After a long day sometimes the last thing you want to do is more paperwork. However, that small near miss earlier in the day is on your mind; it could happen to someone else and you probably would have avoided it if you had been a bit more proficient earlier. You don't want to look stupid and you can't really be bothered with the paperwork although just 10 minutes extra to put this into a report could make a big difference. It is amazing that even in small organisations those one-off events that happened to you are possibly just one-off events that happen to everyone else in the organisation and this then multiplies up across your organisation and even beyond to include other organisations.
So rather than a 'one off' event, it may be a growing problem that then leads to an issue that, of course everyone must know about, don't they? The people who can actually fix that problem may be in your organisation or another organisation? They must know about this issue, doesn't everyone? The new staff will know won't they?
Then the 'near miss' becomes an accident. Everybody then cannot believe it, how did that person not know about the issue and why was nothing done - after all, everybody knew about it!
This happens time, after time, after time. A simple report, especially accompanied with similar reports could have prevented the accident had something been done. In some organisations, reporting still carries a stigma and it is up to everyone, led from the top, to remove this. If a member of staff found out about a threat to their company in the financial sense and reported it to management they would be protecting their job. This is seen as a positive report, they may even be rewarded for this information; the senior management would want this information, and although a safety report represents a threat that may have the same effect, it is sometimes seen in a different way.
Reporting provides information to learn from, change and continuously improve and could even prevent an accident.
We need to make reporting easy, part of everyone's job and a positive action.
Reporting indicates a good safety culture within an organisation and people reporting on themselves shows an even better safety culture. People shouldn't feel or be seen as stupid for reporting (see Safety Bulletin Issue 7, Winter 2014/15).
It is very difficult to resolve a problem without data. Without data you cannot be sure you are fixing the real problem. Is it a problem or a genuine and rare one off? If you need to involve another organisation to solve the issue without any hard facts are they going to listen to you or be able to help?
With data from reports and any subsequent investigation you have a much better chance to examine the issue to get to the root cause. With a number of reports you can identify trends and focus your efforts on real issues without wasting time and effort. If you need to go to another organisation with some data it means they are more likely to pay attention and will have something to work on with you.
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The next issue, Summer 2015, will be a recap of subjects from previous issues. If you have something you wish to contribute or useful sources of information please submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org.