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A Liberty Mutual 2019 Workplace Safety Index estimates the weekly cost incurred by US companies due to workplace injuries as more than $1 billion per week. This is a direct cost, paid as compensation to injured workers. In addition to the compensation paid out, the company also incurs other indirect costs, which can be anywhere between 2 to 10 times more expensive. And since these indirect costs are not covered by insurance, it has to be paid from the company’s cash balance, potentially driving the business to the edge. It can also cost the company its reputation, further affecting its financials.

Some of the indirect costs include:

  • Loss in production time
  • Absenteeism
  • Identifying a replacement
  • Training new hires who have replaced injured workers
  • Cleanup and startup of operations interrupted by the accident
  • Damage to equipment/property
  • Repair time and cost
  • Documenting and reporting the injury
  • OSHA penalties

To prevent these accidents and build a proactive culture of safety, safety observations become essential for timely identification of risks and plan risk mitigation actions ahead of time. This can help with reinforcing safe behaviors, driving a speak-up culture, and reducing employee injuries.

However, according to a McKinsey report, though companies in high-hazard industries have improved their response to safety hazards, it is more reactive than proactive.

Potential risks go unreported, and action is taken only after a preventable risk becomes a full-fledged event. ComplianceQuest’s Safety Observations portal can be a treasure trove of insights into the leading indicators of safety in your enterprise. Mitigate risks and prevent near misses and incidents by detecting a hazardous trend ahead of time using built-in analytics, predictive intelligence, dashboards, and mobile capabilities. Request a demo of our Safety Observations module here: https://www.compliancequest.com/ehs-safety-observations/

Challenges to Building a Proactive Safety Culture

A proactive approach to implementing a safety culture requires the whole-hearted involvement of the employees to report observations and near misses. It also requires management commitment to take necessary precautions with agility.

But often, employees do not report “what they see as unsafe”—and the opportunity to prevent a future accident is lost.

This can happen out of fear of repercussions or past experience of action not being taken. Sometimes, employees may also feel it is not their responsibility or that someone else will do it. Lack of transparency can also discourage employees from coming forward and reporting the observations.

But, as the McKinsey report points out, technology can be leveraged to change this culture and improve employee involvement in establishing a proactive safety culture.

Empowering Employees to Report Near Misses and Observations

Based on its experience with a company in the oil and gas industry, the McKinsey report points out, among others, two important recommendations to create a culture of safety. One is to coach employees to observe and report hazards. And the second is to use next-gen technologies for reporting, measuring, and analyzing the impact of reporting the observations to make reporting objective and effective.

Reporting safety observations enables identifying risky behavior and implement corrective action and improve the safety of the workplace. These observations are marked through checklists, with safety topics having a separate checklist.

With safety observations, companies can:

  • Identify and control potential risk exposures
  • Increase safety awareness
  • Train employees in safe behaviors
  • Facilitate a speak-up culture
  • Reduce employee injuries

Visit https://www.compliancequest.com/ehs-safety-observations/ for more details on Safety Observations.

A good ‘Safety Observations’ process will include the following steps:

  • Collecting data on both positive and negative behavior or practice
  • Categorizing observations
  • Assigning corrective and preventive actions
  • Identifying risks and informing management

These safety observations must be an ongoing activity through employee participation to collect enough data that can be used to identify trends and patterns and facilitate informed decision-making. This practice also allows employees to become aware of the need for such observations, feel safer, thus improving their engagement with the organization and helps establish a culture of safety. It is also an ISO 9001 requirement to prevent hazards and accidents.

Additionally, it is critical that your organization’s EHS solution has the ability to capture positive feedback. When employees congratulate their peers on following safety best practices and display good safety behavior, it serves as a positive reinforcement to the whole organization. This plays a key role in building an enterprise-wide safety culture.

ComplianceQuest EHS: A Next-Generation Data-driven Solution to Improve Workplace Safety

With the right set of next-gen tools, safety leaders can create a safety culture by empowering employees to report safety observations, near misses and track progress on “next steps”. This transparency enhances their trust and sense of safety in the workplace, thereby increasing their productivity and engagement levels. In a self-feeding cycle, this further improves awareness about safe behavior and reduces risks.

A next-generation EHS solution will also include an integrated Training Management solution to ensure all employees are up-to-date on their safety training requirements.

A central repository of observations also acts as a ready reference to identify, prioritize and mitigate risks.

The cloud-based, scalable, and AI-powered EHS Solution from ComplianceQuest, built on Salesforce.com, enables seamless management of the organization’s complete H&S program through a range of intuitively integrated tools and applications. Our solution also includes a user-friendly, intuitive portal wherein employees from any department and in any location can report safety observations and also add positive feedback for displaying good safety behavior.

Some of the features and capabilities of the solution include:

Ability to record Safety Observations On-The-Go
All workforce members, from any department and in any location, get access to a user-friendly, intuitive portal to report both safe and unsafe acts or conditions within the organization within seconds on-the-go from anywhere, at any time.

Centralized Portal
One easy-to-use, centralized portal to review, triage, investigate, raise and implement CAPAs (corrective and preventive actions) on reported Safety Observations by employees with the required authority.

Track Leading Indicators of Safety
Safety observations provide the management with a centralized, categorized view of the leading indicators of safety within the organization with powerful analytics and dashboard support.

Automate and streamline Triaging & 5 Why Investigation Process
Appropriate authority can review and triage the safety observations and utilize 5 Why root cause analysis functionality to determine and document numerous root causes, attach evidence and capture decisions related to any investigations.

Manage Corrective Actions
Raise CAPAs directly from the Safety Observations portal with an integrated CAPA module or implement corrective actions directly with the embedded ‘Action Items’ feature to effectively manage your corrective and preventive action processes to drive continuous improvement.

Track Data by Project, Specific Location or Geography
Gain a complete overview and generate reports for leading safety indicators linked to a specific project, location, or geographic region as relevant for your organization.

Mobile Access
Access your ComplianceQuest EHS solution on the go, anywhere, anytime and on any device. Complete access to the solution including safety observations, image uploads, reports, approvals, record views, reviews, alerts, etc.

Collaboration
Reach out to others across the enterprise and in the supply chain to solicit feedback without having to give up ownership of the tasks.

Social Like & Follow
Like and follow relevant records in the system. Choose to be notified via email, dashboard, and mobile to stay abreast of developments.

To implement a culture of safety in your organization, encourage more employees to report positive and negative observations across your enterprise visit: https://www.compliancequest.com/ehs-safety-observations/

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