The new year is about to arrive (or has arrived, depending on when you are reading this). It is often the time when we take a review of our lives to see how we want to improve, what we want to stop doing, what we should start doing.
On a personal level, new year’s resolutions tend to only last a few weeks. But if we identify them as goals as opposed to resolutions, and make a plan on how to implement them, they are more likely to be sustained a bit longer.
When you look at your small business, are you setting goals for yourself and your business? Have you taken the opportunity to look at the past year to see what has worked and what hasn’t? How can you improve going into the next year?
In the safety world, this is a time when we look at all the incidents and near misses that occurred during the last year and look for patterns. In other words, do people tend to get hurt the same way, at the same time? What parts of the body are getting injured?
Admittedly, this is one thing I really like doing as part of my job. I love to review all of the incidents and analyze them to look for any potential patterns.
When I worked with a long-term care home, I noticed that most injuries tended to occur while they were getting residents in or out of bed. At one construction company I worked for, interestingly enough, most injuries occurred between morning break and lunch. Another time, many injuries were happening to hands since they tended to forget to wear gloves.
When a company takes the time to review its incidents, it is an opportunity to improve the safety program. Based on what comes up during the review, one area may need more attention than others. For example, if there are many hand injuries because workers are not wearing gloves, then a focus on PPE may be necessary. Or it could mean that some policies need to be updated to reflect changes based on investigation findings or the workers need to be retrained on the policies.
When analyzing the incidents, there are a number of aspects to look at, depending on the workforce or scope of work. You can look at gender, age, employment status, length of service – which are all based on the workers. You can also review the body part that was injured, the type of injury (burn, laceration, repetitive strain, etc.), direct and indirect cause of injury (slipped on a wet floor (direct) due to poor maintenance (indirect)). Lastly, the day of the week and time of day can also be analyzed.
The incident review can be as detailed or vague as you want. But it can give you some great insight into your incidents and how your workers are completing their jobs. It also gives you an idea as to whether they are applying their training.
Additionally, this type of review is not just restricted to year-end. It can be done monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. It all depends on your business, the number of incidents, etc. It also depends on how much time you have and if you have someone dedicated to doing the analysis. It can be a bit time-consuming if you have a lot of incidents and want an in-depth review.
Once you have the information compiled, what you do with the information, is up to you, as the small business owner. As mentioned earlier, policies can be reviewed, updated and communicated. Training can be redone.
As with many things knowledge is power; but it is what you do with that information that determines how much power you have. Knowledge and power can determine the success of your business. Use the information you have gathered (or been given) and implement the necessary changes to improve your safety program.
Improve your safety program, decrease the likelihood of injury or illness to your workers, decrease the likelihood of production being interrupted by investigations, charges and stop-work orders.
Spencer Safety Solutions can assist in completing a year-end review for your small business. Reach out to us today at www.spencersafetysolutions.ca
Happy New Year Everyone!