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Importance Of Proactive Hazard Reporting

Posted by Simone Poulter | May 27, 2024 10:16:04 AM

Have you been in a position where you’ve encountered something at your workplace that you deemed dangerous? It could be a cord stretched across a high traffic area or obstructions in a stairwell. There could be a burning smell in the elevator or electrical equipment in the staff break room that keeps shorting out. Essential equipment like evacuation sirens or nurse call triggers might have lost connection to the rest of the emergency alert system.

Workplace Emergency Plans

Having an effective emergency plan at your workplace is crucial for handling medical, evacuation, or other emergencies. Even with safe practices, human error still exists and can strike at any moment regardless of training or experience. Workers can be affected by environmental factors like heat stress or extreme cold, and underlying medical conditions such as heart issues or breathing difficulties can quickly turn into a nurse call emergency. Preparing for these scenarios ensures that you and your team know the correct actions to take, enhancing overall safety and response effectiveness.

However, there are many emergencies that can be avoided if your workplace adopts a proactive approach to hazard detection and reporting. Workers shouldn’t assume that someone else has seen and reported it already, however obvious the hazard seems, or how long the hazard may have been present. The US National Safety Council says. “It’s better to have multiple reports on the same hazard than none at all.”

Proactive Hazard Reporting

According to Safe Work Australia, the benefits of properly assessing and managing risks and hazards in the workplace include:

  • preventing and reducing the quantity and severity of workplace injuries, illnesses, and associated costs,
  • promoting and improving employee health, wellbeing, and capacity to work, and
  • encouraging innovation and improving the quality and productivity of work.

They have a wealth of useful guides that workplaces can use to manage health and safety at the workplace.

Hazard reporting is a critical part of any safety program and should be done as soon as a hazard is identified. Every organisation has a different approach to health and safety so it’s important to understand what process applies to you. Organisations should also adhere to local state and federal government regulations regarding hazard reporting. For example, Safe Work Australia states that “a ‘notifiable incident’ [must] be reported to the regulator immediately after becoming aware it has happened”.

Sometimes workers don't feel like they can report a hazard, particularly if there isn't a formal process in place or they don't feel they are authorised to do so (for example they're young, new to the workplace, or have English as a second language). It's important you cater to these people, particularly as fresh eyes can often highlight a risk that others haven't noticed because it's always been there. SafeWork NSW has created an app called Speak Up Save Lives that workers can use to anonymously report any health and safety concerns they have in their workplace. All submissions are assessed and responded to by SafeWork NSW.

Technology has come a long way so you should review how hazards are currently reported. Digital reporting is more effective than paper-based systems as it decentralises the information. Anyone can access it whether it's the site safety team, the state safety team, or individual workers. It also eliminates a paper trail that may contribute to a loss of information and an inability to address the hazard in a timely manner and improve processes moving forward. Refer to the end of this piece for some construction safety or general industry app recommendations.

Immediate Action

Once the hazard is identified and reported on, actions workplaces can take could include:

  • Changing the process or the environment to eliminate the hazard
  • Substituting the hazard by replacing it with a safer alternative
  • Reviewing, creating, and adopting policies or procedures to prevent exposure to the hazard
  • Introducing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves or safety glasses to protect workers from the hazard

Once the workplace acts, it’s important to monitor the process or environment to ensure the hazard is removed or reduced, so that workers and the workplace are not exposed further.

Using The Best Technology

Orisent’s emergency alert systems are intended to be used in an evacuation or nurse call emergency. Unlike our competitors we don’t put your workers in a press-and-guess position, where they won’t know a device is working until they press the button. Our intuitive operating system displays the range and power of each device in real time on our Touchscreen Control Unit (TCU), smartphone app, and web-based user portal. You and your safety team can also set up SMS alerts so if the TCU or a device loses connectivity, you are immediately sent a notification with the device’s details so you can address the hazard immediately.

Several of our customers also use one of these project management apps to facilitate proactive emergency prevention:

HammerTech’s Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) management software allows HSE teams and construction managers to mitigate safety risks, harnessing hundreds of data points to give you a 360-degree view of your field operations.

SafetyDocs by SafetyCulture offers instant access to HSEQ documents, from SWMS templates to complete Safety and Quality Management Systems.

Procore’s mobile-friendly Incidents Tool is based regulatory reporting requirements and makes documenting incidents approachable and intuitive. With it, you can contribute to a safer environment and gather the information necessary to educate, focus resources and prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

Businesses with a strong safety-based culture typically experience fewer at-risk behaviours, decreased incident rates, low turnover, less absenteeism and boosted productivity. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and it doesn’t have to be left to one person to manage. Everyone at a business should be involved in the development and management of a safety program.

As with any technology your business uses, it’s important to undertake regular reviews as a team, with representatives from every department to ensure it’s meeting your workplace safety needs.


How does your business currently manage emergency alert events such as evacuations and nurse calls? If you want to tap into a smart, plug-and-play solution that's tailored to your needs then talk to us today.

Topics: toolboxmeeting, safetysystem, technology, training, workplaceaccident, workplacesafety, HSE, hammertech, constructionsafety, procore, bestnursecallsystem, EHS, PPE, Worker Safety, Hazard Reporting, Proactive Safety, Safe Work Australia

Written by Simone Poulter

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