The importance of having an incident management and reporting system


You want to take your Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) responsibilities seriously, but how do you know you are meeting your obligations, and how do you prove it?

Is your workplace as safe as it could be? How well prepared is your organisation to prevent and manage incidents?

Such questions should always be fully and honestly answered by safety officers, and should always be matters for critical examination, specially in high-risk industries such as construction, Oil & Gas, Power plant, Roads & Buildings, chemicals and hazardous sectors.

An incident management/reporting system helps you answer these questions, and ensure that your company is always prepared to prevent and manage accidents, incidents, and near misses.

Incident Reporting is requirement of any occupational health and safety management system and when this is not done efficiently the flow on effect may result in excessive costs to the business.

A key element of an effective OHS system is a systematic approach to managing safety, including the necessary organisational structures, accountabilities, policies and procedures to create a Continuous Improvement Cycle.

An effective Safety Management System which can help to establish the framework of compliance with the two fundamental elements of most OHS legislation:

  • That employers provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risk
  • That employees take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves and others

A systematic approach to incident reporting can help to identify trends in incident types and identify and maximise improvement opportunities across the whole system.

Also, periodic reviews of control measures and risk assessments should be conducted to ensure the control measures implemented are appropriate and effective and the risk assessments are still valid. This can be achieved through safety audits, regular workplace inspections, consultation with employees and review of incident investigations. Risk management should be built into all workplace activities that can give rise to safety issues.