How to Make Incident Reporting Work for Your Site

How to Make Incident Reporting Work for Your Site

Guest Post

Incident reporting has been long considered one of the most effective pre-emptive measures to reduce on-site injuries and achieve a ‘zero harm’ objective. However, implementing incident reporting can be difficult exercise – how do you build a culture of trust so that staff are encouraged to report incidents without feeling like a whistle-blower?

Catherine McTigue, HSE Location Manager for Australia West at Worley Parsons, believes that this is a common challenge faced by safety professionals.

“I think open and honest incident reporting is something that we all struggle with from time to time,” said McTigue.

She says that a successful reporting culture is built on a ‘culture of trust’ and that it means empowering staff so they feel comfortable to report incidents.

“[Reporting] involves people identifying incidents and knowing how to report up the line – but it also relies on those people being confident that the report will be valued. They need to be comfortable that the response will be positive,” said McTigue.

“I’ve been on sites where incident reporting is considered a weakness or some sort of betrayal of work mates.”

For a reporting system to be effective and contribute to reducing or eliminating injuries, it must begin with staff education. Onsite workers must to be able to look at their work environment and recognise where they think there are loopholes or gaps in the safety system.

“It’s about understanding the point at which the safety system has gone out of control… and then raising it as an issue through the incident reporting process. That way, we [safety teams and stakeholders] can rectify situations of risk before they actually convert into incidents that cause harm or damage,” said McTigue.

“When people on site start realising that these sorts of events are incidents, they become more aware of what it takes to have a safe site and can start to expect that of their own teams.”

She says staff response and a respect for incident reporting helps the cause.

“You can’t achieve site safety without feedback on how the systems are working and about how well the people on site are respecting those systems. That’s where incident reporting fits in.”

McTigue ultimately notes three cornerstones to a solid safety culture:

· People must know safety is a clear expectation of the company and have a clear understanding of how and when to report;

· People should know that they will be thanked for reporting incidents and not victimised;

· There must be a purpose to reporting. Mangers need show this and take notice of the report, discuss the response, investigate the incident, make the changes and check they are effective and then share the lessons with others.

Catherine McTigue is a key speaker at the Safety Leadership & Behavioural-Based Safety Construction conference to be held in May 2012 in Perth. For more information about this event, please visit www.SafetyInConstruction.com.au, call 02 9229 1000 or email enquire@iqpc.com.au

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This article was written by Construction IQ for the Safety Leadership & Behavioural-Based Safety Construction conference to be held in May 2012 in Perth. For more information about this event, please visit www.SafetyInConstruction.com.au, call 02 9229 1000 or email enquire@iqpc.com.au

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