The job of a safety leader is to ensure that employees have the tools, strategies, and motivation to become exceptional safety performers.

Most leaders would agree with this, in theory.

But we may make the mistake of expecting workers to be actively involved in safety, without actually giving workers the ability to “own” safety in their day-to-day work.

Said another way, it’s a common mistake to not give workers the necessary tools to truly empower them in improving their health and safety. 

Along the same lines, we may think we’re giving workers responsibility and authority, but if we don’t make expectations to them extremely clear, we may feel like they are falling short.

The good news is this: even though this may be common, there are actionable ways to empower and equip workers so that they feel that they can “own” and contribute to safety.

For starters, you can think of yourself as a coach when it comes to safety. As a coach, your job is to ensure that he or she puts their players in a position to win.

Put your people in the position to win—not to avoid a loss.

To do so, you need a mix of responsibility, empowerment, ownership, and buy-in. To get there, you’ll need to invest in tools, resources, and/or technology that can help workers be as empowered as possible in promoting safety—for themselves, but for others around them, too.

As just one example, with iReportSource, your frontline safety workers have the ability to help manage safety from anywhere…and with any device. They can report incidents and hazards in a streamlined way, right from their phone or computer. (That’s easier and much more standardized compared to paper reports!) 

It’s a tool that also allows them to retrieve relevant documents right when they need them. It makes staying on top of compliance easy since they can easily track the active (and expired) training sessions they need to do…or that someone else needs to do. Additionally, it makes tracking corrective action and tasks assigned easy and simplified, so no detail is ever lost.

Not giving workers the tools they need to feel empowered is just one mistake that can happen, and it can happen no matter the size of your organization. Here are 4 other major safety mistakes you may be making…and how you can properly address each.

1. A lack of consistency in your claims management process

Does it seem like you’re sometimes chasing down paperwork on incidents and claims? Or maybe you recognize how you are paying too much for a poorly managed claim? Or maybe you find it difficult to support all your documents that you need to send to insurance and corporate…

All of those are symptoms of a poorly managed claims management process that isn’t as standardized as it ought be.  

Standardization in your claims management process should be across five areas, at minimum:

  • How you collect information and evidence for claims 
  • How you ensure individuals receive appropriate medical treatment 
  • How you empower the individual to get back to work 
  • How you communication—with the employee 
  • How you implement measures to prevent future incidents/accidents

How to address it: You need a streamlined, standardized way to take control of your claims management process. 

iReportSource allows you to ensure consistency in your process, so you can easily record, report and retrieve incidents. Then you can identify root cause and assign correction actions, hassle-free. iReportSource also automates OSHA Forms 300, 300A, 301 for your company and all your locations. 

2. No serious investigation of near misses

Many companies lack a process or lack the discipline for investigating near-misses. The problem is that the time after an incident occurs is critical in collecting information that can then be used to minimize or prevent future incidents. 

How to address it: You need to be focused on answering several questions, including “How did this happen?” and, “What can we do now to prevent this from happening again?” The first step is having a formal way in which this will occur, which can be made simpler by using a tool like iReportSource.

The investigation may include information such as the date, time, the location, details on those involved, witnesses, environmental conditions, key circumstances leading up to the incident, and many, many other factors. A great deal of information should be captured, and it has to be done in a timely manner to help ensure accuracy.

Use a tool like iReportSource that will prompt, cue, and guide any team member so that they capture all necessary forms of data (via pictures, interviews, audio, text and more). Having that information will be extremely beneficial as you examine root cause. 

Just as important is the corrective action you’ll take to help reduce risk so the incident/accident/near miss doesn’t happen (again). It’s also what will help you make the right decisions to re-build confidence, morale and your safety culture as a whole.

3. No standard way of collecting or leveraging your safety data

In many organizations, it takes days or weeks to compile the data you need in terms of safety and health. 

Then, many safety or HR leaders are spending hours (and hours) compiling that data and then sorting and working with that data in spreadsheets. 

The problem is two-fold: one, it takes far too much energy to compile the necessary data. Second, by the time the data is compiled and then put into a usable format, the data may be outdated. 

How to address it: With a comprehensive tool like iReportSource, you can focus on being strategic versus being tactical or “in the weeds”…or quite literally, in your spreadsheets!

Effective safety management systems can give you real-time performance dashboards that pull in all the data you need, no matter how many divisions or departments you’re working with. That means you can have report metrics or scorecards on-demand, right when you need them, and right when they are most useful to your organization.

Organizations that do this well will be able to have data that clearly tells a story. They will also be able to show what the outcomes are, and then how it impacts and/or benefits workers in the organization. It’s a standardized, efficient way to finally be able to put your safety data to use so you can improve safety.

4. Failure to share your incident report with all workers

If an incident or accident occurs, it’s going to be an emotionally-charged environment.

Unfortunately, it’s all too common for employers to fail to share the actual findings and even the resulting corrective actions with workers. This is a major mistake as it can appear as if management is being secretive. In an already potentially sensitive environment, it can add to feelings of mistrust. Just as bad, it can appear that safety isn’t being taken seriously, even if the incident was investigated thoroughly.

How to address it: As a safety leader, you’re the one who needs to make sure the incident reporting and investigation process is handled the right way. Part of that is about sharing your findings.  

Realize that openness can start a meaningful, productive dialogue with workers—and that, in turn, can help minimize the likelihood of future incidents or accidents. You can even start to think of an incident report as a learning tool for your organization. 

When you share the report of your findings and/or corrective actions with all your workers, you actively involve them in improving safety. In doing so, you continue to reinforce how you want them to feel open and comfortable with sharing near-misses, hazards, or other issues they see. 

After all, they already know a mistake or incident of some kind occurred. By including them in the process, you’re showing you really do trust them and value their contributions and participation in safety.

Improve Your Workers’ Comp Claims Management Process with iReportSource

Avoiding mistakes like these will help you look beyond what happened so that you can know why something happened, and how you can prevent it from happening again. Turn to iReportSource to improve and streamline claims management and everyday safety.

Interested in a demo of iReportSource?

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