Level-up Your Safety Metrics with a Comprehensive Safety Investigation Process
Blog | January 10th, 2022

Level-up Your Safety Metrics with a Comprehensive Safety Investigation Process

What is a Safety Investigation?

A safety investigation is a preventive action conducted to avoid accidents or near-misses. It is an important tool for developing and refining an organization’s risk management systems. To conduct a safety investigation, information about the incidents is collected. With this information, one can conclude, including the determination of causes and, when appropriate, the making of safety recommendations. Safety investigation requires a structured approach to collecting, collating, and analyzing information. The investigation findings will become the foundation for an action plan to prevent future accidents from happening again and improve the overall management of risk.

At ComplianceQuest, we had published a whitepaper titled Health & Safety Metrics Guide: What gets measured gets improved.

This paper resonated with several health and safety leaders around the world. By keeping constant tabs on both leading and lagging metrics, businesses are able to drive continuous improvement of their safety efforts.

The question is: How do you monitor and track these H&S metrics? Having a comprehensive safety investigation process is a key first step.

Often, business leaders are caught up in the need to improve topline, keep costs under control and focus on financial metrics. But when this focus on financials leads to cost-cutting of safety efforts, it becomes extremely risky.

Safety managers end up reacting to incidents and near-misses, rather than adopting a proactive approach. This can result in adding risks, and half-backed safety management efforts that can ultimately turn out to be a big mistake.

In this whitepaper titled ‘Health & Safety Metrics Guide: What gets measured gets improved’ – we highlight a set of lagging and leading H&S metrics that all organizations should be measuring to prevent or mitigate future health and safety risks.

Read it here: https://www.compliancequest.com/whitepaper/health-safety-metrics-guide/

Introduction to the Safety Investigation Process

The safety investigation process is a formal process for investigating a workplace incident, including a fatality, injury, illness, or close call. This enables you to discover hazards in business operations and drawbacks in health and safety programs. With the learnings from the investigation, you can implement appropriate corrective and preventive actions to avoid future incidents. While conducting the safety investigation process, the team should do a Root Cause Analysis (RCA) of the incident to ensure the real reason is identified and controls put in place to prevent its recurrence.

Using a next-generation EHS solution like ComplianceQuest, safety leaders are able to automate and digitally transform their RCA process. CQ’s 5 Why Whiteboard is especially useful to run a step-by-step, methodical root cause analysis process.

Altex Energy Ltd, a Canadian crude oil transloading company, implemented ComplianceQuest’s incident management solution to reduce incident closure time by 30% and get real-time visibility into the status of all incidents.

To know more about how the company uses our next generation QHSE to streamline the Quality, Health, Safety, and Environment management processes and workflows, read this case study.

Read Case Study

Why is the Safety Investigation Process Important?

The safety investigation process is crucial because it helps to identify the immediate causes and mitigate the risks without wasting time. ComplianceQuest’s easy-to-use Incident Management Solution can empower employees to report incidents, near-misses or observations as they are happening. While this makes quick response and remediation possible, it also becomes available for investigations. In addition, using advanced analytics capabilities and dashboards, safety leaders are able to rely on data to spot trends and patterns on what leads to safety-related issues.

The safety investigation process is essential because its findings can help

  • Prevent recurring incidents
  • Provide Mean Time To Resolution (MTTR)
  • Reduce or eliminate downtime
  • Improve data fidelity
  • Enhance customer experience
  • Reduce overall cost

Key Steps for a Successful Safety Investigation Process

Organizations should investigate incidents, near-misses and observations to identify what exactly happened, why it happened, and how to lower the risk of future incidents.

Having a structured approach to the safety investigation process can make a huge difference. Here’s a suggested step-by-step guide:

Safety Investigation key steps

Step 1: Quick Action: After identifying an incident, you should take instant action to ensure that the area is safe for workers.

Step 2: Create an Investigation Plan: You should plan the investigation process effectively to make it more systematic and complete.

Step 3: Collect Data: You should gather all the information about the incident, including who is involved, the condition of the equipment, and the area of the incident available from several sources.

Step 4: Isolate Factors: You should isolate the following factors, including environmental factors such as noise, light, heat, vapors, fumes, and dust; design factors involving workplace layout, design of tools, equipment, and maintenance; and procedure factors such as lack of systems and procedures, inappropriate systems and procedures, training in procedures, housekeeping and human behavior like carelessness, rushing, fatigue, and so on.

Step 5: Corrective Actions: After identifying the incident that happened and why it happened, you should determine a solution to correct the problem so that you can prevent repeat incidents. You can assess the incident’s root causes and implement corrective actions with employees so that they understand the incident and its prevention.

Step 6: Reporting: After implementing corrective actions, the investigation ends with the findings being shared and communicated to workers.

Using a framework like 5 Why can also make life easier for the leader responsible for the safety investigation process.

When to Conduct Safety Investigation?

A safety investigation is conducted when there is an accident or near-miss. By conducting a safety investigation, businesses can showcase to their employees the importance of their health and safety while ensuring that these accidents or near-misses do not occur again, which can affect the company in the long run. Similarly, safety investigation must be conducted in case of adverse events or when there is a health and safety complaint.

How to Level Up Your Safety Metrics to Improve Performance?

You can level up your safety metrics by considering the following

Root Cause Analysis:
While investigating an incident, EHS professionals should determine the contributing factors for an injury or illness. Thus, you can easily identify the immediate causes of an incident, including faulty equipment, spills, or leaks.

Not only correcting these immediate issues but also addressing them is important to eliminate a problem. For this, both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommend organizations to conduct a root cause analysis while investigating an incident. Conducting a thorough root cause analysis can provide the following details such as,

  • What incident happened?
  • How did that incident happen?
  • Why did the incident happen?
  • How can this be rectified?

Using ComplianceQuest’s Incident Management Software, you can simplify and streamline the root cause analysis process ensuring data is collected consistently and stored in a single location. With the help of built-in analytics, predictive intelligence, dashboards, and mobile capabilities, you can reduce the compensation cost, improve employee productivity and morale, increase brand reputation, and enhance regulatory compliance. It can also help you to record, track, and manage any type of workplace safety incident and conduct detailed investigations.

Inspection plays a huge role to improve business performance. Workers should constantly check their workplace and equipment for deficiencies or possible issues. For that, you should track how many audits are taking place at your company because inspection results can help you to find out which locations are identified as the highest number of deficiencies or the highest percent of safety issues that will need to be addressed.

Like inspection, performing frequent observations on behavior-based safety data at the workplace is also crucial for eliminating preventable injuries. Thus, you can monitor and determine how workers act regularly and answer this information effectively.

Having a robust training program in place can make a big difference to the health & safety efforts of your organization. While evaluating your training program, you should ensure that your employees are demonstrating a reasonable understanding of the material they are taught.

Hazards and Safety Feedback
Employers should create a safety culture where employees can share their feedback to make the workplace safer. They should report any kind of hazards or unsafe conditions for improving behavior through better training and understanding of the risk context and improving the workplace through better equipment and a better work environment.

With health & safety gaining heightened significance in the current circumstances and with the health & safety heads having to manage their work remotely, the ComplianceQuest H&S management solution enables seamless management of your organization’s complete H&S program through a range of intuitively integrated tools and applications.

Our solution includes the following features and capabilities to increase both compliance and safety by streamlining:

  1. Safety event reporting
  2. CAPA efforts
  3. Worksite inspections
  4. Safety observations
  5. Compliance management
  6. Stakeholder management
  7. Risk management
  8. Stop work authority
  9. Safety notifications
  10. Dashboards and safety analytics
  11. Mobile access to key data, information and collaboration features

To know more, visit: https://www.compliancequest.com/work-health-and-safety-management-system/

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