Why Mobile Forms are a Better Solution for Incident Reporting | 2018
Accidents happen. That’s part of life, and while everyday folks can quickly move on, companies are responsible for incidents report. While even the most stringent of health and safety practices and precautions can’t completely prevent incidents from occurring, reporting can greatly reduce the risk of accidents, injuries, and near misses.
How you handle incidents lays the groundwork for the improvement of long-term safety in the workplace. A culture of positive reporting can go a long way toward helping employees feel safe, but ultimately the quality of your corrective actions comes down to the quality of your information.
When it comes to incident reporting, you want to ensure your reports are clear, accurate, and easy to access. Mobile-based safety management systems are transforming the way industries react to incidents in the field.
How incidents are traditionally reported
There’s a vast list of events that can be classified as an “incident” in the workplace. According to regulatory agencies, incidents that must be reported include:
- Accidents that result in injuries such as bone fracture, amputation, loss or reduction of sight, crush injuries, burns, unconsciousness, or illness.
- Accidents that result in death.
- Injuries to non-workers, including contractors and members of the public.
- Occupational diseases such as carpal tunnel syndrome, severe cramp, dermatitis, asthma, hand-arm vibration syndrome, tendonitis, cancer, or exposure to a biological agent.
- Dangerous occurrences (near-misses) with the potential to cause harm.
Any of these events could occur at any time, and each one requires a separate report. Typically, reporting an incident means filling out a form obtained from authorized personnel or downloaded from a company server. The form must be completed with a pen or typed in, fully and factually. It should record the details of the incident, and the reporting individual must send to the health and safety manager by letter or email.
However, the problem with posting a letter or sending an email is that it adds time between reporting an incident and the eventual resolution.
An internal post office system typically only operates in local offices and large sites. For incidents that occur in the field, reports have to be taken to the nearest office or collected by authorized personnel. Both such solutions can mean days before anyone other than the people involved know about the incident.
While email speeds things up, it relies on the individual reporting obtaining computer and internet access– often an impossibility in the field. It also takes for granted that the form ends up in the right person’s inbox, meaning that an incorrectly-spelled email address could delay reporting by hours or even days. That’s far too long if an accident caused serious injury.
How mobile solutions make things simpler
Migrating your incident reporting to a mobile platform makes reporting quicker and easier. These days, everyone has access to a smartphone or tablet, which grants them the means to report an incident in seconds.
By logging in to an online hub, individuals can easily access incident forms and send reports without risking critical data on error-prone paper methods. For those tasked with reporting such as health and safety officers, mobile forms offer several benefits:
Filling out an incident report accurately and immediately can make a critical difference in the outcome an investigation. In the immediate aftermath of an accident, key information like the time or date can easily be missed. Customized mobile incident reports eliminate the risk of incomplete data by adapting to the user logged in. This means that data like the user’s name, local time, date and current location are automatically populated.
What’s more, forms that use custom logic will autofill later fields based on the site, user, and task so that they only show relevant questions. This accelerates the process and ensures critical information isn’t lost or entered incorrectly.
Real-time information, faster response
Unlike the crippled pace of traditional post, mobile forms work in real-time. That means as soon as an incident report is filed, the correct personnel receive an alert and can deliver instant feedback.
The most cutting-edge reporting systems allow forms to include photos, timestamps, and additional notes to give a clearer picture of the incident so that time-to-decision is minimal.
Mobile forms leave a digital footprint, allowing overseers to visualize the data. Reports can be searched and analyzed in a ways far superior to email or paper. By storing all the reports in the cloud, management can compile data to create custom reports in order to identify incident trends by type, time, and location. That analysis can be utilized to improve safety inspections and implement procedures that prevent further incidents.
For companies that rely on a remote workforce, mobile incident reporting provides an efficient and effective way to communicate reports, promoting faster communication and building a safer working environment.