How to Choose Incident Reporting Software: Key Elements in 2019
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:
- Personnel tracking
- Evacuation management
- Pre-incident measurement tracking
- Root cause analysis
- KPI set selection and tracking
- Automated reporting
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 precede or lead up to 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
- OHS citations
- Total case incident rate
- Days away
- 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:
- Near misses
- Behavioral observations
- Job observations
- 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 (ie. What is employee perception of safety culture in the workplace and how can you respond to that?)
- Preventative maintenance (PM) programs, ie. 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.
That’s where incident reporting software comes in handy. In fact, it’s one of the top incident reporting tools that will make your job easier. The software is able to automate much of the data gathering and reporting work and can create tracking reports in real-time as the data is generated.
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.