One of the questions we are so often asked about health and safety software, is whether it will save the business money.
On the surface, it can look like health and safety software is an added cost as opposed to something that could save your business money. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Health and safety software can save your businesses huge amounts in insurance, injury claims and compliance costs, which can not only hurt your business financially but in terms of reputation damage too. Discover why health and safety software can be one of the best ways to save money, and ensure that you have the best practices in place as your business grows.
Here’s some of the ways health and safety software will help you save money:
Improve how your business responds
One of the main costs associated with health and safety that set people back are the response times and how the business responds to an incident.
These are the areas where mistakes can be made, incidents can be left unreported and ultimately the business can be liable. A significant amount of time and money can be saved by implementing more effective safety management and incident reporting systems that help you stay on top of everything that is going on within your business.
Your business could save money with these systems by improving the response time, minimising clean up, encouraging a faster return to normal productivity and preventing the need to replace damaged equipment.
Safety systems that help you set out how employees and contractors should respond to an incident can significantly improve emergency response time, which in turn saves money.
One of the main ways that businesses lose money when it comes to health and safety is when they don’t comply with rules and regulations and end up being fined.
Compliance is crucial to reducing fines and ensuring that things are done the right way on your site or project. With health and safety software in place employees are aware of the guidelines and have an easy to read guide on hand on their mobile or tablet. This helps to minimise error on the businesses behalf and means that your teams can identify and communicate with the right person when unsure of what to do.
In this regard, the compliance goal becomes much easier to achieve and maintain, which reduces the likelihood of any penalties that can add up in the long run.
Reduce costs associated with accidents and incidents
The cost of having an incident occur on your site can be shockingly high. Correcting mistakes, paying fines, or paying out to compensate staff who are injured on your site can make a huge dent in your profits and in some extreme cases even put you out of business.
Having safety management software in place helps to reduce costs associated with accidents in two ways:
Reduces the likelihood of the accidents
The best way to avoid having to pay out for accidents is to avoid having them in the first place. Health and safety software helps your business do just that by ensuring that measures are in place to reduce the risk of an incident.
Ensures you are doing everything correct if something does happen
Sometimes accidents are just unavoidable, and in these moments health and safety ensures that you are covered and have done everything you can do reduce them and report them if they do happen.
Save on reputation costs with health and safety software
The immediate costs of an incident on your site are obvious – compensation costs, costs of temporary workers, sick leave costs, insurance premiums – the list goes on.
However, some of the costs that are caused by an incident are hidden. Included in these costs are things like reputation damage and team morale that can cause issues.
If your company reputation is damaged you may find it hard to generate new business, or keep your clients if they don’t trust that your business is operating safely. This is especially true in a small business scenario, where many clients may know each other, or your story may feature in the local news.
Your reputation both internally and externally can have a huge effect on your profits. People need to trust your organisation both from within and without in order for you to continue doing good business, and a health and safety system helps solidify that.
Reduce Insurance Costs when you have health and safety software
Another important and often overlooked cost-saving of health and safety systems can be lower insurance premiums.
When a business is able to show that they are compliant and have measures in place to reduce incidents, they will often see a drop in their insurance premiums.
Plus, you will also benefit from a lower rate of injuries and incidents on your site, which will help you in lowering your premium. In having less incidents, and dealing with them correctly when they do happen so that perhaps you don’t have to claim as frequently will ensure that your risk is lower.
This often results in cost savings through lower insurance premiums.
When it comes to occupational health and safety management, there can be no room for error. That’s why when you pick a safety management software it’s important that it’s the right fit for your business.
With the right safety management software your business will be able to safely manage risk, remain compliant and have time to focus on the other important elements of running your business.
To help you decide which safety management software to choose, here’s the things to look for in OHS software:
What Does OHS Software Need To Have?
Ensure that your OHS software can be customised
Every business is different, and therefore each safety management solution should be slightly different. Ensure that you can customise the software, as well as checking that the following essentials will be covered on the platform:
Job safety assessments
Training and inductions
Look for a data checking function
An effective OHS system will be able to sift through your data and ensure its accuracy. Doing this manually can be very time consuming and not entirely accurate, so working with software that can check your data and automatically validate your records is essential.
This kind of data management aspect of safety management software also ensures that you remain compliant and are working in line with GDPR. Holding outdated records, or those records that have not been consented to can have serious consequences.
The benefits of investing in mobile software over desktop or paper-based systems are vast, but in general mobile software is safer, it allows open communication and real-time insights, and also allows remote working, which in the current climate is more important than ever.
Look for occupational health and safety management software that has been recommended and has customer success stories attached to it.
Some of the important things to look for are:
Do you know anyone who has used it or recommends it?
Does the company have experience of working with businesses of all sizes across a wide range of industries?
Do you trust the customer service? What do reviews say about it?
Has the company received any industry awards for its customer service or products?
Being cost-effective is one of the most important aspects of choosing an OHS software system. You have to ensure that you are spending on a platform that can give you all that you need, at a cost that is reasonable. However, that doesn’t always mean you should opt for the cheapest option, it is about value for money over the cheapest solution.
You may also like to think about the cost savings you could make vs the outgoing cost. Remember also that not having an effective OHS system in place will cost reputation damage as well as financial.
Look for the option of scalability within your OHS software system as the requirements of your business might change over a period of time. Many businesses are now choosing cloud-based safety management software solutions so that their software can grow and evolve as the business does. Cloud-based software is highly scalable and can keep up with your business needs as you grow.
Are You Looking For A Safety Management Solution?
Beakon’s fully customisable Safety Management software offers a digital solution to safety management.
When we talk about incident reporting, we often think about the ways that we can react after an incident has occurred at work. Whilst the initial response is important, there are also other elements that need to be considered, beyond just the immediate actions that need to be taken.
This article will look at the importance of incident reporting and having a system in place that can help your workplace be as safe as it can be.
Incident reporting helps you answer important questions
An incident reporting system not only allows you to keep on track of any incidents that occur, it helps you to prepare and track the near misses too.
An incident reporting system helps you answer questions around how safe your workplace is and how well prepared you are to deal with incidents, so that if anything did happen, you would know that you are doing the most you can to remain compliant and minimise risk.
Being able to track and trace your compliance is very important, as it allows you to cover yourself in the event of an incident. This is especially important in high risk industries such as construction, oil and gas, power plants, roads and buildings and hazardous sectors.
Incident Reporting is a requirement of any health and safety management system and when not carried out efficiently, the knock on effect may result in excessive costs to the business.
How does an incident reporting system help your business?
Above and beyond ensuring that you remain compliant, an incident reporting system ensures that you take a systematic approach to managing safety that is likely to minimise incidents in the first place. This will save you money, save you reputation damage, and keep your people safe.
Incident reporting systems enable you to maintain an attitude of continuous improvement – including the necessary organisational structures, accountabilities, policies and procedures to create a Continuous Improvement Cycle.
Incident reporting systems enable you to:
Protect your employees
Maintain a working environment that is safe
Ensure that employees know how to report an incident
Ensure employees take care of the health and safety of themselves and others.
Help you identify trends and incident types
Help you predict incidents and prevent them
Helps your business remain compliant
Conduct periodic reviews to assess risk
What are the key benefits of incident reporting?
A well designed incident management system has some key benefits. These include:
Incident reporting systems prepare your business to deal with incidents
One of the key benefits of an incident reporting system is that it encourages employees to be prepared for an incident.
It also helps you understand how and why incidents occur and keeps the entire organization aware of their actions in real-time. The platform enables other employees to offer guidance or advice and lets critical stakeholders see the specific actions that were taken and how the incident was resolved.
Increase communication within the organisation
Often, incidents occur because of bad communication within an organisation, however a reporting system helps to minimise this risk. The increased safety procedures for employees, clients, and contractors allow effective communication channels at all times.
With cloud-based technology, incident reporting systems can be accessed from any computer or mobile device with internet access, meaning that people can communicate in real-time in the event of an incident.
In an emergency situation, incident management software provides a timeline of communications so that senior managers can track the flow of communications and see whether the incident was escalated or resolved, and how. This gives you real-time situational awareness.
Increased safety for employees, clients and contractors
With better incident reporting systems in place, you’ll be able to provide a safer environment for anyone you interact with.
Risks to all parties can be minimised and managed, meaning that your business should see less incidents and improved compliance.
How can incident reporting systems be implemented?
Implementing incident reporting systems needn’t be difficult. Beakon’s system can be configured to report, investigate, analyse and proactively action issues across all work disciplines with ease.
Do you want to contain workplace incidents more efficiently?
Do you want better communication with your staff?
Or more detailed incident reports that provide actionable data?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you need to equip your employees with the right tools!
In this post, we’ll look at the top five incident reporting tools that will make your job, and the jobs of your employees, far easier!
So, what are the top five incident reporting tools?
Incident reporting form
Incident management software
Commercial test management tool
Without the right data collection tools, incident reporting can seem like a never ending mountain of paperwork. Between safety walkthroughs, audits and training, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
But with the right tools, you can share everything in real-time, save a ton of time on filing, storage and reclamation, and improve your workplace’s safety too!
Incident reporting doesn’t have to consume all your time from other important tasks. Data gathering tools can help you gather incident reports more efficiently, and more accurately, helping improve your safety decisions and build a strong safety culture in your organization.
Ready to find out more?
Then let’s dive right in!
Incident reporting tool 1. Incident reporting form
Top on our list of incident reporting tools is the humble incident reporting form.
It’s doesn’t matter whether the report is paper-based or electronic, or whether it’s stored locally or in the cloud.
You need one!
So, what separates an okay incident reporting form from a truly great one?
In last week’s post, we shared the six key elements that every good incident report should include.
In case you missed it, the six key elements are every good incident report should have are:
But if you’re looking for a quick summary, here goes:
Good incident report forms take a holistic approach to incident reporting. This means that they cover all types of incidents including lagging indicators (reports of incidents taken after they have finished) and leading indicators (those that indicate the risk of an incident occurring).
The four main types of incidents are:
Situations where people could have been injured, but, luckily nothing came to pass.
No harm events
Operational risks that all staff across an organization should be made aware of.
Adverse events are related to medicines, medical devices, and vaccines.
Sentinel events are unexpected events that result in any type of harm.
Good incident reports contain enough space for accurate details that leave little room for ambiguity or misinterpretation.
Incident reports should be fact-based, and not based on opinions or subjective comments.
As noted by Safe Work Australia‘s best-practice guidelines for Australian businesses, all notifiable incidents MUST be reported to the local authorities. Therefore, incident reports should contain enough data to help key safety professionals in an organization investigate the incident and determine the root cause.
With companies increasingly moving towards incident reporting software, the best incident report forms are data-driven. Employees can attach photos, videos, audio recordings and other annotations and notes to any report they create and submit.
The sixth element of good incident report forms is cloud functionality. Cloud-based software means that any employee can access the system from any smartphone or tablet. Offline capabilities mean that even remote users without an internet connection can capture data such as photos and audio files and then sync with the cloud when they regain connectivity.
Incident reporting tool 2. Cloud-based storage
When it comes to incident reporting, cloud-storage one of the most important tools. We’ve already touched on the benefits of using a cloud-based incident report, but you can also use cloud storage with a range of other offline options.
As we explained in our comprehensive guide to incident reporting systems, at the simplest level, you can use a cloud-based spreadsheet service such as Google Sheets to record, log and investigate incidents, accidents and near-misses. By sharing access to this file across your organization you can benefit from the following benefits:
Efficient management of workplace incidents
Real-time updates for all members of your organization
Unlimited storage of reports, attachments, and data.
Cloud-based storage lets you use real-time alerts, detailed incident reports, and actionable data to better equip employees to handle incidents safely.
To unlock the full benefits of cloud-based storage, you need cloud-based incident reporting software. This empowered your employees by letting them access your incident management system from any device and submit a report at the time and place of their choosing.
Cloud-based software offers the ultimate in convenience, giving you an efficient, secure solution to storing reports online and letting you respond quickly to field events with the minimum of fuss.
Capture and report incidents
Manage and collaborate incident responses
Notify team members about upcoming events and react to developments
Review and summarize steps that help minimize risk
Generate reports that help address safety issues
Wondering how cloud-based incident reporting software does all this?
Think of all the old paper incident reports that your organization keeps in a binder. Cloud-based incident reporting software lifts these forms to the cloud where members of your organization can access them via the web on any mobile device as and when required.
A cloud-based approach lets you:
Generate and submit incident reports from any computer or mobile device.
Create your own customized incident report forms that contain exactly the data you need.
Upload photos, videos and audio files to any report.
Create incident reports even when your device is offline.
Incident reporting tool 3: Mobile devices
Many firms choose to invest in cloud-based incident reporting software for the numerous advantages that this approach offers over paper-based systems. But the key tool that makes this possible is the humble mobile device. That’s why the third tool on our list that will make your life easier is mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
To get the most out of a cloud-based approach to incident reporting, you need a mobile device such as:
Cloud-based incident reporting and mobile devices go together like peanut butter and jelly; cloud-based systems are device-agnostic meaning that they work as web apps on any device, regardless of manufacturer and platform (Windows, Android, iOS).
Most leading software also offers native Android and iOS apps designed to work specifically on those operating systems. This means that employees can even use their personal computers, phones or tablets to access the incident reporting system and generate and submit their own reports.
Why mobile devices?
Mobile devices are highly portable, so employees can generate incident reports on the spot, instead of having to wait until they have access to a computer before making reports. Mobile devices are packed full of useful tech that lets users:
Take photos of the incident and attach to the report
Take audio recordings of victims or witnesses
Take video clips showing damage
Annotate and/or illustrate media to provide investigators with helpful tools
Tool 4: Incident management software
So far, we’ve already touched on some examples of how incident management software helps organizations. While it is possible to use the first three tools – incident report forms, cloud-storage, and mobile devices – to develop an effective incident reporting system, most companies decide to invest in dedicated incident management software.
Incident management software is an all-inclusive solution to efficiently contain and manage workplace incidents. The software provides everything a company needs to run its incident reporting strategy.
The incident report form
The cloud-based storage
The management apps for mobile devices
Incident management systems let organizations use real-time alerts and detailed incident reports to help employees to handle incidents safely. They are perfect for small and medium businesses in any industry, from entrepreneurs to educational institutes and even non-profits.
The software provides everything a company needs to improve its incident management, including:
Training (in-person and live online)
If your organization is looking to drive operational excellence, incident reporting software could be what you need.
Incident reporting tool 5: Commercial test management tool
The fifth incident reporting tool on our list is the commercial test management tool. If you’re serious about incident reporting, this tool is absolutely invaluable. Commercial tests are an essential aspect of running an organization and having a specific management tool to help you report the statistics and metrics from any incidents that occur is a must.
Why invest in a commercial test management tool?
Test management tools help you:
Gather invaluable stats about incidents including the total number of incidents reported, whether they are open or closed, the number of incidents with each status and the average open time.
Prioritize incidents according to available resources and manpower.
Attachment storage – you can collect screenshots of incident reports and file them alongside the incident reports.
Assign actions to members of your organization such as conducting confirmation tests and fixing issues.
Having the right commercial test management tool makes reporting incidents and making observations on the go a breeze with any device. You can customize the reporting categories, assign people to specific roles, add images and use statistics to analyse the risks and trends present in your organization.
Why is this helpful?
Your organization’s business process relies on your reacting and responding to incidents in a timely, effective manner. An incident may start in the field, but the response will be decided away from the field. A comprehensive commercial test management tool helps ensure that all relevant stakeholders have the data and facts necessary to formulate the ideal response. You’ll never miss an important field event when you invest in a commercial test management tool.
At a senior management level, test management tools offer three main benefits to any organization.
Identifying the most common incidents
Developing your safety systems and safety culture
Scheduled maintenance and repairs
Let’s explore these exciting benefits!
Identifying the most common incidents To work towards developing a safer workplace environment, the senior managers need access to up-to-date information about the most common types of incidents that occur. While it’s true that you can gather most information from your OSHA logs, having a commercial test management tool automates the process, eliminating errors and giving you more accurate data. This makes management’s job easier and lets them focus resources on areas where the majority of incidents are occurring.
Developing your safety systems and safety culture The second main benefit of investing in a commercial test management tool is that it increases accountability for your staff. By giving them the tools and software necessary to report incidents in a timely, comprehensive manner, you make them accountable for incidents.
Commercial test management tools help you assign duties to staff and automatically track their progress, sending them reminder emails if work stalls or if a deadline is missed. This helps create a better safety culture in your organization by involving everyone in safety tasks.
Scheduled maintenance and repairs
A commercial test management tool ensures that your systems and process are regularly inspected and lets you know when your equipment is due for maintenance. This helps you schedule maintenance and repairs to prevent serious incidents and manage your budget cost-effectively. By streamlining your maintenance schedules, you can significantly reduce the loss of tools and equipment. This won’t just save your organization money; it will keep all aspects of your operations much safer.
In this guide, we’ve covered the top five incident reporting tools that will make your job easier. A well-designed incident reporting form will help your staff report incidents with enough detail for further investigations to understand what happened. Cloud-based storage and mobile devices will ensure that all members of your organization can create, save and share reports in real-time wherever they are. Rounding off our list, having comprehensive incident management software and a commercial test management tool will help you keep ahead of the curve on your organization’s incident management.
A strong system will help you track, monitor and respond to accidents and incidents as and when they occur. This will in turn help create a safer working environment for all members of staff.
But what should a good incident report look like? What should it contain? And how much detail is ‘enough’?
In this post, we’ll answer those questions and more by outlining the six key elements that every good incident report should contain. We promise to show you exactly what to include and, just as importantly, what to leave out.
The six key elements to include in a good incident report are:
Before we start discussing these elements in more detail, let’s start with the basics.
What is an incident report?
Incident reporting is the process of documenting any critical event that occurs on an organization’s premises. Incidents could involve company employees, contractors, visitors or even the general public.
A good incident report should help the organization document all workplace injuries, accidents and near-misses, no matter how minor or complex.
What is considered an incident?
‘Incident’ is quite a broad-ranging term.
It could mean:
A condition, or
Most commonly, incidents are thought of as an event, such as a trip, a fall or a workplace accident.
For example, Australian businesses must comply with the model WHS Act which stipulates that regulators are informed about notifiable incidents such as the death of a person, a serious injury or illness or any dangerous incident that exposes any person to a serious risk.
But an incident could also be a condition – such as a manufacturing error that necessitates a product recall.
An incident could also be a situation such as an unsafe area of an organization’s premises flagged up in a safety walkthrough.
So, how do you define what is and what isn’t an incident?
As a rule of thumb, an incident will be something that:
Disrupts or interferes with an organizations’ business
Affects the operational systems of an organization
Poses a risk to members of an organization, or contractors, visitors or customers.
Creates negative attention (public perception or media attention)
A good incident report should help document all of these incidents and more!
What makes a good incident report?
An incident report is an important tool that is used to document any event, condition or situation that may cause injury to people or damage to an organization’s property.
Incident reports can be paper-based or electronically generated and are a way of capturing and documenting any of the following things:
Health and safety issues
Security breaches (physical or electronic)
Workplace misconduct issues
Potential risks (when used as part of a Safety document), and
What separates a standard incident report from a good one?
Critically, a good incident report will help a company in three key ways.
Predicting/reducing the chances of future incidents occurring
To do this, the report must have enough information so that organizations can:
Determine the root cause of an incident
Decide the best corrective action for eliminating the risks
Taking steps to prevent future occurrences
Now that we’ve covered the groundwork and we’re all on the same page, let’s dive right into the six key elements that make up a good incident report!
Element 1. Holistic
The first key element of a good incident report is that it should be holistic. Key stakeholders in any organization, such as managers, HR personnel, and safety officials, must be aware of various situations and events that occur.
It’s no good if the incident report only deals with one type of incidents such as physical accidents, or near-misses – it should be holistic and provide a way for incidents of all types to be reported quickly and effectively.
When we talk about a holistic approach to incident reporting, there are two main types of indicators:
Let’s look at these two indicators more closely!
Lagging indicators refer to incidents that are reported after they have occurred, such as:
Employee compensation claims
As lagging indicators are reported retrospectively – after the fact – your organization must use the collected data to inform decisions about what actions to take in the future to prevent them from occurring again.
Leading indicators Leading indicators, on the other hand, are those that are recorded before actual accidents or injuries have occurred.
Leading indicators can be tracked to indicate the likelihood of incidents occurring in the future. Most of these metrics will not be reported on an incident report form. However, where we need to focus our attention is on ‘near misses’.
Some organizations would include ‘Near-misses’ as a lagging indicator as they are recorded after the fact. When we talk about a good incident report form being holistic, we mean that it covers all types of incidents, including near misses. This data can be used to reduce risk and prevent future incidents from occurring.
Holistic also means that the incident report form covers the four main types of incidents.
These are situations where people could have been injured, but, luckily nothing came to pass. These are like ‘free passes’ that give you the opportunity to learn from and correct poor situations without having to suffer the consequences of a workplace incident. Near misses need to be reported as important lagging and leading indicators.
No harm events
The second type of incidents that needs to be reported are so-called ‘no harm events’. A good incident report form will help communicate and raise awareness of these incidents across an organization to raise awareness of what might happen in the future. For example, if two types of chemicals used during a production process are found to react together adversely, this would be classified as a no-harm event. Staff across the entire organization should be made aware of this operational risk.
Adverse events are related to medicines, medical devices, and vaccines. They occur during patient treatment or management, rather than from a pre-existing condition.
Sentinel events are unexpected events that resulted in any type of harm (physical, psychological, etc.) such as trips, falls, vehicle accidents, the outbreaks of diseases, and natural disasters.
A good incident report will cover all four types of incidents listed above to offer organizations a holistic view of all incidents that occur on their premises or affect their staff.
Element 2: Accurate
The second essential element of a good incident report form is accuracy. To be effective, an incident report should be specific and concise. It should avoid vague or easily misinterpreted language and phrases that may cause confusion and instead keep things on point.
The report should always be proofread to check for typos and spelling errors. Many companies are moving towards incident reporting software that automatically spellchecked reports when they are created.
However, some errors can only be spotted by humans. These include:
Details of peoples’ names
Dates and times of the incidents
For this reason, it’s worth having a second person proofread the report to spot and correct glaring errors.
Here’s an example of how a good incident report could be structured to keep it concise:
Enter job description:_______________________________________
What caused the incident?____________________________________
A clearly laid out incident report will help keep all details concise and will avoid confusion.
Element 3: Objective
The third key element of a good incident report is that is should be supported by facts and be objective, rather than being biased. Reports of incidents should be free from bias and opinions, and should instead focus on the facts at hand. Rather than appointing blame, the incident report must create a picture of both sides of the story.
There are several ways to put objectivity at the heart of an incident report.
Firstly, your organization could stipulate that the person who submits an incident report form must take photos of the surrounding environment including annotations. This centres the report on visual evidence of the event or incident, instead of based on opinionated and biased statements.
Secondly, if the report includes statements from patients and/or witnesses, you could stipulate that the person completing the incident report quotes them, instead of paraphrasing.
This is important because, depending on the severity of the incident, the incident report should be submitted to an investigation team to further study and look for the root causes. The primary purpose of this investigation isn’t to find fault but to develop corrective actions to prevent similar incidents from occurring.
In the event of negligence and/or criminal culpability, this will be referred to the relevant legal authorities. The purpose of the incident investigation is to collect and analyse the information and evidence. This process will be far smoother if safety professionals have photographic evidence and witness quotes to work from.
Element 4: Comprehensive
The fourth key element in a good incident report is comprehensiveness. The report must cover all related essential questions including:
This includes not just the names of people who were injured or affected, but also details of people who witness and reported the incidents.
The report should cover:
The names of witnesses
The names of those who will conduct further investigate
Significant details that may be needed for further study and investigation
Element 5: Data-driven
The fifth key element of good incident reports is that they are data-driven. They should make use of as much data as possible to create the fullest possible picture of what happened.
Audio recordings of witness statements
Electronic signature capture
These types of data will help build a complete picture of the nature of the injuries, damage, or surrounding environment at the time of the incident and will complement the written evidence provided in the report.
Giving your employees the ability to capture signatures electronically is extremely helpful. Those involved in the incident (e.g. victim, witnesses, manager, reporter, etc.) can sign off to testify and validate the accuracy of any information they submitted to the incident report. This helps to confirm that the incident report is truthful and accurate.
A good incident report will include space for the following details:
Actions to be taken to eliminate future repeats of the incident
Employee sign off
Supervisor sign off when corrective actions have been adopted and monitored.
Element 6: Cloud-based
The sixth key element of a good incident report is that it should be cloud-based. All incident reports should be properly stored as an important record for every organization. Paper-based incident reports are time-consuming to store, access and manage – and that’s where cloud-based incident reporting software offers undeniable advantages.
Cloud-based incident reports can help streamline an organization’s entire incident reporting process, from recording, storing, tracking and investigating all types of incidents, dangerous conditions, and near-misses.
This is extremely helpful when it comes to ensuring regulatory compliance. According to guidance from Safe Work Australia Australian businesses must immediately notify their regulator about notifiable incidents such as the death of a person, a serious injury or illness and a dangerous incident that exposes any person to a serious risk.
Cloud-based incident reporting systems help by offering the following benefits:
Paperless incident reports can be generated by a range of hand-held devices, regardless of type or platform.
Report takers can attach unlimited photographic evidence with notes and annotations to their incident reports.
Software incident reports can include a wide range of supporting types of evidence not available to paper-based reports. This includes audio files of witness statements, electronic signature capture, photos, and video files.
Paperless reports can be generated without employees having to leave the site and then uploaded and shared in real-time with all members of the organization who have permission to view.
Cloud-based incident reporting solutions offer unlimited storage space for easy record keeping.
Taking your next steps
If you were curious about the six key elements of a good incident report, that’s about it.
Good incident reports will feature all of these six key elements and help ensure that organizations keep on top of their incident reporting. If your organization is looking to make smarter incident reporting decisions, drive operational excellence and create a culture of continuous safety improvement, having a good incident report form is essential.
Are you aiming to create a culture of continual improvement?
Is achieving operational excellence in safety a top priority?
If you answered “Yes!” to one or all of those questions, you’ll understand the importance of having a comprehensive incident reporting system in place.
An incident reporting system can help any organization record, track, trend and investigate all types of incidents, dangers, and near-misses.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain exactly what an incident reporting system is and precisely how it can benefit your organization.
We’ll be discussing things like:
What are Incident Reporting Systems?
What is Incident Reporting and how does it work?
The importance of document control
Root cause analysis
Paper-based vs Software – what’s the difference?
Safety incident reporting software: What to consider
What are Incident Reporting Systems?
An incident reporting system is any system that helps an organization record, track, and investigate any type of dangerous situation. It could be a hazardous condition, an incident, or even a near-miss.
The system itself can take a number of forms.
It could be entirely paper-based, with file folders and sticky notes kept in filing cabinets.
It could be entirely online, with cloud-based software helping to store and manage incident reports and admin documents.
Some organizations use a hybrid approach where some elements (such as incident report forms) are stored as hard copies and other elements (such as reports and actions) are stored online as spreadsheets (such as Google sheets).
What is Incident Reporting and how does it work?
While the exact process for filing an incident report will vary between organizations, the basic safety incident life cycle should look broadly similar, whether a company is working predominantly offline or online.
The safety incident life cycle has six stages as follows:
Incident reporting is the first step in a much longer process. Reporting is usually thought of as what happens after an accident, dangerous condition, injury or near-miss has taken place. However, there are actually two types of metrics that should be studied.
Lagging indicators, and
Let’s look at these two metrics in greater detail.
What are lagging indicators?
Lagging indicators are incidents that are reported after an event has taken place.
Near-misses – events where no actual harm occurred.
Accidents resulting in personal injury
Equipment or property damage
No harm events – situations that all staff across the organization need to be made aware of.
Adverse events – those related to medicines, medical devices, and vaccines, rather than employee pre-existing conditions.
‘Sentinel’ events – unexpected events such as trips, falls, vehicle accidents, the outbreaks of diseases, and natural disasters.
Environmental incidents such as spills or releases that must be contained and reported to the Australian government.
Vehicle incidents – including vehicle incident data that can be used to launch vehicle incident corrective/preventative actions (CAPAs).
These are all examples of lagging indicators – you’re looking in the rear-view mirror, reporting what happened and seeing what you can learn from it.
What are leading indicators?
Leading indicators are metrics that can be used to pre-emptively reduce the risk of injury or incidents.
Safety walkthroughs – you can study the length and frequency of walkthroughs.
Training effectiveness and the frequency that training takes place.
Management safety meetings and the frequency with which they occur.
Leading indicators are more like looking out of the windshield and seeing what problems could arise. Some organizations view near-misses as leading indicators, although they are events that happened and just didn’t lead to actual harm or injury. Kind of like a free pass!
Incident reporting works by having employees or key members of an organization report incident, accidents, injuries, and near-misses.
By using an incident reporting form!
Reporting forms can be either:
Paper-based and stored as a hard copy in a file, or
Digital and stored electronically or in the cloud
Incident reporting forms ensure that incident and injury data is accessible for reporting and helps configure investigations and workflows. It should provide enough detail for the other stages in the six-stage incident life cycle to be completed.
Following an incident report, an organization can:
Make a response
Plan and assign corrective and/or preventatives actions tasks
Comply with injury reporting regulations.
The importance of document control
The second part of an incident reporting system is document control. Once the incident reports have been created and submitted, what next?
For the incident reporting system to be effective, all documents should be stored in a secured centralized repository.
At the simplest end, many small Australian businesses work from a paper document known as a Safety Statement. With relatively few incidents reports to deal with, many small firms use file folders or office cabinets to store incident reports. This gives them control over user access and helps ensure that information about past incidents is kept secure.
But paper-based reporting systems can cause administrative issues for medium-sized businesses. The model WHS Act requires that Australian businesses notify their regulator of certain types of workplace incidents known as ‘notifiable incidents’ as soon as they occur. With a paper-based approach, the onus is on employees to complete this work and any lapse could result in significant fines.
Furthermore, to comply with guidance from Safe Work Australia, organizations must track all versions and revisions of reporting documents to ensure that only accurate, up-dated documents are used.
For this reason, many firms turn to incident reporting software that stores all documents online. This lets staff across the entire organization see any updates and changes in real-time, helping to ensure that the latest versions of documents are used.
Moving away from paper-based storage and towards online or a cloud-based incident reporting system helps you create a complete audit trail. This gives you a complete history of when records were created and when they were archived, retrieved, transmitted, or modified. By logging the local time and date, incident reporting software helps organizations of all sizes maintain regulatory compliance.
After an incident report is submitted, the organization will make an appropriate response. For small businesses, the correct protocol will be outlined in the safety statement that staff can consult for guidance.
For larger organizations, or those using incident reporting software, the software itself will be able to suggest appropriate actions in response to the incident.
Most incident report forms will include space for details about the response taken. A key member of staff, such as the supervisor, will be assigned to record this and sign off on the incident.
5. Incident investigation
For serious incidents, the organization may need to conduct a thorough investigation of the incident.
Key members of staff such as safety professionals will analyse the incident using data and evidence provided in the incident report.
They will work on defining the underlying cause with the aim of reducing risk and the chances of future incidents occurring.
The goal of an incident investigation is to implement preventative measures and reduce the risks faced by employees.
Root cause analysis
The most comprehensive way to reducing risk, avoiding future incidents and driving continuous improvement in any organization is to use root cause analysis.
In small organizations, this work will typically be completed by OHS staff. Larger organizations or those using incident reporting software may have software to help them with root cause analysis activities.
The main root causes methodologies used are:
Fishbone (Ishikawa) diagrams,
These methodologies, either separately or combined, help manage or eliminate contributing and root causes, and identify and implement corrective actions. These actions can counter the identified root causes.
Paper-based vs Software – what’s the difference?
In general, smaller businesses will use paper-based incident reporting systems, while medium and larger businesses will opt for a software-based approach. However, organization of all sizes, from start-ups, to educational institutions and even non-profits, can actually benefit from a software solution to incident reporting.
So, what are the main differences?
Moving away from a paper-based incident reporting system means saying goodbye to file folders and filing cabinets stuffed full of documents and reports. Unlike paper forms that must be manually retrieved and modified whenever an action is taken, software incident reporting systems offer real-time updates.
When you move to a software system, the key details related to each health and safety incident are shared in real-time online with all relevant members of the organization. This helps each staff member learn from each other’s experiences and improve workplace safety.
Identify new areas for improvement
Earlier in this guide, we discussed lagging and leading indicators. Most organizations are good at responding to lagging indicators such as dangerous conditions, accidents, and near-misses.
But leading indicators are tougher to track and follow.
One of the key benefits of adopting a software-based approach to incident reporting is that it gives you a higher level of visibility into your organization’s safety performance.
With software, you are able to unidentified new areas for improvement than may have otherwise gone untracked, such as:
training frequency and quality
safety walk-through frequency
Incident reporting software can help detect issues that are likely to cause future incidents, such as a lack of safety training and low scores on post-training tests by employees. By detecting these root causes, the software can suggest preventative action such as increasing training frequency and/or improving the quality of the training.
Another example would be non-conformance applications, or NCRs. Many firms who switch to incident reporting software find that their NCRs double or even triple. This means that more NCRs are being recorded and fewer are going unnoticed, helping the organization focus on their improvement efforts.
With paper-based incident reporting, it’s easy for a supervisor to say that further consideration will be given to a future incident – and then nothing gets done!
Incident reporting software makes the process of following up on incident reporting far easier and faster. Organizations can actively monitor whether staff members are following through on critical steps in the reporting, investigating and action process. What’s more, much of this work can be automated so that employees are sent automatic email reminders to attend meetings and training.
Safety incident reporting software: What to consider
Safety incident reporting software makes incident reporting and investigation incredibly simple!
Incident reporting software lets your organization record, track and investigate any type of incident, including near-misses and dangerous conditions.
This helps you reduce risk and keep your employees safe.
So, what do you need to look out for?
Here’s our guide to everything you need to consider when choosing the right incident reporting software for your organization.
Offline and mobile capability
Offline connectivity is a huge plus; your employees can capture date when they are working remotely or without an internet connection. They can then sync with the system and upload the data when they regain connectivity. Mobile capability means that your staff will experience a purpose-designed mobile experience no matter which mobile device they use.
Meetings and communications management
The best incident reporting software can help you manage all your meetings and communications, helping you keep on top of your workload.
You can sit back and let the software do everything from:
Send automated notifications to attendees
Record and track meeting attendance
Assign and track follow-up tasks
By maintaining a record of all meetings and associated tasks, incident reporting software can help ensure that incidents are properly responded to in a timely manner.
The software can also record and track of communications. This helps your employees share information, plan activities and communicate in a more efficient way.
Data import and API access
The latest incident reporting software features both data import tools and API access. Data import means that you can map data from Excel spreadsheets directly into the software – perfect for adding historical data or updating data with records.
API access means that the software can communicate seamlessly with other third-party systems. This makes pushing and pulling data one database to the other a breeze.
Business analytics and intelligence
If your organization is looking to make smarter decisions and great a culture of continual improvement, business analytics and intelligence is one of the more important areas to consider when choosing incident reporting software.
Leading incident management software gives you 360-degree visibility of your organization and lets you get the most out of your data.
The software can automatically generate reports, data slicers, and dashboards, giving your employees the information they need to respond to incidents in the best way.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ve explained exactly what an incident reporting system is and the benefits it can offer to your organization.
Whether your organization uses a paper-based system or has already moved to a software solution, the key features of a solid incident reporting system never change. If you want to move towards a safety culture, you need to have a data-driven approach to investigating, analysing and responding to incidents.
Is your organization looking to make incident reporting easier, faster and simpler than ever?
If so, incident reporting software is worth a look.
Having the right incident reporting software makes reporting and investigating incidents a breeze. You can easily track and investigate all types of incidents including accidents, dangerous conditions, near-misses and more!
With many types of incident reporting software to choose from, making the right decision can be tough. That’s why we wanted to outline the key elements that every organization should consider when choosing the best incident reporting software in 2019.
There are seven key elements to consider, as follows:
Pre-incident measurement tracking
Root cause analysis
KPI set selection and tracking
In this post, we’ll explain these key elements and show why they are important for any company that wants to use incident reporting software to create a workplace safety culture.
Element 1: Cloud-based
The first key element to look for when choosing incident management software is cloud-based functionality. As a responsible organization, you want to prioritize the safety of your staff, visitors, and guests. There’s no better solution than using cloud-based software.
The key advantage of using cloud-based incident management software is that it is platform-agnostic. This means that users can access the software via any internet-enabled device, including PCs, laptops, and mobile devices.
Cloud-based software uses web apps and/or native Android and iOS apps. This lets users access the software from almost any computer or device, regardless of which operating system the device is running on.
This approach helps ensure that all of your staff have convenient access to the incident reporting software, no matter whether they are using Windows, Linux, iOS, Android!
With cloud-based incident reporting software, your organization can:
Create and store limitless incident reports
Instantly share reports and incident reporting metrics in real-time
Ensure that all incident data is centralized and easily accessible for reporting
Comply with injury reporting regulations
If you’re looking to easily record, track, and investigate all types of incidents, near-misses and hazardous conditions, then cloud-based functionality is the first key element you should look for. We discuss this in greater detail in our comprehensive guide to incident reporting systems.
Element 2. Personnel tracking
The second key element to consider when choosing incident reporting software is personnel tracking.
If you care about employee safety and want to reduce on-site incidents, you need to know exactly who’s on location at any of your sites at any given time. You must keep tabs on your employees and contractors, whether they are in one building or in multiple locations across the country or around the world. That’s why personal tracking service is the second key element to consider when choosing incident reporting software.
Personal tracking services provide real-time guidance about who’s on location at any given site and where they are expected to be. Dashboards and reports can show employee location at a glance, helping to minimize the risk of incidents occurring and helping to ensure that people receive fast, accurate help if an incident occurs.
Most leading incident reporting services offer a self-signing option where visitors, staff or contractors can sign in and identify that they’ve arrived on site. Organizations with this software will commonly place a kiosk or tablet in their waiting area or reception for people to sign into.
Visitors who arrive on your premises can use self-signing to:
Identify the purpose of their visit
Provide details of who they are visiting and why
Electronically sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) before entering
Self-signing not only helps your organization keep track of who’s on-site; it also helps with the flow of communication. For example, the software can automatically notify your staff that their expected visitor has arrived.
Element 3. Evacuation management
The third key element to consider when choosing incident reporting software is evacuation management. Software with a built-in evacuation management tool helps take your organization beyond clipboard-based paper rosters and streamlines your operations.
It starts with Single Sign On (SSO), which helps ensure that all employees have a seamless sign-on experience. Each user has a single set of credentials in order to access the software. This helps identify, locate and track every member of staff at any given site in real-time.
SSO lets the incident reporting software record and track all relevant internal and external communications that take place on the system. In the event of an emergency, the software can be used to share information in real-time and increase the efficiency of the internal communication process within an organization.
During an evacuation, senior management and safety personnel can watch in real-time as their facility is evacuated and people are checked in on the roster that they are safe.
Element 4: Pre-Incident measurement tracking
The goal of any incident reporting software is to record, track, trend and investigate any incident that takes place on your premises. However, there are actually two main types of metrics that you need to track;
Lagging incident measurements
Measurements that are taken after an incident has occurred.
Leading incident measurements Measurements that occur before an incident has taken place.
Most incident management software is effective at tracking lagging incident measurements. A good example of this would be a slip and fall incident caused by construction materials. Staff can easily use the incident reporting software to log and manage the entire safety incident life cycle, as follows:
Report the incident
Generate a response
Investigate the incident
Take corrective action
Generate a summary report
However, the key element to look for when choosing incident reporting software is pre-incident measurement tracking. This is one of the six key elements of a good incident report that you should look for. This helps your organization track and monitor metrics that help reduce incidents before they take place.
Let’s say you do a weekly safety walkthrough of your premises and store these report directly on your incident management software. As your reports are centralized, the software can automatically identify potential risks and suggest preventative measures that can be used to reduce risk.
For instance, if you’ve got some demolition going on, the software can look ahead and predict that this area is likely to be a little more hazardous for your staff and contractors. The software may suggest increasing the frequency of your safety walkthroughs to address these potential risks.
Software that logs pre-incident measurements helps your organization move towards a proactive posture. By measuring leading indicators including conditions, events, and sequences that may cause accidents, the risk of future incidents arising is vastly reduced. This gives you an opportunity to introduce control measures that can stop the event from happening altogether.
Element 5: Root cause analysis
The fifth key element to consider when choosing incident reporting software is root cause analysis. In other words, how can your organization study past incidents and learn from the data?
Leading incident reporting software is able to autonomously conduct thorough root cause analyses. This helps your organization to reduce risks, avoid future incidents and drive continuous improvement while meeting occupational health and safety standards.
When your organization invests in incident reporting software, you are essentially creating a centralized, web-based location where all incident reports and related data are stored and managed. This means that all root cause analysis activities can be centralized and that all analysis data can be easily shared and reported.
The software is able to autonomously identify contributing factors and root causes for any incidents that occur, such as:
The frequency and duration of safety meetings
The frequency of safety walkthroughs and checks
Records of past similar events
Incident reporting software with root cause analysis functionality can use multiple methodologies such as checklists, gap analysis, and the Ishikawa diagrams to identify contributing factors and root causes. It can then identify and suggest corrective actions to reduce risk and prevent future incidents from occurring.
Element 6: KPI set selection and tracking
The sixth key element to consider when choosing incident management software is Key Performance Indicator (KPI) set selection and tracking.
As much as you may want to, you simply can’t track all incident-related KPIs. The advantage of using incident reporting software is having access to a tool that automatically selects the most important KPIs and tracks them.
Incident reporting software can look through your lagging indicators, such as:
OHS recordable injuries
Total case incident rate
Fatality rate (hopefully you don’t have to look at that!)
Your employee’s comp claims
Your Experience modification rate (EMR)
Incident reporting software can also examine your lagging indicators, such as:
Training records (including training that’s past due or didn’t get done and training scores on post-training quizzes)
Safety meetings and the quality of safety meetings
Frequency of meetings by departments/ teams
Employee perception surveys (i.e. What is employee perception of safety culture in the workplace and how can you respond to that?)
Preventative maintenance (PM) programs, i.e. What percentage of PMs are overdue? We know that the longer we don’t’ address PM, the failure/breakdown rate of machines will rise. Tracking the percent of PMs that are overdue helps keep the workload manageable and helps you address safety issues.
Leading incident reporting software can track these lagging and leading indicators and help you identify which metrics are most critical to track. This key element helps you manage your resources effectively and stay on top of your safety. You can identify the most important problems sooner and reduce risk before they require excessive remedial attention.
Element 7: Automated reporting
The seventh key element to consider when choosing incident reporting software is automated reporting. All organizations strive to create ‘zero accident’ environment and, while there are plenty of ways to approach this challenge, it’s far easier if you use incident reporting software with automated reporting functionality.
Firstly, you must know where your risks are. Sure, you can survey your employees and ask them: “If you had to bet, where in our facilities or processes are our next accidents or illness most likely to come from?” They’ll likely be able to tell you.
But attempting to gather and track more complex metrics such as meeting frequency or duration can be extremely difficult if you’re a one or two-person EHS team. If you’re using spreadsheets for manual data entry, it’s hard to keep track of everything!
This approach also makes regulatory compliance extremely tough. According to Safe Work Australia, the model WHS Act requires Australian businesses to notify their regulator about certain types of workplace incidents known as ‘notifiable incidents’ as soon as they occur.
A person’s death – whether they are an employee, contractor or member of the public.
Any serious injury or illness.
Any type of dangerous incident that exposes any person to a serious risk, even if no one is injured.
This is light-years ahead of traditional paper-based incident reporting system and can help your organization avoid fines for regulatory non-compliance.
Incident reporting software offers an instant, organization-wide overview of every reported incident, with minimal need to undertake laborious and time-consuming data entry.
It can then use multiple methodologies to manage and eliminate contributing factors and root causes. The software will generate a report that not only identifies which corrective actions to take but actually starts to implement them.
Let’s say that a workplace accident is caused by construction debris. Incident reporting software can implement corrective actions such as more frequent safety walkthroughs and other preventative measures. This reduces risk with minimal need to manually log data or generate reports.
Taking your next steps
These seven key elements are essential to consider when choosing incident management software in 2019. You’ll want to keep them in mind as you decide which software to invest in and which to use. The right software will give your organization 360-degree visibility of all your safety issues and concerns. It will provide you with real-time reports, intuitive dashboards and powerful benchmarking that can help you make smarter decisions. With leading incident management software, your organization can create a culture of continual safety improvement and drive operational excellence.
If your organization is already using incident management software, you’ll know that leading software platforms can help make tracking, analysing and responding to incidents a whole lot easier!
Incident management software is essential whether you want to track accidents and injuries, or are trying to spot unexpected disruptions in your IT services.
But did you know that there are several key tools that can boost the effectiveness of your incident management processes?
In this post, we’ll explore the top five incident management tools for 2019. The tools on our list will help your staff track unexpected hazards and keep everyone in the loop with extensive reporting and analytical features.
All five of the tools on our list will help your organization identify the cause of incidents as they occur and decide upon the best course of action is the shortest time possible.
Ready to discover the five best incident management tools in the business?
Spiceworks Help Desk
Let’s look at these powerful incident management tools in more detail!
Regardless of the specific incident management software that your organization is using, your employees need to be able to report, investigate and analyse a wide range of issues. Whether you are concerned with safety, environment, quality assurance, product quality or business management, your staff will need to report, measure and respond to it all.
To work effectively, your staff needs access to a reliable mobile incident management solution and that’s where PagerDuty comes in. This mobile-first solution gives your staff the ability to report incidents anywhere, right from the palms of their hands.
PagerDuty tops our list of incident management tools for 2019 as it gives you a real-time overview of how your business is performing and where incidents are occurring. PagerDuty provides you with an unprecedented insight into your business and offers a range of advanced automated options ensuring that you take the right action, no matter the type of incident or where it occurs.
So, what makes PagerDuty our top incident management tool for 2019?
There are five main reasons:
Ease of access
Highly customizable notifications and actions
Let’s look at each of these areas in greater detail:
1. Ease of access
Available as a native app for both iOS and Android mobile devices, PagerDuty offers unparalleled ease of access. Your staff can report incidents and track follow-up actions irrespective of which device they are using.
2. Timeline view
To track, monitor and analyse incidents, you need to keep abreast of the schedules of your team. PagerDuty helps you see the past, present and future services and schedules that your team have, helping you get an overview of your entire incident management process.
3. Multi-channel communication
To stay in touch with your staff, you need an incident management tool that offers a range of communication options. PagerDuty offers text messages, chat channels, and video calls that help you keep in touch. This reduces the time needed to respond to incidents and resolve them effectively.
4. Response automation
Leading incident management software helps you automate responses to incidents as they occur. Depending on the nature of the incidents, this could include;
Rebooting a server
Creating a workflow
PagerDuty lets you keep critical stakeholders informed about your progress when dealing with incidents.
5. Highly customizable notifications and actions
Lastly, PagerDuty helps your staff stay informed about the status of incidents. Whether they are acknowledged, resolved, or escalated, you can keep everyone in the workflow aware of the status of each incident at all times. The notifications are highly customizable to suit the needs of your entire workforce.
2. Zendesk Suite
The second tool on our list is Zendesk, an innovative help desk system with excellent reporting and analysis capabilities.
If you are looking for ways of helping your staff solve problems for themselves before contacting IT staff for assistance, Zendesk Suite is the ideal incident management tool for you.
So what makes Zendesk one of the top incident management tools?
There are two stand-out features:
Multiple contact channels
Multiple contact channels
Zendesk links together a wide range of systems and avenues to offer your staff a range of options for getting help. With Zendesk, contacting IT will be an avenue of last resort for your staff. They’ll have a range of ways to get the help they need, including:
A searchable advice database
A chat window
Whenever your staff experiences an issue or problem, their first port of call is Zendesk’s searchable advice database. This database is continually expanded and upgraded to offer the best advice in real-time. This helps your staff find the solution to their problem with ease; wherever in the world they may be located.
If the database can’t solve their queries, your staff can try Zendesk’s interactive inquiries feature. This feature helps them pinpoint the problem they are experiencing and find the best solution fast.
Lastly, your employees can use the chat window feature. Here, they can raise a ticket so that a Zendesk agent contacts them at the first available opportunity. Tickets can also be raised through a phone call or email.
The second standout feature of Zendesk is that it’s a cloud-based suite. This aspect of Zendesk means that your employees can monitor and report incidents on the go, regardless of their physical location. Provided they have an internet connection, they can access Zendesk’s functions at their convenience. Furthermore, any reports or documents they upload are shared in real-time with all relevant members of your organization, helping to streamline your incident management process.
3. Spiceworks Help Desk
Third on our lists of incident management tools for 2019 is Spiceworks, a remarkable free help desk for Windows and Mac OS that lets your staff report, log and manage incidents with ease.
Spiceworks is available as on-premises software and as a more limited online version.
If you’re wondering what makes Spiceworks one of the best incident management software tools for 2019, here are its two standout features:
Cloud-based help desk
Active user community
Although Spiceworks on-premises software isn’t cloud-based, it does has a Cloud Help Desk feature that can be accessed anywhere from any device with an internet connection. This means that you don’t need to worry about software and OS compatibility, as you can access Help Desk from any iOS or Android device.
With cross-platform compatibility, Spiceworks gives your employees the freedom to use devices that match their preferences. They can access the Help Desk through a device of their choosing. This gives them the flexibility to report and monitor issues as they occur.
Active user community
The second feature that makes Spiceworks one of the top incident management tools for 2019 is its highly active user community. There are literally thousands of plug-ins that you can use to help integrate the system with other programs you might use.
For example, Spiceworks’ agent dashboard has a note-taking and messaging extension that helps your employees find collaborative solutions to any issues they experience.
There are dozens of world-class plug-ins for almost any software you may want to use Spiceworks with, making it a must-have incident management tool for 2019 and beyond!
OpsGenie is the fourth tool we highly recommend for 2019. Why? Quite simply, it puts communication at the heart of your incident management processes.
Let’s look at how and why OpsGenie is one of the top incident management tools for 2019 and beyond.
OpsGenie offers two main functions:
Real-time alerting and communications
On-call schedules for alerts and Customized notifications
Let’s look at these key benefits in greater detail!
Real-time alerting and communications
The first benefit of OpsGenie is that it lets you manage geographically distributed teams. This makes it perfect if your employees are mobile or you are looking to standardize incident management procedures across multiple locations.
With real-time alerting and communications, your teams will remain updated with the latest incidents and developments provided they can access the OpsGenie platform from any internet-enabled device.
But there’s more.
OpsGenie is also perfect if you routinely have to deal with after-hours incidents. The application is able to automatically initiate appropriate response actions, no matter what time of the day or night they occur.
This is incredibly helpful for those times that you don’t have staff available to respond to incidents such as server downtime or crashes. OpsGenie is able to create workflows that available staff can follow to get up and running.
On-call schedules for alerts and Customized notifications
The second benefit of OpsGenie is its ability to offer customized notifications. As part of its response actions, it can notify staff members in a range of ways. For instance, non-addressed alerts can be followed up via OpsGenie’s phone call service.
OpsGenie operates on an escalation management system. This system has a series of predefined rules that govern the actions to be taken according to the type of incident detected. These rules can be customized so that the appropriate management levels are notified when certain actions and decisions are taken.
For example, let’s say you want to set up the escalation management for a server outage. You would set the rules based on incident severity and outline the different tiers and management levels you want notifications to be sent to when a server outage occurs.
When this type of incident occurs, OpsGenie will follow these rules to provide an automated phone call, SMS, or email to key employees at the appropriate management levels. As all decisions and actions are made from the OpsGenie mobile app, your entire team is connected and responsive at all times, without the need for manual intervention.
As the notifications are documented for each alert, your team can retrospectively look at the steps OpsGenie took when it detected problems and make adjustments accordingly. Over time, this helps improve the efficiency of the app at detecting and dealing with processes.
VictorOps is the fifth incident management tool for 2019 that you need to know about. Positioned as an alternative to PagerDuty, VictorOps is one of the best tools for structuring and streamlining your incident management processes in 2019.
So what are VictorOps’ unique benefits and advantages?
Like PagerDuty, VictorOps offers three key benefits for businesses:
Customized alerts and notifications
VictorOps is a real-time platform that’s perfect for reacting to open incidents and analysing them with a view to reducing or eliminating the chances of them occurring in the future. When a member of staff reports an incident via VictorOps, an incident alert is sent according to an on-call plan. This helps ensure that reports reach all relevant members of your organization in real-time, helping everyone stay in the loop.
However, staff members can also redirect messages and alerts themselves dynamically. For instance, they could add links to server logs, or explanations of solutions to messages before sending them. This can be done ‘on the fly’, helping to keep everyone updated about the latest incidents and solutions. As VictorOps is accessible in real-time, these solutions can be followed by team members who are nearest to the incident, or available at the time.
As with PagerDuty, VictorOps builds a ‘timeline’ that displays every piece of information. This helps you track incidents and see how they are investigated, responded to and either resolved or escalated. During investigations, this timeline can help you tie events together and keep track of your team members and their actions.
Customized alerts and notifications One of the most unique features of VictorOps is its ‘transmogrifier’. This tool lets you customize everything from incident flows to alerts, notifications and more. For this reason, VictorOps lets your team modify the way they deal with incident management issues according to their specific needs and preferences. This potentially helps teams address problems faster and find solutions quicker than otherwise.
As we’ve seen, the top five incident management tools on our list have a lot to offer in 2019 and beyond. If you’re in the process of choosing the right incident management software, you may be wondering about your next steps.
Beakon’s incident management software offers industry-leading reporting, tracking and reporting abilities. So, contact us for a demo to see for yourself how our incident management software can meet your needs!
However, we recognize that successfully transitioning from an old-fashioned paper-based incident management system to a software solution isn’t always plain sailing. There’s more to it than simply choosing an off-the-shelve solution and hoping for the best.
For the transition to be successful, you need to be aware of the key concepts for maximum success. If you’re curious to find out more, keep reading!
In this post, we promise to show you the four key concepts for maximum success when adopting new incident management processes. We’ll show you how these concepts underpin every successful system for reporting, analysing and dealing with incidents in your workplace.
In this post, we’ll be discussing:
The competitive advantages of incident management software
Key characteristics of incident management software
Key concept 1: Real-time monitoring
Key concept 2: Integration
Key concept 3: Standardization
Key concept 4: Automated processes
In this post, we’ll be outlining all of these areas and more.
Sound fair? Then let’s go!
The competitive advantages of incident management software
Leading incident management software should help you improve your incident reporting.
This gives your organization a competitive advantage over your competition.
But what is the competitive advantage?
Well, take a moment and consider;
What’s most important to you?
What are the challenges your organization faces?
What goals do you face?
There’s a good chance that incident management software helps address some of the answers you gave. The right software can help you meet the challenges you face while helping you achieve your goals.
With incident management software, you can:
Boost your incident reporting rate and make all records easily searchable
Ensure regulatory compliance by informing the statutory authorities if a serious harm incident occurs.
Monitor incident investigations and corrective actions
Take proactive measures to reduce the chance of future incidents occurring
Save your organization time and money
Reduce the risk of fines for regulatory non-compliance (In Australia, firms are legally responsible for reporting serious harm incidents to the relevant statutory authorities).
Whether you’re looking to reduce costs, improve compliance, or increase efficiency, incident management software could be just what you need.
By streamlining your incident management processes, you are helping transform the efficiency of your company. You’ll significantly reduce the risk of being fined for non-compliance. You’ll save time when reporting incidents, you’ll be able to deal with them effectively and you’ll be able to take corrective actions when an incident occurs.
Key characteristics of incident management software
Unfortunately, the competitive advantages we just discussed aren’t guaranteed when you invest in incident management software.
You see, leading software will offer these advantages, while lesser options won’t provide your organization with the benefits you are looking for.
Before discussing the key concepts of incident management processes, we need to define what we mean by leading incident management software.
Here are the characteristics of leading incident management software:
Instant, real-time communication
Comprehensive notification suite
Analysis, tracking, and investigation
Let’s look at these characteristics in more detail below.
Instant, real-time communication
The best software will give your employees the ability to immediately report an incident, no matter where they are. Leading incident management software can be accessed by a range of devices, including computers, mobile devices, and handheld devices. Employees or contractors can enter the details and status of any incident they encounter via a range of methods, such as text, mobile apps, or email.
These reports are then instantly shared in real-time so that everyone has access to the report. Whether there’s a spill, a critical injury, or a recall, your entire organization will have the information they need at their fingertips.
If you have staff that must manage multiple locations, incident management software can help them handle this challenge. Software that works across a range of devices, including mobile, handheld and computer, will ensure that all reports and notifications are shared with all staff members who have permission to view them.
Leading incident management software is able to combine multiple functions within one convenient package. This includes safety, environment and quality functions. This multi-function ability makes the software far less expensive and less time-consuming compared with having multiple systems for each function.
Some examples of safety functions would include:
Vehicle accidents or crashes
Within environment functions, we could include:
Loss of environmental containment (spills/leaks)
Plant or equipment damage
Some examples of quality functions would include:
One of the key characteristics of leading incident management software is that it can handle multiple functions within one system. This is less expensive to implement and saves your staff time too.
Comprehensive notification suite
The fourth characteristic of leading incident management software is that it offers a comprehensive and customizable notification suite.
This is helpful for a variety of reasons, including:
You can instruct your staff about the correct course of actions.
SMS and email notifications
You can communicate with your staff over multiple channels to increase compliance rates.
Good incident management software offers your staff a wide variety of ways to communicate and receive notifications. This helps meet their needs and preferences and increases compliance with incident reporting, analysis and the like.
The dashboard should be self-configurable by employees so they can receive notifications through their preferred channels (i.e. SMS, email, etc.).
Analysis, tracking, and investigation
The fifth characteristic of good incident management software is that it helps with analysis, tracking, and investigation.
This includes the following areas;
Root cause analysis
The software offers insights into the root cause of an incident, helping you predict future occurrences and put safeguards in place.
Action allocation and tracking
The software should be able to allocate resources and help you by tracking how these resources are deployed.
Leading software is able to assist you in investigating the incident. For example, if your IT systems crash, the software can pinpoint the root cause of the incident and develop a workflow that helps you avoid a repeat incidence.
Now that we’ve looked at the competitive advantages that incident management software gives you and explored key characteristics of leading incident management software, it’s time to delve into the key concepts for maximum success.
Key concept 1: Real-time reporting and monitoring
The first key concept for maximum success with incident management processes is real-time reporting and monitoring.
The most effective way to implement this is through a cloud-based system that automatically updates your records and databases. As staff members interact with the dashboard, their inputs and updates are shared with everyone else in the organization that has permission to view them.
Real-time monitoring is a key concept because it helps employees stay updated and it helps them take prompt action when an incident occurs.
For example, let’s say that a leak occurs in a warehouse and this is noted by a member of staff. The incident management software wouldn’t have any impact of the physical act of stopping the leak and clearing up the contaminated area; that work would proceed according to company procedures irrespective of whether the business was using paper-based incident reporting or incident management software.
However, what happens after the leak is where you’d see the difference. With paper-based reporting, the incident would take time to work through the different layers of management before arriving on the desk of senior decision-makers. With incident management software, however, every member of staff with permission to view that information would be simultaneously notified in real-time.
Why is this important?
Real-time reporting has several key benefits, including:
Faster responses to critical incidents
No more inefficient communications as you’d get from a paper-based system
Prompter decisions on the course of action
Awareness of incidence across the organization
Alert other staff of incidents and critical errors
As we’ve shown, real-time monitoring and reporting is a key concept that is critical for maximum success when implementing an incident management process.
Key concept 2: Cross-platform integration
The second key concept for maximum success with incident management processes is cross-platform integration.
Cross-platform integration ensures that all employees and contractors across an organization with permission to view incident reports and logs can be kept fully in the loop.
To explain how this works, consider that all leading incident management software is cloud-based. This means that employees can view their own customized dashboard via a variety of devices, including computers, mobile devices, and handheld devices.
As the software’s database is stored in the cloud, each employee’s dashboard can be updated in real-time, instantly sharing data with everyone who has permission to view it.
The advantage of this approach is that all responsible parties can be notified simultaneously regardless of which device they are using.
For example, say that a serious injury took place on a property managed by a security firm. Having a paper-based incident reporting management system may mean that the employee involved would have a telephone call with their immediate supervisor, who would then log the incident and notify senior management via email. It may take hours before senior management even becomes aware of the incident.
But with a cross-platform cloud-based incident management solution, the incident management process is much smoother. The employee involved in the incident or their colleague could access the software platform via, say, their mobile device. The report would instantly be shared with everyone in the organization who had permission to view reports, regardless of what type of device they were using.
Notification functions such as sending SMS messages and emails would ensure that everyone was made aware as soon as possible, helping to spur the staff into action.
Key concept 3: Standardization
The third key concept for success is creating a standardized workflow for handling incidents. This concept is especially relevant for large businesses that are looking to standardize incident management processes across multiple locations, premises, or even multiple countries.
Leading incident management processes help standardize the way that employees tackle workflows when handling incidents.
The software itself is able to generate a workflow for dealing with specific issues as soon as an incident is logged.
It can then send automated notifications and reminders to staff, prompting them to take specific actions.
Having the same software across an entire organization means that all employees have a standardized way of dealing with specific incidents, regardless of where they are located.
Standardization can help ensure that a business complies with all applicable regulations, even if their operations are spread across multiple premises.
This reduces the need to investigate the specific practices being employed across organizations and can reduce managerial workloads.
Key concept 4: Automated processes
The fourth key concept for success is the automation of processes. Leading incident management software is able to autonomously respond to, report, and investigate events.
This is especially prevalent with IT-specific incident management software. Issues with software and hardware such as IT errors, crashes, and downtime can be logged, reported, and investigated automatically by the software without any human intervention.
This has several benefits, including:
Reduced investigation costs
Increased reporting rate
More accurate workflow prognosis
Promoted resolution of problems
Automating the process of logging and responding to incidents frees up your staff’s time to work on other areas. They can focus on fixing the problem by following the workflows created by the software instead of spending time searching for a solution.
The appeal for large organizations is that automated processes can save time and training costs too. For example, in a large company with multiple premises, you can expect similar problems to occur in multiple locations. Once the correct solution has been identified in one location, this data can be shared via the incident management platform, helping reduce the time it takes to find the solution for other premises.
In this post, we’ve explored the four key concepts for maximum success when it comes to incident management processes and incident management software.
With the right software, you can realize these and other great benefits.
You know that spreadsheets, paper systems, and carrier pigeons don’t work, so implementing the right incident management software that can help your organization achieve its goals for a safe and secure workplace should be your next step.
Contact us for a demo to see for yourself how our incident management software can meet your needs!
In this post, we’re presenting a complete start-to-finish guide to incident management systems in 2019. Our aim for is to give you a complete overview of these systems and explain how they help organizations of all sizes save time, keep their employees safe and boost revenue.
In this start-to-finish guide, we’ll cover the following areas
What is an Incident Management System?
Types of incidents explained
Why invest in an Incident Management System?
Key advantages of Incident Management Systems
Taking your next steps
1. What is an Incident Management System?
An incident management system is any system that helps an organization respond to, manage or prevent any incidents that occur on their premises or that affect their staff or customers.
The system should cover the following five factors:
These five factors are a critical part of a company’s incident management system, regardless of whether it is paper-based, electronic, or a hybrid system.
Let’s look at them in greater detail:
1. Procedures The backbone of any incident management system is a list of procedures that staff must follow in the event of an incident, accident, or event.
Traditionally, incident management systems have been paper-based collections of handwritten or printed documents that are filed and stored.
In Australia, most small businesses create a written document called a Safety Statement. This document outlines how the business plans to minimize risk on their premises. It will cover the control measures and risk assessments that need to be conducted to ensure that staff and contractors remain as safe as possible at all times.
While this method of procedure documentation may be referred to as paper-based, documents may be typed on MS Word or Excel and stored electronically, or printed out and stored as hard copies for safekeeping.
Many companies utilize incident management software to help them track, manage and respond to incidents as they occur. This software is available to, and used by, all members of the organization, from junior employees to senior stakeholders.
The software is used to:
Respond to specific situations.
Resolve problems as they occur.
The main benefit of using incident management software is that all members of an organization are kept updated and informed about incidents in real-time. In the event of a physical incident, incident management software can notify the relevant stakeholders and suggest an appropriate workflow for responding to the incident. In the case of IT-related software, the software itself is able to initiate certain responses to problems, such as rebooting a server in the event of a crash, for example.
3. Communication systems All companies need a communication system in place in order to implement their incident management system.
A communication system could include some or all of the following options:
Instant messaging platforms
One of the advantages of investing in incident management software is that it provides a communication system for a company’s employees to use. Staff can use the software’s platform to keep in touch with each other and monitor incidents as they occur.
For example, when an incident happens, staff can use the incident management platform to file an incident report. The software then sends email and/or SMS notifications to other members of the organization and critical stakeholders, alerting them to the situation in real-time.
As all communications are in one place, the platform provides a holistic communication system for all members of the organization to use. They can track, monitor and resolve incidents along the way, through a variety of channels including messages, notifications, and updates.
4. Equipment The fourth key factor in any incident management system is the equipment used by employees. This includes the physical devices used to access the incident management software (such as laptops and mobile devices) as well as any equipment required to deal with the incidents.
Common communication equipment includes:
Computers and laptops
Handheld communication devices such as walkie-talkies
Most incident management software platforms have their own app designed to work with iOS and Android devices. This means that personnel can simply install the app on their work or personal mobile devices to gain access to the platform at their convenience.
The fifth factor necessary for an incident management system to be effective is personal. This includes a company’s employees, but may also include contractors who must be trained to respond to incidents.
Employees must be trained to:
React to incidents
Understand the nature of various incidents
Follow the correct procedures when responding to incidents
To ensure that all employees work together in the event of an incident or emergency, the employer must provide comprehensive training. However, today’s incident management software is able to generate workflows for staff can follow. These are written procedures that help staff deal effectively with specific incidents.
Software-generated workflows help ensure that those who are first to respond to an incident have as much data as possible. They are better able to respond in the shortest amount of time and maintain effective communication during emergency situations.
2. Types of incidents explained
Now that we’ve looked at what an incident management system is, it’s time to turn our attention to the types of incidents that are commonly dealt with.
Incidents will tend to fall into one of the following three categories:
Each of these four categories requires different types of responses, with different procedures.
1. Physical incidents In this category, you’ll find general or community complaints, general illnesses among staff, and serious injuries or illnesses involving staff and contractors. This category also covers incidents such as fires, explosions, motor vehicle collisions, and near misses.
2. Environmental issues
This category covers damage to either the organization’s premises or equipment, loss of environmental containment (spills and leaks) and security breaches.
3. IT-related issues
IT-focused incident management software helps employees resolve IT issues such as using specific software, dealing with server failure, or other issues that lead to downtime. Unlike physical and environmental issues, IT-related issues can often be responded to automatically by the software. This may help resolve the incident without any human intervention. For example, if a company’s server crashes, incident management software may be able to restart the server to resolve the incident.
3. Why invest in an Incident Management System?
As we’ve shown, most organizations use paper-based incident management systems, built around Safety Statements to respond to and address incidents. So why would an organization invest in a software or cloud-based incident management system?
There are four main reasons why an organization would want to invest in improving or upgrading their incident management system:
Improving employee safety
Maintaining and/or increasing profits
Improving employee safety Well-designed incident management systems can give a company a powerful combination of data and communication tools that can help it respond to incidents faster. Potentially, this can save time and, in emergency situations, it may even save lives.
The main benefit of having a software or cloud based system is that all communication channels are combined. Organizations that use incident management software can accomplish more in less time than if they were using a paper-based system. For example, incident reporting with a software-based system takes a fraction of the time of compiling a paper-based report.
Incident management systems help improve employee safety by giving a company real-time situational awareness. This helps ensure that employees receive the most appropriate support at the earliest opportunity, helping to prevent incidents from escalating.
Maintaining and/or increasing profits In Australia, firms are legally responsible for reporting serious harm incidents to the relevant statutory authorities. Robust incident management systems can help automate this process, ensuring that the organization doesn’t fall foul of laws and become subject to fines that may adversely affect their profitability.
4. Key advantages of Incident Management Systems
A well-designed incident management system offers the following key advantages:
Preparedness to deal with incidents
Effective communication within an organization
Increased safety for employees, clients, and contractors
To understand more about these key areas, we’ll look at each in more detail.
1. Preparedness to deal with incidents
One of the top advantages of a robust incident management system is that all employees are sufficiently prepared to deal with a wide range of incidents. In the event of an emergency, first responders will have a clear idea of any hazards they may encounter and will have been trained how to respond.
In addition to training, the incident management system will give employees the tools they need to deal with various scenarios. This may include interactive maps of the location, CCTV points, utility shut-off points, first-aid kit locations, and access points.
Using the incident management software platform, staff can report incidents and keep the entire organization aware of their actions in real-time. The platform enables other employees to offer guidance or advice and lets critical stakeholders see the specific actions that were taken and how the incident was resolved.
A key advantage of using incident management software is that it lets senior management retrospectively look at how past events unfolded. They can identify pain-points that prevented the issue from being resolved faster and find ways of improving response times in the future.
2. Effective communication within an organization
The second key advantage of having a well-designed incident management system in place is that it provides staff with effective communication channels at all times. All leading software platforms are cloud-based meaning they can be accessed from any computer or mobile device with internet access.
This ensures that incident reporting takes place in real-time, with all members of the organization able to track incidents as they occur.
The communication channels can be highly customized so staff can receive communication according to their preferences. This could include SMS messages, emails or push notifications, as they choose.
In an emergency situation, the incident management software provides a timeline of communications so that senior managers can track the flow of communications and see whether the incident was escalated or resolved, and how. This gives key personnel real-time situational awareness.
Some incident management software is able to act as an emergency notification system. This means it can be used to report emergency incidents such as fires or spills as soon as they occur. During an incident, the system will keep contact with all employees via a range of communication channels including voice, SMS messaging and email.
For example, in the event of an emergency situation, the first staff member on the scene could initiate contact with emergency operators, all via the incident management system’s platform. This reduces the response times of emergency services.
3. Increased safety for employees, clients, and contractors
The third key advantage of incident management systems is that risks to employee’s safety can be minimized and managed. Incident management software that offers a smartphone app provides employees with direct access to the incident platform at all times. If they notice a problem, see something suspicious or have any issues, they can alert their supervisors and senior managers with ease.
Some incident management software even lets employees called 911 or alert onsite security with the press of a button. This can ensure that critical data is delivered instantaneously and can help shorten response times.
5. Taking your next steps
This start-to-finish guide has explained everything you need to know about incident management systems in 2019.
While some organizations will continue to rely on basic safety statements and paper-based procedures, an increasing number of companies are choosing to adopt incident management software to facilitate their overall incident management system. The right software can help any organization achieve its goals for a safe and secure workplace.
Contact us for a demo to see for yourself how our incident management software can meet your needs!