Safetip #10: Incentives to Encourage Near Miss Reporting

January 06, 2016

Happy New Year to everyone who follows Enablon Insights and our weekly Safetips!

In one of our previous Safetips, we talked about near miss reporting and how to help overcome reluctance from employees. We had mentioned that many firms track near miss reporting as a leading indicator to measure safety performance, and that organizations need to establish a reporting culture where workers are encouraged to report near misses.

In this week’s Safetip, the first for 2016, we also talk about near miss reporting and another way to encourage worker participation in the program, if you do not opt for anonymity, or if the initial temporary period of anonymity has ended.

Incentives Can Help Establish a Reporting Culture

While anonymity represents one way of getting people to report near misses, another approach is to offer incentives that encourage workers to report. For example, the company can recognize the participation of workers in the identification and reporting of hazards. Other incentives include awards, plaques recognizing employee contributions, participation in a draw, points-based programs that provide prizes, etc. Incentives show that near miss reporting is valued in the organization, which enhances a reporting culture. It also engages employees in meaningful safety activities, and strengthens an on-going process of risk reduction throughout the company.

Beware of Some Types of Incentives and Quotas

If you decide to offer incentives that encourage near miss reporting, be careful about certain approaches. For example, recognizing supervisory and management performance based on OSHA recordable rates outcomes. This type of incentive has been shown to suppress reporting and can lead to punitive actions that further undermine safety efforts, according to the National Safety Council (NCS). Another example is the use of quotas. Some employers may be tempted to set quotas to entice workers to report near misses. But quotas could negatively affect the quality of the information employers receive, according to Jeff Ruebesam, Corporate VP of HSE at Fluor Corporation. According to Ruebesam, if people look at near miss reporting as a mandatory quota item, they might just get it out of the way right away. Workers who have met their quota may then ignore subsequent and potentially more important near misses.

Additional Resources

Here are links to additional resources on near miss reporting, some of which were used for this post:

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