5 Tips for Encouraging Hazard Reporting
23 February 2023 - Evotix
Hazard reporting is a crucial piece of any company’s health and safety puzzle. It ensures that management can step in when there’s potential for danger. But many companies struggle to encourage their employees to report hazards when they're spotted.
Here are 5 ways your company can boost hazard reporting across your organization:
1. Teach your employees to recognize hazards.
Teaching your employees how to identify hazards is an important first step. Your employees are your most valuable resource when it comes to health and safety. They’re the ones doing the work, and they see things that management may not notice.
When you teach your employees about common hazards specific to your organization’s workplace, the likelihood of a hazard going unreported drops.
2. Keep it Stupidly Simple (KISS).
Everyone agrees that reporting is important, but many companies don’t have a hazard reporting system in place.
Even when a system does exist, it often involves too many steps. Many organizations ask employees to submit a physical form when reporting a hazard. In this system, an employee might have to find a manager to ask for a physical form, describe the hazard in detail and return it to the manager. This procedure takes employees away from their work and wastes time and energy.
Providing your employees with access to health and safety software—especially software that runs on a mobile application—can make flagging a hazard simple, easy and instant. Some software solutions even allow employees to snap a picture of the hazard, saving the time needed to write a description. To learn more about the benefits of such software, check out this incident reporting and management software.
3. Show employees the personal benefits.
It may sound cynical, but it’s true: employees probably won’t be motivated to report hazards because a manager tells them reporting is a ‘business priority.’ Instead of discussing how reporting hazards can affect their organization, managers should discuss how reporting hazards can benefit employees personally.
From spending time with family to relaxing hobbies, employees’ lives outside of work depend on their health. If an injury were to occur, a worker might not be able to fully participate in their lives outside of work. Management can emphasize that when employees report hazards, they increase the likelihood that they—and their co-workers—can stay safe and healthy for the activities that matter most to them.
4. Keep it positive.
Health and safety can be a negative topic. That’s because many companies won’t discuss it until after an incident occurs—or, in many cases, until a regular check-in comes around.
One way to fix this problem is to focus on everyday health and safety practices. Doing so can help shape safety into something positive in your employees’ minds. Another way to keep health and safety positive is to celebrate the wins. For example, if an employee reports a hazard and management makes a change, thanking that employee for flagging the hazard—or, if your company uses a software system, sending a notification about the change—can turn health and safety into a positive thing.
5. Create a positive feedback loop.
In many cases, an employee reports a hazard and management makes a change, but the employee who reported the hazard doesn’t find out the changes that were made. One way to encourage further reporting is to show employees that reporting leads to actual change.
Demonstrating the results of an employee’s report will make them feel valued and empowered. Ultimately, the goal is to celebrate health and safety wins. Showing your employees that management is listening to and cares about their reports can have a significant positive effect on future reporting.
Making these simple but effective changes can boost reporting across your organization. For more information on hazard and incident reporting, check out our podcast, Two Bald Guys Talking Safety, and episode 207, “Dukes of Hazard (Spotting).”
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