s taken you to read this article.

In fact, half the time.

Source: Estimates based on self-reports from the Labour Force Survey
Source: RIDDOR