In almost every scenario, prevention is better than cure. It’s an adage that we don’t think about deeply enough because it is so commonly used, but we must! In the workplace context too, prevention of incidents and protecting employee health and safety has several benefits. For instance, a streamlined approach to workplace safety delivers the following benefits:
- Fulfill the employers’ moral obligation to provide a safe and healthy work environment
- Enhances the reputation of the company and increases employee trust
- Reduce regulatory penalties and complexities
- Has a direct impact on top-line and bottom-line growth by reducing disruptions at work, minimizing the cost of rework, etc.
One EHS Today article states that the number of non-fatal accidents has come down by 50% since the early 2000s.
While this is good news, of course, there is room for improvement too. This improvement can be achieved by proactively tracking Safety Observations and near-misses.
Today, organizations NEED a centralized portal where employees across multiple departments, projects and locations can report safety observations swiftly within seconds while they are on their job. Using a digital platform to track and monitor safety observations, various stakeholders must be able to:
- Access these observations and then triage, investigate and do a root cause analysis
- Document the risks and prioritize based on risk level
- Initiate a CAPA management process
- Capture actions and next steps within the EHS system, tagging relevant task owners
- Have a system for in-built analytics on safety observation data, using next-generation dashboards, charts
- Build a continuously improving safety management system
To be sure, safety observations refers to the reporting of both safe and unsafe actions (or conditions in a work area) over a period of time. This can help safety leaders and managers identify potential safety hazards in advance and implement mitigative measures to prevent their becoming a full-fledged event.
Safety Culture is About What You Do, Not What You Say
Though there has been an overall improvement in the workplace where employee health and safety are concerned, hazards continue to pose a major threat. According to one ILO estimate, annually 2.3 million workers globally succumb to work-related accidents or diseases, amounting to 6000 deaths per day. Some of the common causes are:
- Slips and Falls
- Musculoskeletal Disorders
- Falling Objects
- Loud Noises
Many of these can be controlled with appropriate mitigation measures but require a proactive approach to address the risk before it leads to an accident. Therefore, to bring down safety incidents, companies need to establish standard operating procedures related to potential hazards and sensitize employees to the associated risks. Additionally, the employees should be trained to look out for safety observations and must have a readily available digital tool to report the same to the safety team.
Many companies have an incident reporting system. However, companies serious about safety management implement a safety observation system that enables employees to report potential hazards. This also reiterates the company’s commitment to employee safety, which will impact enterprise outcomes such as turnover, absence, productivity, and healthcare costs.
As it is often repeated, culture is about encouraging employees to “do the right thing”, even when nobody is watching. Having a digital Safety Observations system is the first step to enabling a safety-first approach across departments.
Safety Observations – Best Practices
For safety observations to contribute meaningfully to the improvement of workplace safety, some of the best practices include:
Train Employees in SOP: Creating awareness amongst employees about the company’s standard operating procedures is essential for them to be able to understand what is safe or unsafe behavior.
Involve the Concerned Employees: Job Hazard Analysis is possible only by involving the employees responsible for the task in identifying what counts as unsafe.
Encourage More Observations: Create awareness about the importance of safety observations and encourage observations to capture trends.
Provide Positive Feedback: While unsafe behavior gets commented on frequently, it is important to highlight safe behavior too for positive reinforcement.
Set the Context: While reporting observations, it is important to provide simple contextual information using a simple form such as time, date, weather conditions, and so on.
Supplement with Visuals: Providing photos and videos along with the report can increase its value as well as help to track progress over time.
Share with Workers: Share insights with your employees and seek their views to increase their involvement and participation.
Set KPIs and Measure Performance: Identifying a goal and measuring progress is essential to understand if your improvement measures are having the desired impact.
5 Ways ComplianceQuest Dashboards Improve Workplace Safety
Safety observations data are powerful leading indicators of safety in your organization. With targeted analysis and reporting, you can spot unknown trends and implement mitigative action before any near miss or incident occurs. This data is available to verify and track the effectiveness of your risk mitigative actions. Moreover, it is a powerful addition to any incident investigation and root cause analysis.
ComplianceQuest’s EHS solution is a cloud-based, scalable system that empowers employees to proactively engage in improving the safety culture of the organization. It is designed to not only capture incidents and events but also near-misses and safety observations.
Its dashboard and analytics feature enables safety leaders to identify trends, assign risk scores, and implement corrective action to prevent incidents.
One of our clients, a Canadian Oil and Gas Solutions provider, replaced their manual and paper-based safety inspection system with our EHS solution for continuous safety improvement initiatives. The system enabled site inspectors to submit safety data from any location, saving valuable time and resources. With the CQ solution, the company was able to simplify the site safety data gathering processes and streamlined dashboards and reporting for audits.
The 5 ways in which Safety Observations solution helps with improving safety include:
- 360 Degree View: The CQ Safety Observations module provides a 360-degree view of enterprise-wide safety risks across departments, projects, and locations. It has an intuitive user interface that enables employees to report safety observations quickly while doing their job. These observations can be accessed by authorized personnel for triaging, investigating, and raising a CAPA directly. They can ensure prompt mitigation of potential safety threats to drive continuous improvement.
- Capture Trends: Safety Observations Solution allows all observations to be recorded in a centralized registry. This helps safety leaders identify trends, lead indicators, assess risks, define improvement goals, monitor and track progress using:
- built-in analytics
- predictive intelligence
- Management Review: The Safety Observation dashboards and insights can enable reviewing the health of the safety policies, improve compliance, identify areas of improvement, assign responsibilities, and track and monitor progress.
- Training: The dashboard helps identify skill gaps and training needs, enabling the development of focused training programs to bring employees up to speed, track training progress, and assess employee performance.
- Improve Employee Participation: One of the compliance requirements is to make safety an enterprise-wide activity with all employees participating in safety activities. Reporting is one of the most important areas followed by visibility into mitigation and closure. The Safety Observation module enables this and improves productivity, loyalty, and ownership.
Other benefits of the ComplianceQuest EHS solution include audit, document, and reporting. It also has an incident management solution that complements the safety observations module to enable comprehensive safety management automation.
To know more about ComplianceQuest’s Safety Observations Product, visit: https://www.compliancequest.com/ehs-safety-observations/