Major Improvements Follow Minor Injury Reporting
By Josh Williams, Ph.D.
Employees may believe reporting minor injuries is a waste of time or that small incidents are just “part of the job.” However, these minor injuries may have the potential for serious ones with other employees. Shining a light on these situations may help prevent serious injuries and fatalities in the future.
Strong leaders encourage reporting minor injuries and close calls. To do this successfully, make the process as clear and simple for your specific organization. This includes simple instructions with reporting to supervisors, using apps, or even dropping off physical forms in deposit boxes. Regardless of your system, make sure employees know:
- How to report injuries and close calls
- When to report them (immediately after they happen)
- Why it matters to drive system improvements and prevent future injuries
- Blame is not part of the process
Include this information when onboarding new employees and remind workers periodically throughout the year so it stays top of mind.
Why Minor Injury Reporting Matters
Employees are often scared to report close calls and injuries because they think they’ll get in trouble or will have lengthy hassles to deal with. Make sure they understand the process is simple, not blame oriented, and designed to improve the system for future incident prevention.
Real life example: In one organization’s packing department, employees routinely discarded broken or snapped-off box cutter blades in nearby trash cans. One day, an associate cut her hand when reaching into a trash can to retrieve a piece of paper she had thrown away. She cut her hand on a discarded retractable blade. After the minor injury was reported, the company set up durable lockboxes to collect discarded blades. If the injury had gone unreported, the company couldn’t have made this important change and another employee could have experienced the same injury, or even a more serious laceration or amputation.
Bottom Line: Encouraging minor injury and close call reporting helps prevent future injuries. Leaders should encourage this reporting, thank people for doing so, and advertise improvements based on lessons learned.
At Propulo, we work with leaders to find new ways to advertise successes to fuel discretionary effort for safety.