Don’t Let Your Incident Management System Sink Like the Titanic

Ask a group of people what caused the Titanic to sink and most will say, “An iceberg.” In reality, the Titanic tragedy was caused by a series of events—management failures, poor-quality construction, employee errors/lack of training, poor planning, and either failure to track incidents or the inability to analyze incident data in a meaningful way—that ended with the sinking of the ship.  

As explained in the new Insight Report, The Five Things You Need to Know about Incident Reporting and Management,” safety and environmental disasters rarely occur because of a single event or incident, which is why it’s critical to adopt an incident management system that identifies root causes and protects your business from future occurrences.  

Workplace incidents can be painful for injured employees, the environment, and your organization’s bottom line, but incident management and reporting doesn’t have to be a pain point for you. 

Effective incident reporting and risk management systems allow you to do the following: 

Describe the incident in question – Thorough investigations into workplace incidents—like those at accident scenes outside the workplace—can help organize seemingly conflicting evidence and arrive at an accurate picture of what really happened. 

Discover the real cause or causes – As we’ve learned with many incident investigations, the underlying cause or causes might not be what you see on the surface. If the real cause or causes are not identified, then the investigation and any corrective actions potentially are a waste of resources. It’s like treating symptoms without curing the disease. 

Determine the risk of the incident occurring again – What is the likelihood of recurrence and the potential for major loss? These two factors are critical in determining appropriate corrective action.  

Develop adequate controls to minimize or eliminate the cause of the incident – A thorough investigation should determine the true cause of the incident and will dictate appropriate controls to ensure the incident does not reoccur.  

Define and track trends – Few incidents are truly isolated events. When your incident reports are analyzed, you should be able to identify trends. Once trends are identified, talk to employees, supervisors, and managers. They might have been concealing or ignoring issues, or they might have reported issues but corrective action wasn’t taken. 

Demonstrate concern for employees who are injured or who witness incidents where injuries occurred to coworkers – Prompt, objective investigations reassure employees that their wellbeing is important and that the organization does not want a repeat of that incident.  

The creation of incident reports, which are a vital component of any incident management system, does not have to be difficult or confusing. EHS Incident Reporting and Management software empowers you to capture, track, investigate, analyze, and report on all incidents and near-misses, including injuries and illnesses, spills, property damage, and vehicle incidents. 

To discover best practices for incident reporting and management, download “The Five Things You Need to Know About Incident Management and Reporting” now. 

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About Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the Global EHSQ Content Lead for Intelex Technologies. Formerly the Content Director for EHS Today, she has been writing about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990. Her work as a journalist and editor has been recognized with national and international awards. She has been interviewed about occupational safety and health for national business publications, documentaries and television programs; has served as a panelist on roundtables; and has provided the keynote address for occupational safety and health conferences.

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