Repeated incidents don’t happen by coincidence, and ignoring them will just keep them coming.
“Someone biffed it outside the loading dock again.”
“The belt on this machine snagged my finger for the fourth time this month.”
“Whenever I spend any time in the warehouse, I feel like I get kinda lightheaded and dizzy.”
If you regularly have reports rolling in, don’t see it as an annoyance or setback. Workers reporting incidents or near-misses reflects a solid safety culture and ultimately makes your job easier in the long run.
Here are some things you can try if you’re noticing repeating incidents.
Write everything down
First and foremost, remember to write anything and everything down about each incident. There’s no such thing as too many details when it comes to incident reporting; it’s the only thing that will be able to help point to any underlying causes of issues.
Identify the accident
The first step towards identifying corrective actions is to thoroughly record the incident itself.
Step by step, what happened? What injuries (if any) were caused as a result of the incident? Was there anything notable going on before the accident or near-miss? Was the worker following your written safety program and procedures? These are all questions you should be asking workers when they bring something up. Again, details are key!
Identify the location
Secondly, pin down the exact location of each incident. This will help you see if they’re grouped in a certain location in the workplace or scattered about.
Identify the time
The time might seem like an insignificant detail, however, in some cases, accidents increase with shift work. If your accidents are being reported in the wee hours of the morning, it’s safe to say one of two things: your shift workers are more apt to report or the shift work is directly related to incident prevalence.
Identify the employee
Maybe a no-brainer, identifying the employee that the incidents are affecting is critical. If you see a name popping up on your list over and over, it can tell you a lot of things about that person’s work habits and identify room for improvement.
Search for trends
Once you tack down all of the smaller details, look for trends in your data. If you don’t see something right away, look closer; they’re probably there! You might notice that all your tripping near-misses are taking place near a single exterior door. When you go make a quick inspection, you notice a small dip in the concrete that catches your boot far too easily.
Maybe you notice that your “graveyard shift” workers are having relatively more issues with machinery than their day shift counterparts.
If you’ve had a couple workers in the past week report being stung in the same location, chances are you’ll find the perfect spot for bees or wasps to make their nests. Eradicating the nest after a couple of minor stings will prevent someone being stung who is allergic and needs to use an Epi-Pen.
Any of these examples aren’t especially “fun” to sit and record, but each record houses valuable information for you to identify the root cause of accidents and come up with appropriate interventions as necessary.
For more tips on how to improve your safety program, visit the health & safety section of our blog to learn more!