Keeping your Safety Data


Keeping up-to-date data and analysing incidents and near misses in the workplace are an important aspect of identifying hazards and maintaining safe practices.

Recognising trends in your organisation’s incidents, injuries, near misses and hazards is critical to your company providing a safe environment for workers.  So how do you make sure you are capturing all of the information?

A good place to start is with procedures.  Make it part of your procedures that all incidents, no matter how small or insignificant, are recorded.  Again we acknowledge the importance of having key stakeholders take part in the creation of procedures because they may be able to contribute first- hand experience when it comes to tasks and functions in the organisation.

The near miss:  It is a common problem that not enough emphasis is put on “near misses” or minor incidents, much to the detriment of safety in the workplace.  A near miss simply means that an accident, and perhaps a very serious injury, was just avoided and if something isn’t done it may not be avoided next time.  If a near miss is not recorded then in all likelihood it could happen again.  It is paramount that you have procedures in place which dictate that all near misses should be recorded and the easier you make it for the worker to report these incidents the more information you will capture.

Documenting and recording the identification of hazards, actions, decisions and controls also make up valuable data relating to your organisation such as:

  • Risk Registers
  • Hazard registers
  • Hazardous substances registers
  • Plant registers

This documentation enables you to analyse the risk methods used, what worked and why, what did not work and why, what still needs to be done and what procedures were most effective.    Documenting can be by charts and graphs, producing notes and reports, flow charts and even photography in this technological age.

There are many sources of external information that can be accessed for hazard identification too.  Some external sources are:

  • Consultants
  • National Government legislative bodies
  • Standards Australia
  • Industry Associations
  • Unions
  • Industrial Relations Commission

Keeping up-to-date records of documentation and data will make it permanently available to others to refer to and will assist in identifying hazards that did not present themselves on previous inspections or audits.  And don’t forget how valuable your codes of practice and regulations are for safe work procedures.

So use the data you gather to help you analyse and identify areas that are vulnerable.  As a safety professional you cannot afford to take your eye off the ball when it comes to the safety of your workers

About the Author

Joanne Wallace is our resident "Safety Guru". Joanne has provided advice on safety management for the past 10 years and written hundreds of articles on safety issues and tips. Joanne has experience in many industries ranging from manufacturing, food processing, timber milling, retail, office and wholesaling providing her with knowledge and experience managing risk and injuries in these industries.

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