Safetip #138: Pilot Site for an Observation Reporting Program
Observations Reported by Workers May Reveal Hazards
There are many ways to identify workplace hazards than can lead to a risk of an incident, illness or injury. Past incidents, including accidents and near misses, can be investigated to determine the underlying hazards. A more proactive way is to conduct periodic workplace inspections.
A program where workers report observations of unsafe behaviors or conditions is also helpful, because it empowers each frontline worker to take part in a proactive and continuous process that helps to identify hazards and improve safety. Observations can help to reveal previously unknown hazards.
Before rolling out an observation reporting program to all locations, run a pilot site to see what works, what doesn’t work, and what improvements should be made.
Key Questions to Ask During a Pilot
The observation reporting program should be deployed at a pilot site for a specific amount of time (e.g. month, quarter). During the pilot, go through these key questions to help you determine the types of changes to make before rolling out the program to all locations:
- Are people participating in the program? What is the percentage of total workers who reported at least one observation? What is the average number of observations per workers? If participation is low, would anonymity address the problem?
- Is it easy to report observations? Ask workers if they are satisfied with the way observations are reported. Are there too many fields to fill, is the process user-friendly and quick, etc.
- Is there enough data per observation? Are you satisfied with the quantity and quality of data received for each observation? For example, should images be submitted for each observation systematically?
- Are you getting the expected number of observations? If you’re getting too many observations, is it because they are not valuable (see following bullet) or because the program is genuinely working well? Similarly, if you’re not getting enough observations, is it due to a lack of participation (see bullet #1), unclear instructions, or because there are genuinely not many unsafe behaviors or conditions to report?
- What is the value of observations? Are you getting too much noise and not enough signals? Are people entering random observations just for the sake of reporting something? Should instructions be modified so people enter better observations?
- Are you noticing variances that should be investigated further? For example, are workers from the night shift participating less, are workers of a specific team participating more? How can these variances be explained?
After running the pilot and going through the questions, you are ready to deploy the program throughout all locations. After the program is fully implemented, consider correlating the number of observations with incident rates, and rating the value of observations.
Finally, use an EHS mobile app to encourage workers to participate in the observation program. Reporting observations through mobile devices makes the process much easier and quicker for workers, thereby encouraging participation.
Visit Enablon Insights again on Wednesday September 5 for a new Safetip!
View the recording of our webinar “From Compliance to Pro-Active Safety with Mobility” to learn how Lendlease, a global leader in construction and real estate, is leveraging mobility to encourage workers to report observations: