Incident reporting is critical, and near-miss reporting is important, but hazard reporting is also extremely necessary for the safety of your workforce.
All hazards that are found in the workplace should be reported immediately to a supervisor, the safety department or management. This is a standard practice that should exist in any workplace and every employee should be made aware that this is the appropriate action to take should they encounter any hazard or potential hazard they discover. However, many employees may feel (justified or not) that the hazards they encounter, sometimes on a daily basis, are just how things are and reporting them is not necessary. Designing, setting up and communicating a Hazard Reporting Program is a good idea for any business to help avoid this potentially dangerous attitude. Implementing a Hazard Reporting Program will help ensure that your workplace is safer for your employees and reduce costly incidents or business interruptions.
All employees should be trained in hazard recognition and avoidance. Hazard Reporting is a critical part of this training so that employees know exactly what to do when they encounter a hazard they can’t immediately correct. Don’t get overwhelmed by the word “training” because you can design the training to be as simple as you need for your specific team. Depending on the types of hazards your employees might encounter, this training could be a mandatory all-day in-person training session for high-hazard jobs, or on-the-job training led by a competent supervisor, or even a 30-minute safety meeting. For low-hazard jobs, at least consider an annual online training or email reminder so employees understand hazard reporting is not only acceptable but also expected.
During hazard reporting training, the following points should be emphasized:
You can start simple when it comes to implementing a hazard reporting system in your workplace, and then let this program evolve as the company grows, significant workforce is hired or new industry sectors are added.
Here are some examples of what a hazard reporting program might look like, simple to more complex. Design a program that works for your company and your employees. Document the procedure in a step-by-step format that is easy to understand and the communicate to your employees what the process is and where they can find the procedure to reference at any time.
Incident and accident reporting is critical, and near-miss incident reporting is important, but hazard reporting is also extremely necessary for the safety of your workforce. Addressing a potential hazard before it causes an injury or property damage can save any company significant losses. Giving employees an avenue that they can pursue to report hazards and unsafe acts empowers them to feel like they are an integral part of the company, but only if those hazards are addressed, corrected and resolved.
A successful workplace safety and health program includes a hazard reporting process that is effective. Hazard reporting ensures employees:
Hazard reporting ensures that supervisors, managers and the safety department have the information they need to control hazards before they become a liability, ultimately saving the company money.
If employees are reluctant to report hazards in the workplace, here are some great ways to improve the quality of hazard reporting in your safety program.
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