Co-author: Glen Walton, Senior Manager, Product Management at Oracle
What comes to mind when you think about safety at your workplace? At Oracle headquarters, I may not think about it very often and certainly not a daily basis; the environment I work in is far from being inherently hazardous.
Even though this might be the case, there are still visible reminders of the care that I need to take and that Oracle has taken on behalf of its employees, contractors, and visitors to keep us safe because even in our world-class facilities, things do go wrong.
Accidents and illnesses at the workplace can have severe impacts on individuals, their daily performance and the business. There are significant costs that result from these events therefore capturing incident information, including near misses and unsafe conditions for analysis provide lots of value.
You may be surprised to learn that healthcare, manufacturing, retail and hospitality (HMRH) industries all incur more non-fatal workplace incidents and reportable cases than industries that you would probably think are the more “dangerous”; industries such as mining, construction, and transportation!
Non-fatal injury and illness data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that these industries account for many hundreds of thousands of reportable cases where employees spend days away from work with many coming back to work only to be placed on restricted duties.
Reportable workplace incident data, released by the USA Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) showed that in 2014 alone, 4,821 workers were fatally injured on the job. That is 13 workers killed every day!
While the impact of a worker being seriously or fatally injured has implications beyond the devastation it immediately causes, the fact is that paying attention to the root causes for the more numerous “lesser” injuries, and in particular “near misses” and “unsafe conditions”, can have a hugely beneficial impact.
A good analogy here is an iceberg. The visible part of the iceberg is only approximately 10% of its total volume. The tip correlates to the occurrence of an accident, but before the accident happened you can almost guarantee that there were a number of near misses, along with existence of many unsafe conditions, that if reported, could possibly have prevented the accident from happening.
The unseen bottom section of the iceberg represents all the near misses and unsafe conditions happening in a business. A centralized repository of near misses and unsafe conditions gives managers invaluable insight to what’s happening below the waterline. Information that is essential to planning a response to an emerging problem.
C-level executives are notoriously busy people and for some, worker safety may not be their most pressing issue. To complicate matters, employees may not be sure of what they need to do when they encounter a potential safety hazard or incident in the workplace.
Serious workforce incidents by law require disclosure and can negatively affect:
What can be done? Recent surveys show that a clear majority of executives who are considering investment strategies in this area believe the most impactful investment they can make to help meet health and safety objectives would be to implement a robust, automated incident and near miss reporting system. The sooner an incident or near miss is reported, the more likely the cost of the incident can be managed in a positive direction, and further incidents prevented.
Many organizations who have adopted a best practice approach to managing health and safety have already seen the value of having more automation in this area. But there are still many organizations that rely on outdated methods for reporting and monitoring incidents, thus forgoing the chance to decrease incident rates, reduce costs and disruptions, and lower their risk profiles.
The typical example of a manual reporting system is the ubiquitous spreadsheet or even worse, email, the use of which will almost inevitably result in the under-reporting of incident occurrences, distorting investment decisions, and exposing the organization to additional risk.
To help C- level executives focus in on this area, environment, health and safety (EHS) managers who have been able to collect good incident data can employ visualization tools, including easily consumed dashboards and charts to provide visibility, accountability, and knowledge in order to influence the prioritization of investment funds.
It is the role of the EHS Manager to provide information to C- level executives to help them make informed decisions. Leveraging the data to deploy effective data analytics and data visualization tools, including easily consumed dashboards and charts. This will provide visibility, accountability, and knowledge to influence the prioritization of investment funds. It will also support the establishment of a “correct tone at the top” and go long way to overcoming potential complacency-creep when it comes to a business decision to invest in workforce health and safety.
For more information on Oracle HCM Cloud and Workforce Health and Safety Incidents, visit cloud.oracle.com