Documenting Small Safety Incidents Key to Preventing Major Ones

  by    0   0
Studies show that for every major workplace injury or fatality, there are nearly 10 minor injuries – and more than 30 accidents that lead to property damage. Capturing data even on minor safety incidents can be critical in informing efforts to prevent much greater dangers in the future. This item sets out the areas on which management should focus its efforts in this regard. Studies show that for every major workplace injury or fatality, there are nearly 10 minor injuries – and more than 30 accidents that lead to property damage. Capturing data even on minor incidents that may seem trivial in isolation can be critical in informing efforts to prevent much greater dangers in the future. A big part of that effort involves ensuring businesses maintain a complete set of data. Managers at all levels should focus on solid and thorough documentation. Here is where management’s main effort should be concentrated: Don’t ignore minor incidents. Document all of them. Even if you have avoided injuries and severe property damage so far, keeping careful records may provide critical risk management insights – and enable managers to take action to prevent accidents before they occur. Identify patterns. Do minor incidents seem to happen in the same area? Involve the same or similar machinery? Are they in the same department or under the same manager? Careful record-keeping is a valuable tool for identifying patterns. Discourage presenteeism. Workers who come to work sick may be taking medications that increase the risk of incidents. Workers are not robots: Sick or distracted workers may make serious or deadly mistakes. To prevent this, have a sustainable sick day policy and encourage workers to take time off when needed – especially in dangerous occupations. Encourage reporting. Studies have shown that the vast majority of minor incidents are not properly reported or recorded. One study found that 85% of workers told researchers they had experienced work-related symptoms, 50% had experienced persistent work-related medical symptoms and 30% reported they had lost time from an incident or from a repetitive motion injury – yet only 5% of workers told researchers they had formally reported any of these incidents. When asked why they didn’t report safety incidents, workers cited a number of reasons:
  • Fear of reprisal
  • Poor management response to prior reports
  • Fear of losing their job or being transferred to a less desirable position
  • Belief that pain or another medical symptom was a normal consequence of work activity or ageing.
Maintain OSHA-required injury logs. By federal law, most employers must maintain the following safety documents:
  • OSHA Form 300 – Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses
  • OSHA Form 300A – Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses
  • OSHA Form 301 – Injury and Illness Incident Report
Employers with 10 or fewer employees at all times during the preceding calendar year are exempt from the federal requirement, though many states may impose more stringent requirements. Record near misses. Often, near misses – in which property damage, injury or fatality were narrowly avoided – can provide data that’s just as valuable as for incidents resulting in actual damages or injuries. This information can prove vital to informing prevention efforts. Perhaps most importantly, carefully documenting all safety incidents and near misses, however minor, may help establish a culture of safety throughout the organization.


Related Posts

Basics of a Strong Lockout/Tagout Program

Engineer check and control welding robotics automatic arms machine in intelligent factory automotive industrial with monitoring system software. Digital manufacturing operation. Industry 4.0A lockout/tagout program will not be effective if your employees are not properly trained in how it works, and if you don’t have consequences for them if they fail to follow the program.  Every year, hundreds of workers in the United States die because they don’t follow lockout/tagout procedures or their employers did not have […]

READ MORE →

As Wildfire Risks Increase, Insuring Businesses More Difficult

Business property coverage is getting more difficult to come by for operations located in areas that are susceptible to wildfires. The devastating wildfires of the last few years, along with the thousands of homes and businesses that have been burned or damaged due to these events, has resulted in insurers becoming more selective about the […]

READ MORE →

CALIFORNIA: Bureau Recommends Workers’ Comp Rates Drop 5.4%

graph growthWorkers’ compensation insurance rates will likely continue sliding in 2020 after California’s rating agency submitted its recommendation that the state insurance commissioner reduce the average benchmark rates by 5.4%. If the recommendation is approved, it will be the ninth consecutive rate decrease since 2015 (some years had two decreases), which have resulted in the average […]

READ MORE →

A Lesson in Timely Claims Reporting

file claimsA recent appeals decision denied coverage to a company on its directors and officers (D&O) liability insurance policies for taking too long to file the claim.  In this case, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans sided with an insurer that had denied a claim a company had made after being sued […]

READ MORE →

Discipline Should Be Part of Your Safety Program

discipline red cardDoes your injury and illness prevention program spell out the disciplinary action your company will pursue if its safety rules are not adhered to? Addressing disciplinary issues can be a very sensitive and stressful process for most managers, supervisors and employees. However, if disciplinary issues are avoided or handled poorly, it can lead to serious […]

READ MORE →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top