Workplace Solutions Incident investigation/reporting

Incident investigation and reporting

What environmental, health and safety processes can integrate with the “incidents application” to reduce the number of an organization’s incidents quickly and effectively?


Photo: Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock

Responding is Brenda Percy, product marketing analyst, EtQ Inc., Farmingdale, NY.

To maintain a high level of safety within your organization, the ability to be proactive in addressing incidents within the environmental, health and safety industry is key. In particular, there is a focus on reducing job-related incidents to ensure a safe workforce and maintain compliance with regulatory agencies such as OSHA.

In most organizations, dealing with any adverse events and incidents that occur is a process that must be done quickly and accurately to ensure the root cause is determined and the process has been fixed to mitigate the risk of future incidents. To manage this process while greatly reducing the chance for error, many companies turn to an automated EHS management system’s incidents application.

The EHS system’s incidents application is an automated method of handling any adverse events that come into the quality system. The EHS system also includes additional processes that integrate with the incidents application to effectively reduce the number of incidents in an organization.

These tools include:

Risk management. Risk often is used as the benchmark for challenges and improvement areas within an organization. This risk data enables executives to make decisions based on high risks. Continual improvement will occur depending on this data. This makes risk management a great asset to the organization. Using risk tools, you can identify trends in events that occurred in separate departments, allowing you to more easily recognize the root cause of incidents and put in place preventive measures to stop them from recurring. It provides a broad look into all environmental and safety events across the enterprise, allowing strategic decisions to be made based on this overreaching visibility. The risk tool ultimately enables EHS managers to see all high risks and stop them at the root cause.

Corrective action. Much like using risk management to manage your incidents, the corrective action process also can determine whether a correction made to an incident was effective. Incident data can automatically be inherited into the corrective action process. Corrective action takes measures to fix the issue at the root cause and then determine the measures taken were effective. Risk tools are used to measure any residual risk and determine whether a risk was reduced to acceptable levels to prevent the incident from recurring. If a high level of risk is still present, you must take another approach to mitigate recurrence of the incident.

Reporting. An organization must have the ability to report on its data and use that information to promote continual improvement throughout its enterprise. These reports provide insight into the tracking and trending of all incidents within your organization, allowing you to pinpoint the exact cause of these incidents, apply corrective actions if needed and ultimately reduce the risk associated with recurrence.

These capabilities will result in an intuitive solution that will allow your organization to reduce the amount of incidents that occur and ensure these incidents do not recur. Tools such as risk management and corrective action will reduce risks associated with incidents to acceptable levels and will correct any incidents that pose a high risk to your organization. Enterprise reporting tools will enable visibility throughout the organization and ensure quick reporting to regulatory agencies.

Using technology to automate the way you manage your organization’s incidents will ensure a process that is intuitive, fast and consistent.

Editor's note: This article represents the independent views of the author and should not be construed as a National Safety Council endorsement.

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