Creating a safe workplace requires efficient incident management tools for reporting safety incidents to achieve EHS excellence.
Are you currently reviewing the right tools for the workplace safety in your company? Are you thinking of taking your incident management to the next level, for example through EHS software?
In this article, we’ll explore different methods of tracking and reporting safety incidents — paper forms, digital forms, and EHS software solutions. You can use this overview to make an informed decision that aligns with your company’s needs and to find the right incident management for you.
Reporting Safety Incidents through Paper Forms
How it works
Employees fill out designated paper forms, providing details about the incident, its causes, and accompanying information. Then they hand them to their team leader and the EHS manager files and archives the forms for future reference.
👍Benefits of Reporting Safety Incidents through Paper Forms
Paper forms are a tangible and familiar approach to incident reporting. Employees can access them on-site and fill them out. If your company is a small organisation with a limited budget for software, paper forms are a straightforward way for incident management.
👎Drawbacks of Reporting Safety Incidents through Paper Forms
Employees need to get a paper form before they can report an incident. If no paper forms are available on-site at that moment, it delays the data entry. In the worst case, employees might not report the incident.
Especially if your company has more than one site, paper forms are likely not the most suitable way for incident management. Collecting and storing incident data across multiple sites through paper forms creates a high administrative burden. And risks forms getting lost. Moreover, analyzing and extracting insights from paper-based incident data is time-consuming and can lead to data errors.
Switching from paper to digital might be a big step, especially if your organization has been using them for a long time. However, it’s important to evaluate the benefits of digital incident management on your EHS efficiency.
Reporting Safety Incidents through Digital Forms
How it works
Instead of filling in a paper form, employees can report incidents through a digital form and share it through email.
You can remove one step of the process by offering digital forms that automatically save in the company’s system. For example, you can use Microsoft Forms to create a straightforward form that employees can use to report a safety incident.
Alternatively, if your company already has an intranet, you can also implement an incident reporting form on there.
👍Benefits of Reporting Safety Incidents through Digital Forms
Digital forms simplify incident management by eliminating the need for physical paperwork. Employees can quickly access the digital forms and fill them out.
Especially when you set up a digital form that automatically saves to your company’s file system, it is an easy way for employees to report incidents. It also saves you time as an EHS manager as the reports automatically land in the database and you can retrieve them when needed.
Moreover, digital forms can have required fields, reducing the likelihood of incomplete or inaccurate incident reports. Mandatory fields ensure that all necessary information is captured, and predefined response options standardize data collection. This improves the quality and consistency of the reported data. And ultimately enables better analysis and decision-making for improving safety measures.
👎Drawbacks of Reporting Safety Incidents through Digital Forms
You will need to communicate very clearly how employees can find the digital forms and make it as easy as possible for them to find and use them.
For example, employees might not have the link to the Microsoft Form handy or can only access the intranet through their computer with a separate log-in. This extra step might discourage them from reporting incidents promptly, leading to underreporting of safety incidents.
You will need to set up a thought-through folder setup to file all forms so that you can keep track of them. Collecting data through digital sheets also requires you to export and analyse the data manually in different Excel sheets. The lack of automatised analytics and workflows make incident management challenging, especially if your company has multiple sites.
Reporting Safety Incidents through EHS Software
How it works
Implementing an EHS software solution streamlines incident reporting by providing a centralized platform for data collection and analysis. Employees can log incidents through a user-friendly interface, capturing essential details in predefined fields. The software stores and organizes the data for easy access and analysis.
👍Benefits of Reporting Safety Incidents through EHS Software
EHS software offers numerous advantages for incident management. Employees have a centralized place to report safety incidents. The software files the reports automatically, tracks the incidents and lets you monitor and follow up any outstanding actions off the back of the safety incident.
Especially if your company is a large, complex organization, EHS software might be the ideal choice for you. It helps you save time significantly and its comprehensive analytics and reporting features empower you to gain actionable insights and identify trends. This ultimately enables you to make informed decisions about the EHS in your organization across different sites.
👎Drawbacks of Reporting Safety Incidents through EHS Software
Depending on the software, employees may need to get used to a new user interface first. It would also be another platform that employees need to sign on to, potentially delaying incident reports.
While EHS software streamlines incident management, cost can be a potential drawback, particularly for smaller companies. Implementation and maintenance fees can be challenging for limited budgets. However, there are EHS software companies that cater to different budgets and industries.
Reporting Safety Incidents through a Microsoft 365 integrated EHS Software
How it works
You can implement Incident Management Software that leverages Microsoft 365 as a platform. The software seamlessly integrates with popular Microsoft applications, such as SharePoint, Teams and PowerBI.
Employees can report safety incidents on Microsoft Teams and the data automatically tracks in Power BI. You can use SharePoint to manage follow-up actions to prevent recurrence of the safety incidents.
👍Benefits of Reporting Safety Incidents through Microsoft 365
This integrated solution offers the best of both worlds by combining the flexibility and reliability of EHS software with the familiarity of Microsoft 365. Building EHS functionality onto enterprise business applications such as Microsoft 365 brings EHS incident reporting into the everyday apps of your employees.
They don’t need to log in to a separate platform to report a safety incident. They can simply open Microsoft Teams and report the incident there. This keeps EHS front of mind for everyone and makes it easier for your employees to access and report safety incidents, ultimately boosting EHS engagement across your organization.
At the same time, integrating EHS Software on Microsoft 365 centralizes the safety incident data on a platform you already know. You can easily share reports from Power BI to Microsoft Teams, and follow up actions on there as well.
👎Drawbacks of Reporting Safety Incidents through Microsoft 365
While a Microsoft 365 integrated EHS software provides numerous benefits, you will need to evaluate whether it suits your company. This depends on different criteria, such as budget size and how invested you are in Microsoft 365.
Usually, larger organizations with more than 1,000+ employees benefit the most from Microsoft 365-based safety software. The more your company already uses Microsoft 365 on a day-to-day basis, the more you will benefit from incident management on that platform.
It’s important to carefully assess the pricing structure and evaluate the long-term value the integration brings to your organization before making a decision.
Deciding on The Right Safety Incident Management
When it comes to tracking safety incidents, relying on paper-based systems or digital forms might be a straightforward option, but also comes with lower EHS efficiency.
Considering an EHS software solution, whether standalone or integrated with Microsoft 365, can offer significant advantages. Efficient incident reporting, real-time response and actionable insights can take your safety incident management to the next level.
Choose the method that aligns with your organization’s needs and complexity, and embark on a safer and more streamlined path to EHS management.