• Catherine
    I am relatively new to H&S in NZ and am now responsible for the H&S processes for roughly 50 people working in various med/high risk situations. I want to overhaul the incident reporting procedure as we suspiciously have no near misses...
    The current set up treats OFI forms as the first stage of incident reporting and an off-the-shelf injury report form alongside it. In my opinion, an OFI is a totally different thing; could be nothing to do with any incident, or the result of an incident investigation but definitely not the first port of call. My senior manager disagrees and likes the current set up. Is this the standard way of operating in NZ?

    Could I get some opinions on this? I want to make sure of my facts before I decide whether or not to firmly suggesting a wholesale change.
    (p.s.- change would entail using a small, much simpler 'near miss' report card and an incident report form with optional injury/plant damage sections).
    Many thanks for your time!
  • Tony Walton
    Hi Catherine. Instead of relying on form filling by employees - I've found that talking about near misses within their peer groups to be far more effective. The team meeting notes simply make recommendations for improvement - more proactive than counting near misses!
  • Lee Keighley
    I too have found that forms don't really get the desired result as they seem to sit on peoples desks, not get forwarded. Also we have tried Observation cards, smart cards and they don't seem to work much better. I send out weekly toolbox talks and pick a subject and it gets discussed and then I provide a feedback form back from the toolbox talks. This is working at present, but next month it may not. You just have to keep trying different methods. But it's a no to forms for me (at present).
  • LouiseB
    I'm new to H&S in NZ too. Nice to meet you.

    At my current workplace we have been going through a change of reporting procedures. It use to be paper forms but has changed into a online only forms which remain anonymous unless discussion form management is required. We have also simplified the form to be as quick and easy as possible. However it is still difficult to get staff to engage with it. There have been many times where I have filled out a form on someone's behalf because they are unsure or feel under time pressure.

    My workplace has a few sites across the country and other sites have got observation and identification/done it cards. However trying to bring this onto other sites has been difficult. Tool box meetings are in some places and not others and seem to work really well encouraging group discussions and actions to be taken.

    It is hard to get a change in culture here, however if the OFI forms are not producing accurate or sufficient data to create an incident management report then I guess you could suggest that your leaving your workplace vulnerable to hidden incidents, hazards and non-compliance.
    Most of the time I don't think its the system, but the engagement between the system and staff. I think @Tony Walton, is right. Group discussions are better when talking about near misses and engaging staff in the system, but managing the data and keeping track of changes is another can or worms. Something which the forms/OFI need to fit neatly into.
  • Catherine
    Thank you all for taking the time to respond. I have been working with people who are desk based, so clicking a link and completing a form was fine. Now I am working with fabricators and engineers who never access computers and don't all have smart phones (or want to use them for work).
    The idea of being anonymous to start with is good, but with only 50 employees, 40 of whom are in the workshops, they all know who did what.
    With your system, @LouiseB, is the identity of the reporter recorded and accessible by someone (say the H&S Officer), but left off any reports going to managers? Otherwise, would it not be hard to identify if there is a pattern with a certain person always having near misses or incidents?

    @Lee - it is so difficult to get something that works! To make a change I am going to have to develop a system and present it in its entirety to the management team who are totally on board with so much but have a blind spot when it comes to the reporting- people just 'should' use the current system. This means I need to get as much info as possible about different options available without being able to trial them out or raise them casually.

    @Tony: We have have weekly toolboxes where I cover a certain topic (e.g. confined spaces when we have a lot of such work coming up) but with management reps there, I think people are more resistant/defensive and don't want to raise their head above the parapet in case it gets shot down. The culture is not bad, it is just that they have all worked together for years and personalities come in to play 'oh well, you are always complaining about that' and 'well you are always the one that rushes things' etc.

    If you could just supply me with the magic cure-all, that would be perfect... ;)

    Thanks again.
  • LouiseB
    Hey Catherine,

    Yes our system has these as two required fields. Who reported the incident and who was involved. Only health and safety people or people and capabilities (health issues) with appropriate reasons to see these incidents are made aware of names at first, i.e. health and safety manager. It is then up to the person taking responsibility for the incident to have desecration about who they tell names too. This might mean talking about it in a safety meeting and all staff which are given details are expected to know the confidentiality of the situation too. However, although I work in with a wide variety of people here, everyone is very open about mistakes and near misses they make/happen, even if they don't use the system to report it.

    I think mostly this is a cultural thing we have. The no blame policy seems to work well and people feel happy to talk to managers and health and safety staff about issue and problems.

    No magic cure-all though... I'll make sure to patent it when I create one though :wink:
  • David Quinn
    Our system provides the facility for mobile auditing / checks so each month we have the target that every field worker has an individual check on them, usually performed by a supervisor or manager that takes between 5 - 10 minutes.
    Each month we have 1 or more questions about their view on safety. The current question asks how they would improve the PPE they are issued with, but they have ranged from safety knowledge, behaviours to hazards and work methods.
    Answers to these questions are populated into an automatic report and dashboard so we have a mostly live measure that gives us far more pro-active responses than ever before than with just passive near miss or hazard IDs. This also gets rid of the blame or the fear of being held accountable for a near miss because they are telling us what is unsafe, not what happened when who put their whats where.

    It has the added benefit of evidence showing one aspect we are engaging with the workforce as well as an ongoing set of data we can analyse trends with regarding their behaviours, activities and even checks they have the training for the job they were doing at the time.
  • Kim Pryor
    Hey Catherine,

    We have had similar issues within our workplace as well. I joined the team 18months ago to discover quite quickly that there low injury rates were actually low reporting rates and HZID's a near misses weren't even considered a thing. Part of our issue was the forms in place with a different form for each different type of safety report that could be made. So to start we streamlined the form, reduced the employee section to Name, Date, Location, brief Description and signature, then made the supervisors responsible for completing the rest (injury details etc.) This change came of course with training for all staff on the new forms with lots of emphasis on how simple and easy there were to fill out and assure staff that they would not be blamed or penalised in any way for reporting a concern. We saw a great improvement in our reporting levels in general.

    This year we decided we needed to step up the hazard id and near miss (or as we call it now the "oh sh***t that was close" moments) and to help with this we put together a behaviour based safety program which has included choosing some safety champions (not elected reps but staff who believe that safety is important), weekly meetings for the new safety team, developing our own walk safe observations that we are doing each week and time on the floor talking to other staff about safety (as part of our regular meetings). We also removed the absolute requirement for forms to be filled in and chose to include walk observations, verbal feedback, photos, emails and text messages as a means of recording the damage, hazard or near miss situations.

    This safety team has been in full force on our site the last 6 weeks and we've seen our damage, hazard and near miss reporting double so far. The managers freaked out a little at the increase in reports but after a robust conversation I was able to assure them that we are not any more hazardous than we were, we're just closer to capturing the true levels of safety incidents/concerns in our factory. We've also managed to improve our compliance to safety rules - mainly around the wearing of PPE which has historically been an issue for us in terms of both people safety and food safety. I think we'll need to nurse the system for a little while to make sure that it's imbedded in our site culture but it's been well worth the effort so far.
  • Simon Lawrence
    I agree with Tony Walton. The longer you have been in safety, the more you realise there are only two things that actually make a difference: Leadership, and safety routinely being part of communication and discussion. Even becoming something of a consensus.

    Whenever we hear ourselves saying "this piece of paper or that method didn't work", what we are really saying is "We provided a boat but nobody rowed it. Never mind there was an absence of someone called the coxswain, nobody used our lovely boat. It was right there in their faces AND we put up signs!"

    We fish around for "systems that work" but systems only work when there are people who enroll and inspire others every day. Perhaps remorselessly if necessary.

    I like car analogies. Anyone can buy a car if they have the resources. But it doesn't become a car until it has oil in the sump, fuel in the tank, a competent driver with a road map or route to take, checks, inspections, maintenance and last but not least, some "owner" who makes it their business to ensure all that stuff happens. Failure or non-existence of any of those sub-systems leads to the car grinding to a halt. Or never starting.

    Catherine essentially identified the problem with her "car". My senior manager disagrees and likes the current set up. I'm not judging who is right or wrong, but all replies apart from Tony's are offering ideas about systems.

    It's no good offering the "car owner" a new coat of paint if they don't see the need.

    I'd be interested to know at what level (if any) that person is engaged in health and safety, or how they delegate it. Do they have goals for it? What duties do they have, or are they aware of them? Do they require line managers and supervisors to be pro-active in safety? Because "What interests my boss fascinates me". Are they content to just keep a lid on things?

    Maybe they are a supporter and therefore actively involved. In that case, some carefully chosen questions about the opportunities of "Oh shit" moments might help. How about "This (photo) was what happened. No one was hurt, but as you can see, it could have been very much more nasty".

    Whatever is done, there has to be an understanding and agreement with the boss first. Actions taken on near misses or workers' grizzles does more to gain engagement and consensus than a thousand pieces of paper.
  • Denise
    Hi Catherine
    In our system it is treated as an "Opportunity for Improvement" so covers safety, environment and quality. It may be an initial report prior to an investigation or it may simply be a headsup that a hazard has been identified and dealt to or a nearmiss occurred, to share the information with the rest of the team. Each Manager is responsible to followup to ensure appropriate immediate actions have been taken to avoid a recurrence or whether other resources are required to assist.

    Agree with LouiseB no magic cure-all - it needs to be about encouraging people to share their knowledge, using their expertise to assist with finding solutions, taking care of others and providing feedback so they can see the positive changes happening. It also helps when they understand that by reporting, trends can be identified and even minor things that may be happening often can be monitored and tracked to assist to find solutions. CEO support with the message is really important and should not be underestimated.

    We use an app on Smartphones which has assisted with increasing the reporting with those who don't like filling out forms but in saying that were also having good results with paper copies as they would at least verbally report to their Manager who would assist to fill the form out but now we are getting the pictures too and as they say a photo can save a lot of words. Good luck with the journey....

    PS forgot to add in the early days we placed all the names of people who reported an incident into a hat each month, drew a name out and they won a voucher. Some would have reported anyway but It gave some an incentive and reason to make the effort and we improved the hazard and nearmiss reporting.
  • Chrissy Roff
    Hi Denise, would you mind sharing what app you are using I am on the look at for an effective one. Cheers Chrissy
  • Denise
    Hi Chrissy, we use the LuciditySoftware.com.au app. Cheers Denise
  • Chrissy Roff
    Thanks for that Denise, Cheers Chrissy
  • Tony Walton
    Here's a great article from Linkedin today - right on topic. Suggests we get the strategy sorted before blindly following others processes - safety is drowning in self-imposed bureaucracy. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/were-making-safety-difficult-four-ways-make-easier-harris-csp/
  • TracyR
    Hi Catherine

    I would make the following recommendations:
    Establish a safety line that all incidents and near misses are reported to you
    Format a simple event for that cane be used to report any event. You can classify them when you put them on a register
    Use the Worksafe NZ duty holder review template for the investiagation as comprehaensive and no need to re-invent the wheel

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