5 Things You Need to Know About Incident Management
Workplace accidents are something you don’t want to happen, but many of them are preventable. The key is to be prepared for them so that in case they do happen, you can handle them efficiently and effectively.
This entails having a robust incident management plan. If you don’t have one yet or you feel like your current programme is lacking, this article will discuss a few important things you need to know.
What Is Incident Management in the Workplace
Incident management is an internal set of processes that companies follow in order to properly handle health and safety risks in the workplace. “Handle,” in this case, involves identifying, preventing, responding, and recording such risks.
Another facet of incident management is analysis, which allows you to make forecasts and uncover other risks that might arise from previous incidents.
Implemented properly, a good incident management system can help give rise to a culture of safety. In turn, this can contribute to employee motivation and job satisfaction.
For an incident management program to succeed, you need two essential components: the actual set of processes and a health and safety committee to implement it.
Ideally, the implementing committee must have relevant health and safety training. This will give them credibility, not to mention boost their confidence and competence in handling incidents. They can be composed of anyone within the company, but it can be helpful if someone from a leadership position is also part of the group.
Meanwhile, below is a list of things you need to keep in mind for developing or fine-tuning processes:
1. Data gathering is key
Incident management is largely about preparation. Data gathering is at the centre of all of this, so you need to have definite communications channels and processes.
Prepare a dedicated email and telephone number, at the very least. Social media groups and messaging apps can also be helpful when it comes to announcements and urgent reports. The important thing is that everyone should know which channel serves what purpose.
Providing as much information as possible is also crucial. Encourage people to include photos and videos to their reports whenever they can. This way, vital details won’t get lost later on.
2. Identify and classify
In support of your data gathering efforts, your people need to be able to identify and classify incidents for proper reporting. Consider the following categories, if you haven’t developed your own yet:
- Unexpected events, which result in psychological injury, a range of physical injuries, and/or destruction of property. Such incidents include but are not limited to slips, trips, thefts, fires, and natural disasters.
- Near misses, which are unexpected events but did not result in any harm or damage to people or property.
- Adverse events, which are unintended injuries related to medical procedures or treatments (e.g., vaccinations, surgeries) conducted on an employee.
You may also want to consider awareness events, which are incidents that could have resulted in injury or property damage but are not classified into the above-mentioned categories.
Then, based on the above classifications, the implementing committee can create an escalation procedure. Having separate ones for each type of incident can prevent confusion and ensure a smoother reporting process.
Proper communication is important for incident management, starting from the moment the report has been filed. Moreover, the communication should include everyone affected by the incident (no matter how “minor” the effect may have been).
In addition, while some personal information or other sensitive details may be excluded, it should be noted that health and safety incident reports should be accessible to everyone. By making the information available, it will be easier to educate, train, and enforce.
4. Keep a logbook
Keeping an incident management logbook serves two purposes. One is for compliance with the law, especially when it comes to mandated safety regulations.
The other is for internal documentation. In particular, a logbook can help you identify the most common issues your business has. This allows you to spot patterns and focus on addressing these first. Historical records can also help with training and awareness, reducing further risks.
Take note that an incident logbook doesn’t have to be an actual physical book. In fact, it will be easier to manage a digital record, preferably through health and safety management software. You can also host and manage a secure copy online.
5. Feedback is important
Last but certainly not least, feedback is crucial to a successful incident management system. This is especially true for the person who reported the incident. Respond to them on time, thank them for the report, and keep them apprised of developments. This will encourage them to report future incidents, as well as build trust in the system.
Feedback is also necessary coming from those who use the incident management program. Be welcoming to comments and suggestions, so that you can refine processes, improve training, and even purchase the right equipment.
Incident management in the workplace doesn’t just mean having an emergency kit ready for when disaster strikes or knowing how to deal with crises as they happen. It’s more about preventing issues from happening in the first place.
With these things in mind, you can hopefully be prepared for any emergency and keep a cool head when dealing with any H&S issue.