Establish a Process for Workers to Report Safety Issues – Safetip #212

Safety Tip and Best Practice
June 10, 2020

Our latest Safetip is about creating and communicating a process for workers to report safety issues.

What Gets Reported?

Organizations use Enablon to help workers capture and report safety issues through a computer or a mobile app. They understand that frontline workers (including contractors) are best positioned to identify issues, and they aim to encourage reporting by making it as easy as possible through technology.

If you’re considering following their example, be aware that implementing a software solution and asking workers to report incidents and events is not enough. A process must also be established and communicated.

The first step is to define the types of issues that you want workers to report. For example, they should be able to report:

  • Incidents, including:
    • Accidents
    • Near Misses (i.e. non-injury incidents)
  • Observations of:
    • Unsafe or at-risk behaviors
    • Unsafe or at-risk conditions
  • Hazards
  • Any other concerns

Encourage Reporting

OSHA’s Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs explain how to encourage workers to report safety and health concerns. The steps can also be used as guidance for creating a reporting process that can look something like this:

  1. Define the procedure for workers to report injuries, illnesses, near misses, observations, hazards, and other safety and health concerns. This should also include steps on how to use EHS software to report issues. In addition, OSHA suggests including an option for anonymous reporting to reduce fear of reprisal.
  2. Emphasize that management will use reported information only to improve workplace safety and health, and that no worker will experience retaliation for bringing such information to management’s attention.
  3. Empower all workers to initiate or request a temporary suspension or shutdown of any work activity or operation they believe to be unsafe (i.e. stop work authority).
  4. Report back to workers routinely and frequently about actions taken in response to their concerns and suggestions.
  5. Involve workers in finding solutions to reported issues.

Ultimately, what is done with the information is more important than the information itself. Be sure that the information captured and reported by workers and contractors is used to eliminate hazards, implement controls, improve procedures, or strengthen the safety culture.


Our Safetips share safety tips or best practices that contribute to safety excellence. Visit our blog regularly for new Safetips!

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Author

JG

Jean-Grégoire Manoukian

Content Thought Leader - Wolters Kluwer | Enablon