Local Governments are expected to do a lot. Cities, counties, school boards, and public-service agencies all run functions that range from law enforcement and fire/rescue to sanitation, maintenance, and animal control. They manage large workforces operating vehicles and heavy equipment across a broad area. Not surprisingly, these organizations share a common problem – recording and managing workplace incidents.
Incidents include everything from vehicles backing into light poles, digging crews cutting power lines (utility strikes!) to personal injuries, property damage, and animal bites – just to name a few. The initial documentation drives downstream activities that feed insurance claims, reimbursements, and safety improvement programs.
Getting this right matters. Many municipal organizations are still doing workplace incident recording by hand, or through a hodge-podge of intake forms that miss out on the opportunities for quick response, safety improvements, and improved efficiency.
How to make it better? Put a dedicated mobile incident recording solution on the smartphones and tablets of your people in the field. Make it easy for the people on-scene to collect photographs, statements, and details of the incident. Then tie it back to your safety and insurance systems. Implementing a mobile incident recording solution offers three significant opportunities for meaningful process improvement – around speed, mission, and safety.
Worksite incidents have many “moving parts”. Physical evidence (damaged property, injury environment, collision mapping) that should be photographed or sketched before it disappears or changes, and witness statements that are best collected immediately – before the witnesses disperse and memories become fuzzy. Delays of just a few hours can result in inaccurate recollections and incomplete reports.
Once collected, the incident report needs to be communicated to all relevant stakeholders. HR needs to know about injuries, Fleet Management about vehicle damage, Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) about emerging safety concerns. Immediate sharing of the incident details facilitates incident control, enhanced public and employee safety, and cost containment.
Public service organizations exist to serve the public. Incidents, particularly those involving the members of the public, are a threat/opportunity for local governments. Handled promptly and fairly, they reinforce that local government is here to help. If the response is bureaucratic and slow, the public perception is negative.
Prompt, comprehensive incident recording helps local government to demonstrate concern for employee safety, regard for the welfare and property of the general population, and competence by using best practice solutions, all while acting as a faithful steward of the public’s resources.
The old Peter Drucker quote that “you can’t manage what you don’t measure” comes into play here. When incident information gathering is standardized – collected electronically in a standard format and centrally stored – several things happen. First, paperwork can be automated – worker’s comp and OSHA forms are generated and submitted automatically, reports are generated, etc. This frees up staff to respond to the incident rather than chasing paperwork.
Longer term, as incident data builds up in the database, that repository of activities, responses, and trends can be studied and leveraged for in-depth safety analysis and operational improvements. Standardized collection facilitates analysis – setting the stage for improved safety for employees and public alike.
Deploying mobile device-based incident recording solutions can help local governments reduce costs, respond proactively to incidents, and develop and share institutional knowledge, all in support of their public service mission.
To learn more about how Compatica can help your organization with Point-of-Occurrence Incident recording, contact us today.