The core value of any successful business is their people. Consequently, one of the goals of any company should be to create the safest possible working environment for its employees. However, the cornerstone of creating a safe work environment is to respond to all situations in that environment. It is very important in creating an organization’s safety culture not to underestimate the impact of a seemingly insignificant situation on the fulfillment of the company’s larger goals. However, in addition to attitudes, there are other aspects of why every accident or incident in a company should be mapped.
ACCIDENTS AT WORK START WITH SMALL INCIDENTS
From the beginning of 2019, the procedure for investigating accidents at work changed. Namely, the employer does not have to prepare and submit to the Labor Inspectorate a formal report on those occupational accidents where the employee suffered a minor health injury and did not remain on the incapacity for work certificate.
However, the principle still applies that the employer must investigate all accidents and incidents. An emergency is an accident where no one was injured. Reduced employer responsibilities for investigating minor accidents that did not result in the victim’s temporary incapacity for work. In the event of such an accident, the employer may decide on the method and procedure of investigation, but the principle must be that each incident must be investigated and conclusions drawn.
Statistics show that in 2019, the Labor Inspectorate received 5,230 notifications of accidents at work. It is about 400 less than a year earlier, but behind every number there is a person who has been injured while doing his work. However, in the course of the proceedings, 378 of these reports did not constitute an accident at work, and in 569 cases the employers sent a report of an accident in which the employee did not suffer a bodily injury. From 2019, such minor injuries will no longer be officially registered as accidents at work. As mentioned earlier, the employer must continue to investigate all accidents in his or her work environment, but the Labor Inspectorate must only be notified of such cases if the employee has suffered such a health injury that he or she has had to remain on an incapacity for work certificate.
Employers and employees are more aware and accidents at work are no longer hidden or reported as domestic injuries. Based on the registered data, we can state that there are about 6 occupational accidents for every 1,000 employees in Estonia. In addition, statistics show that about a third of these accidents occur with employees who have been at work for less than a year. These are young people who have just started working, as well as those who have changed jobs and safe working practices have not yet become clear. Particular attention must be paid to training and mentoring new employees.
RESPONDING TO EMERGENCIES THROUGH AWARENESS RAISING
When mapping any accident or incident, it is key to find a causal link between its occurrence and its prevention. Why did this incident happen? Could this have been avoided? Are the current activities / measures sufficient to prevent a recurrence of a similar situation? If not, what can we do to prevent new similar situations? These are important questions that need to be answered. Accidents often don’t happen that way, there are usually signs of this in the past, but whether we can notice them before something happens is a question. The main solution to this is not to ignore the simplest shortcomings, but to immediately recognize them and eliminate the problem immediately. Incident mapping helps prevent accidents at work. Dealing with seemingly trivial circumstances will help prevent potentially more serious accidents.
Another important aspect of the accident and incident registration process is the involvement of the entire staff. This process must be implemented in the behavioral processes of the whole team to ensure efficient operation. Why do this? Raising employees’ awareness of their health, spreading a safe way of measuring in everyday activities and being more aware of each other, recognizing positive results and strengthening common goals at the organizational level. All of this is actually very important for people, but in everyday things we tend to forget. However, consistent implementation will sooner or later yield results that will lead to new norms.
HOW CAN VITS HELP?
But how to do all this when for someone it means constant extra work? It is also important to review your occupational safety processes and think about the need to take an innovative approach. Although it is not required to prepare the aforementioned report for the Inspectorate for each incident, it remains to be seen how best to do so so that another folder does not accumulate to stand somewhere and this report can be conveniently continued after preparation. The VITSa platform has a solution for this, where you can conveniently enter the system into an emergency or occupational accident, describe the incident, link it to the employee and send it immediately to the employee to resolve it (eg sliding the employee due to a hole in the stairs recurrence of a similar incident, inform the staff member who would rectify or arrange for the situation to be rectified). Once the situation has been rectified, the employee can indicate in the system that the situation has been resolved and this can also be seen by the employee administering the system.
Hopefully, the above thoughts will seem relevant to you, why it is worth mapping all minor accidents, hazards and incidents. I hope you were inspired to review your company’s awareness of occupational safety processes.