6 Steps to Faster Hazard Recognition and Resolution
Here’s something all safety pros can relate to: you arrive on-site for what should be a straightforward safety walk. You get out of the car, walk into the building, and nearly walk straight through a huge puddle.
It’s the month of December, and the rain and snow mean that everything is wet all of the time. Even still, that puddle is a big ol’ hazard and it didn’t take a safety pro to flag it and fix it. Slips and falls are a big deal.
You can’t be everywhere at once, and that’s one of the biggest problems safety pros face. With the right process in place, you can efficiently manage hazards and even use analytics to help communicate hazard trends to crews in the field.
Here are six steps you can take to recognize, communicate, and resolve hazards faster.
Review Your Company Hazard Management Process
You already know what it takes to be compliant with regulations. But if you want to raise and resolve hazards faster, then you need to go further.
- Determine the frequency of hazard management activities based on your safety program.
- Consider using management processes for both conditions and behaviors.
- Think about who might be harmed (specific workers, groups of workers, visitors, contractors, maintenance workers, members of the public, other businesses, etc.) and where the harm may take place (shop floor, entryways, parking lots, etc.)
- Agree on inspection types.
- Record your findings using Safesite where comments, photos, hazards, and observations can all be recorded easily within the Safesite field app.
Hunt Down Hazard Clues in Your Injury Records
Everyone remembers the day a life-changing injury happened on site. But if you work on multiple job sites or your facility runs all three shifts, you’re not going to be there for every single incident or injury.
That’s why, in addition to inspections and safety walks, it’s a good idea to regularly review your OSHA 300 log and any other injury records, such as workers compensation claims. By using Bureau of Labor Statistics data, you can also compare your records to industry trends, which also points out opportunities to strengthen your program.
Reviewing records usually points out patterns, such as consistent time, shifts, areas, jobs, or teams. These patterns serve as breadcrumbs and ultimately culminate in further investigation and usually an update to your JHA.
Tip: Don’t forget about near misses. Near miss reporting offers the same breadcrumb trail as the incident log, so start recording and investigating these vents!
Empower Risk Management Heroes to Capture Hazards in Real-Time
What’s the best strategy for recognizing and resolving hazards before they create chaos and cause incidents? The answer is worker involvement.
As a safety pro, you have an eagle eye for safety details, but you aren’t omnipotent. You can’t be everywhere and see everything at once, especially if the team cleaned up because they saw your vehicle turning into the lot.
Your task: empower workers to spot hazards and engage in safety walks. Have them log their observations, including positives and negatives, to keep a record of what’s happening.
Workers are the only ones who know the minute details of their work processes. They may have minor hazards that they work around without reporting them to you. They can also provide more efficient means of mitigating hazards by spotting them, sharing them, and fixing them without you needing to physically do the work yourself.
When the team logs hazards and safety observations using the Safesite app, you ID and manage threats in real-time. Not only do you generate a record, but their updates will notify you within the app. Then, you (or another nominate responsible party) can respond with progress and evidence of hazard closure.
Using Safesite stops you from keeping notes on scraps of paper or forgetting to make that phone call to alert the crew. Most importantly, if OSHA wants to see a record of your hazards, one click in Safesite brings up your robust hazard communication and management process.
Dive Deeper to Find the Root Cause
Hazards don’t just appear out of the blue, and they rarely have a simple cause.
To resolve hazards faster and stop them from popping over and over again, you need to get to the root cause.
A Root Cause Analysis is a procedure (consisting of many different approaches or techniques) that allows you to get to the bottom of a hazard. While performing a Root Cause Analysis may take more time than slapping together a quick fix, it ultimately allows you to resolve the hazard faster because you’re less likely to return to it to fix your original solution.
When you perform a Root Cause Analysis, you’re looking for answers in the:
- Working environment
- Substances, materials, equipment
- Work tasks and performance
- Management of work
In other words, you ask why — and then ask why four more times. Once you get to the end of the whys, you likely found your root cause.
Safesite allows you to add your root cause to a hazard or incident report. So once, you run this process, go back and edit your hazard or incident report to keep all the data tied together.
Communicate and Work Together as One Team
Communicating and working together across teams is easier said than done. Very often, you have competing interests and priorities over the short-term. The foreman wanted it done yesterday, and you want it done safely, and workers have to choose their own adventure. But long-term? When you start thinking about the next job or next year or the next five years, it becomes clear where everyone can start working together.
Set a standard meeting to discuss hazards and trends. Showing charts and graphs is the best way to communicate this. Encourage discussion about why hazards arose, why they took so long to close out. Safesite makes this easy with hazard analytics that you can use to dissect hazards and dig into problem divisions, projects, teams, or sub-trades.
Evaluate Past Results to See into the Future
When was the last time you walked through the hazard management process from end-to-end to review the process? If the answer is never, then now is the time to start.
Every quarter, you should be returning to your records to evaluate both the process and your findings. Ask questions like:
- How long did it take to flag a hazard?
- What was the cause of the hazard?
- How many hours/days did it take to resolve the hazard?
- How many people became aware of the hazard?
- Did the solution pose new hazards? And did you or the team spot and address them in good time?
If you’re a Safesite user, you’ll get all this data compiled automatically in weekly and monthly reports.
Don’t be afraid to get feedback on the process from other stakeholders. You want the communication to flow both ways, and it’s likely workers on the ground will have suggestions for improving parts of or the whole process itself.
You Already Have the Power to Resolve Hazards in Record Time
Hazard management is your top priority, and it’s a process that never ends. The good news is that the tools you need to recognize and resolve hazards are already at your disposal. Healthy relationships, a sense of mutual responsibility, and the data you record can help you not only spot hazards as soon as they emerge but pick out patterns that will help you spot and eliminate risks faster.
And when you use Safesite, all these powers become superpowers. Safesite makes it easy to raise, communicate, and resolve hazards by keeping all your data at your fingertips.
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