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This November, Pro-Sapien is holding the first annual Incident Management Month, or #IMM2016.

I know you’re probably thinking that every day seems to play host to some obscure national holiday or celebration (November alone sees Cook for Your Pet Day, National Sandwich Day and National Pickle Day, amongst others), but we at Pro-Sapien believe that highlighting the importance of reporting incidents in the workplace matters, and here’s why:

Injuries and accidents are plentiful - Reporting them can help avoid future occurrences 
In the UK during 2014/2015, there were 611,000 injuries in the workplace. Globally, this figure is 317 million accidents. There is no shortage of workplace incidents on a daily basis – taking the 317 million figure, this equates to almost 870,000 workplace accidents per day. By reporting an incident, this can help organizations focus resources or highlight corrective actions related to staff training, infrastructure, equipment or machinery. A reduction of accidents, say by 10%, would reduce the global number by 31 million: even a 1% reduction would mean an extra 3.1 million people globally, per year, return home from work unharmed. By promoting #IMM2016 we want to highlight how reporting incidents is crucial in lowering accident rates.

Near misses happen even more often than incidents - Use what you learn from them 
For every reported major injury, there are several minor accidents and an estimated 300 near misses (see the famous Heinrich model triangle opposite). Unfortunately near misses are often ignored in the workplace, despite being a “free lesson” on how to prevent accidents from ever taking place. The importance of systematic near miss reporting lies in the learning: the causes of accidents and near misses are usually the same. Again, it comes back to the fact that investigating both incidents and accidents is crucial. We want to highlight during #IMM2016 that there should be a culture of reporting near misses as well as incidents.

A culture of safety is often lacking - Improve your safety culture going forward!

The term safety culture is quite generic, and the term can be used emptily, but we will use it here to emphasise that some companies do not embrace safety as much as others. Traditionally, the most in-depth reporting of accidents and near misses takes place in organizations with a strong safety culture. They go hand in hand. 20% of employees feel that their companies do not provide active and visible support for health and safety in their work place – this isn’t good enough. Again, a small reduction in this number would mean that a positive ethos is being instilled in more businesses across the world. Of course, this won’t happen overnight, but throughout #IMM2016 we want to prove to bosses that small positive steps can make a huge difference.

There isn’t enough leadership from the top down regarding safety - Don’t forget what we’re all taught as children: actions speak louder than words. Be the change you want to see

It’s quite a sweeping statement to say that there isn’t enough leadership from the top, but we have continually seen potential clients come to us and admit it is a struggle to get senior leadership on board when it comes to improving safety reporting and management. It’s been highlighted in research that productivity can be enhanced by 10% when workers are incentivised by compliments from their superiors. If a company embraces an ethos of safety which comes from the top, they too are more likely to be motivated to embrace the safety culture. First and foremost, workers need to be and feel valued. Of course, it can be a struggle and an uphill battle to not only communicate but to build relationships in the first place, where perhaps they have been lacking previously. As I said before, it’s a long-term process. We aim to highlight during #IMM2016 that implementing easy-to-use tools could be your first step along the way. Pair this with the assurance that data captured is being distilled, disseminated and acted upon and you’ve got the bones of an effective strategy. 

As the director of Pro-Sapien Software, Murray Ferguson comments:

“Those on the shop floor will find that reporting incidents is a waste of time unless follow up actions, recommendations or changes are carried out. We hope that #IMM2016 will assist companies become more pro-active in encouraging staff to report incidents and to embody a stronger safety culture and set the standard for colleagues. Incident management not only helps reduce accidents and near misses, but it also boosts staff morale and productivity knowing they are working in an environment of safety.” 

Pro-Sapien will be running several events online throughout the month of November as part of Incident Management Month, including a webinar, guest articles about Incident Management from noted health and safety professionals, online discussions on Twitter via the #IMM2016 hashtag, and a competition to boost employee morale and encourage teamwork. A full press release can be found here.