Is your organisation committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment for all employees, contractors, and volunteers? If so, then part of your organisation’s safety policy should include procedures for reporting all hazards, near misses, incidents, and injuries and submitting them to government regulators when necessary.
Read on to understand why it is important for your organisation to report hazards in the workplace, what the appropriate way to report hazards is, and what your organisation can use hazard reports for.
What are hazard reports and why are they important?
A hazard is anything that has the potential to harm or injure people, property, or equipment; a hazard report is an account of any potential risk to the health or safety of any person, property or equipment in the workplace.
All reports should include as much information as possible, including who was involved, what happened, where and when the event took place, and the cause of the event. Images and videos should also be included, when available.
Why is it important to report hazards in the workplace?
Why are hazard reports important? Reporting on all workplace safety hazards can help organisations identify potential causes of incidents and mitigate them before an incident can occur. Hazard reports are a form of risk prevention.
For example, an organisation’s policy might state that if an employee identifies a hazard during day-to-day activity, they should report the hazard to the appropriate manager immediately. Then, if the hazard can be remedied immediately, the manager should consult with the appropriate health and safety representative to eliminate the hazard promptly.
Unfortunately, sometimes hazards can be left unidentified, mistakes happen and unexpected accidents occur. In addition to hazards, organisations must also report on near misses, incidents, and injuries.
According to Safe Work Australia, the benefits of properly assessing and managing risks and hazards in the workplace include:
- preventing and reducing the quantity and severity of workplace injuries, illnesses, and associated costs,
- promoting and improving employee health, wellbeing, and capacity to work, and
- encouraging innovation and improving the quality and productivity of work (1).
Reporting hazards in the workplace
Are you wondering how to report a hazard in the workplace? There is no singular correct way to report hazards in the workplace, so all organisations have different health and safety policies and procedures. However, there are some best practices to follow, in addition to the guidelines and requirements set forth by your State and Federal governments.
Most regulators require reports to be filed immediately after an incident occurs; for example, Safe Work Australia states that “a ‘notifiable incident’ [must] be reported to the regulator immediately after becoming aware it has happened” (2).
Reporting should also always be documented in a routine and controlled fashion. Digital reports are most effective, as they eliminate messy paper trails and loss of information through verbal conversations.
Using SHEQSY to report hazards in the workplace
SHEQSY’s cloud-based lone worker platform makes reporting hazards, near misses, and incidents quick, easy, and seamless.
The SHEQSY app allows employees to report information, photos, and videos to their managers in real-time, from anywhere. Reports are instantly uploaded to the SHEQSY portal, along with employees’ personally identifiable information, pre-start form answers, exact locations, date and time stamps, and more.
Inside the SHEQSY portal, managers can access employee reports, monitor lone workers in real-time, and run comprehensive reporting as needed.
SHEQSY can also integrate with the platforms you already use, including your organisation’s risk management platform.
Click here to learn more about SHEQSY’s safety features.
Using SHEQSY’s pre-start forms to evaluate risks and hazards
SHEQSY also provides customisable pre-start forms that enable managers to collect specific information about their lone workers’ activities, clients, and local environments before they start working.
Managers can set their own questions based on their policies and procedures to identify any health and safety hazards. Examples include:
- “Have you completed a pre-visit safety screen?”
- “Will any of the patient’s family members be present during the appointment?”
- “Has the client or any of their family members been exposed to COVID-19 in the past 14 days?”
- “Are there any strange cars parked in the client’s driveway?”
- “Are you wearing all of your protective safety gear?”
From there, lone workers’ answers are instantly uploaded to the portal so that managers can access the data in real-time.
Click here to learn more about SHEQSY’s innovative safety features.
Why is it important to report OHS issues?
While your regulators may not require your organisation to notify them of all-hazard reports, you still have a legal duty of care to mitigate hazards in the workplace. On the other hand, typically, your organisation must notify regulators of serious incidents that occur.
For example, in Australia, notifiable incidents include:
- the death of any person, whether they are an employee, contractor, volunteer, or member of the public,
- serious illnesses or injuries, and
- dangerous incidents that expose any person to a serious risk, even if nobody is injured (3).
Further, the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 states that “the regulator must be immediately notified” of an incident, “written notification must be submitted within 48 hours if requested by the regulator,” and “the incident site [must be] preserved until an inspector arrives or directs otherwise” (4).
Failing to comply with your government’s laws on reporting hazards, near misses, and incidents to the appropriate regulator can result in serious offences and large fees. In Australia, if a person who conducts a business or undertaking (PCBU) fails to notify the regulator, fines of up to $50,000 may apply.
SHEQSY’s lone worker platform ensures that your organisation is in compliance with your government’s requirements for collecting and storing workplace health and safety information.
Our team is available via web meeting to discuss your requirements, answer questions, provide product overviews, and assist with free implementation of our lone worker solution. Request a demo today to learn how SHEQSY makes lone worker safety easy.