Employee Incident Reporting

Why should employees report incidents?

Nothing is learned from unreported incidents. Hazards, causes, and contributing factors can go undetected if incidents are not reported. That means they may happen again, perhaps resulting in tomorrow’s disabling injury or fatality. Employees who do not take the time to report near misses they are involved in may not learn from them. The fact that many incidents come within inches of being disabling injury accidents makes failing to report them all the more serious.

This can be illustrated by the case of the employee who slipped on a floor made slippery by a small leak in a hydraulic line. The employee did not suffer an injury. Two days later, the line was still leaking when another employee slipped on the liquid and broke her leg in the resulting fall. The first employee volunteered his experience to the company investigating the accident. Had he reported his own experience promptly, chances are the defective hydraulic line would have been corrected before the subsequent accident happened.

Why don’t workers report incidents?

  1. Fear of the supervisor’s disapproval.
  2. Not wanting to lose time from the job on piecework assignments.
  3. Not wanting the incident on their work records.
  4. Not wanting to be the subject of co-worker ridicule or sarcasm.
  5. Reluctance to spoil the unit’s safety record.
  6. Dislike of the red tape involved.
  7. Failure to understand why incidents should be reported.
  8. Not recognizing the damage that could result.
  9. Not wanting to be the subject of an incident investigation.

What questions should be asked following the reporting of an incident:

  1. What caused the incident/near miss?
  2. What are the circumstances surrounding the near miss?Is there a safety rule covering the situation?
  3. Did the almost-victim know that rule?
  4. Were any safety devices, clothing, or equipment used improperly or not used at all when they were called for?
  5. Have there been other near misses of the same type?
  6. Was the employee aware of the hazard?
  7. Did the employee know the safe procedure?

The answers to these questions should be included in the incident report. They will suggest ways to prevent a recurrence. They may also suggest some substitutions: a protective device more certain than luck, for instance.

Bring out incidents or near misses that you have experienced or know of or ask the group to share some of their experiences.

General Safety Review:

This is a time to review all safety concerns, not just today's topic.

  1. Are you aware of any safety hazards from any other personnel? Are some personnel creating hazards that are putting other personnel at risk? If so, discuss what you intend to do to address the issue(s).
  2. Do we have any other safety business? Discuss any past issues or problems. Report on any progress of investigations and action taken.
  3. Have there been any accidents, near misses, or complaints? Discuss any that have happened since the last safety meeting.
    1. Recognize safety contributions made by employees.

Please remember, we want to hear from you about any health and safety issues that come up. If we do not know about problems, we cannot take action to fix them.

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