Here are just a few ways that digital tools are making the process a breeze:
1. Mobile and offline reporting
Forget the days when you had to wait until you were back in the office to report a near miss or unsafe act. With mobile apps and offline capabilities, employees can easily report incidents from any location, even if they don't have an internet connection. This means that no incident goes unreported, even when you're out in the field.
Mobile and offline reporting can also be particularly useful in places where you literally don't even have internet and where access to a computer may be limited. With a simple tap on a smartphone, employees can quickly and easily report an incident and know it moves forward from there.
2. Remove gatekeepers with automated assignees
Traditionally, near miss and unsafe act reporting have relied on gatekeepers such as middle managers who then pass information forward. This is especially the case when reports are sent over email, informed in-person or called over the phone. However, these approaches can be problematic, as they can create bottlenecks and slow down the process.
Automated assignees, on the other hand, ensure that each incident is triaged and sent to the appropriate team or individual for follow-up, without the need for manual intervention. This can help streamline the process and ensure that incidents are addressed in a timely manner.
Automated assignees can also help remove bias from the process, ensuring that incidents are handled objectively and fairly. This can help build trust and confidence in the reporting system and encourage more employees to participate.
3. Avoid functional silos
Let's be real, we've all been there - you see something is wrong, but you're not sure if it's your place to report it because it falls outside of your specific job function. Enter: functional silos. These pesky barriers can prevent employees from speaking up about incidents, safety issues or pretty much any kinds of problems (you know: observations don't care about silos), leading to missed opportunities to improve safety and prevent accidents.
Digital tools can help break down functional silos and encourage cross-functional collaboration on all types issues including safety. With real-time data and notifications, employees and management from different departments can work together to address incidents and prevent future ones.
So next time you see something unsafe, don't be shy! Use your digital tools to share the info and help create a safer workplace for everyone.
4. Add anonymity
We get it, speaking up about safety issues can be intimidating. Will you be blamed? Will you be seen as a complainer? Will your coworkers judge you? These are all valid concerns that can prevent employees from reporting near misses and unsafe acts.
That's where anonymity comes in. By allowing employees to report incidents without revealing their identity, anonymity features can create a safer, more open, and supportive environment for reporting. This can encourage more people to speak up about safety issues and help prevent accidents and injuries.
In the aviation industry, anonymity and confidentiality are essential components of the safety reporting process. This is because, in order to improve safety of the entire industry (every time a plane crashes, people switch to other modes of transportation), it is important that employees feel comfortable reporting near misses and unsafe acts, including their own mistakes.
5. Let the software teach and show what kinds of reports to do
One common barrier to reporting near misses and unsafe acts is confusion about what types of incidents are reportable. Employees may not realize that a certain incident qualifies as a near miss or unsafe act, or they may be unsure how to classify the incident.
To help employees understand what to report and how, some digital tools include guidance and examples of different types of incidents that are reportable. This can help employees understand what is expected of them and encourage more accurate and complete reporting.
For example, a safety reporting software may include a list of common types of incidents that are reportable, along with descriptions and examples of each. This can help employees understand the different categories of incidents and how to classify them.
6. Show the impact of what got done after the report
One of the biggest challenges of the reporting process is ensuring that reported incidents are followed up on and corrective actions are taken to address any identified safety issues. Without this follow-up, employees may lose confidence in the reporting process and become less likely to report incidents in the future.
To improve the follow-up process and demonstrate the impact of reported incidents, some digital tools provide real-time updates on the status of an incident, showing employees the impact of their report and what action was taken as a result. This can help build trust and confidence in the reporting process and encourage more participation.
For example, a safety reporting software may allow employees to track the progress of their incident report, showing them what action was taken and any follow-up that was required. This can help employees understand the importance of their report and how it contributed to improving safety in the workplace.