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Safety Incident Management System

Cotney safety incident management system
December 14, 2022 at 6:00 a.m.

By John Kenney, Cotney Consulting Group.

What is an incident management system (IMS), and what value will it bring to your company's health and safety program? 

Our goal in this article is to answer that question. First, let's look at how an IMS system will assist your company in facilitating the following:

  • Incident reporting — recording all events (accidents and near misses).
  • Assessment of risk and consequence — allows each event to be classified based on risks.
  • Incident investigation and causal analysis — expedite the investigation and root cause analyses.
  • Recommendations and corrective actions — facilitates the ability to define recommendations, remedial and corrective actions by leadership and follow-up on the progress of each assigned action.
  • Historical record keeper — a database of events that have occurred in your organization.

Incident Management System design

An IMS can be a spreadsheet for collecting information related to workplace incidents, risk ranking, investigations, and follow-up actions or a more sophisticated design in a cloud-based collaboration and work management system. In either scenario, the goal is to capture relevant information relating to incidents to reduce incidents in the workplace proactively.

An IMS must be user-friendly and accessible by all employees so that data can be gathered and entered as quickly as possible. The types of data to be collected are as follows:

  • Date and time of the incident
  • Reported by whom
  • A description of what happened
  • Type of injury or damages incurred
  • Who was injured? Employee or contractor worker?
  • Where did the injury or incident take place?
  • Who was informed of the incident?
  • The estimated cost of the incident
  • Entry number for tracking and retrieval purposes
  • Safety Management System (SMS) element affected

Traditionally, most companies focus on lagging indicator metrics after an incident. But, as outlined above, a properly designed IMS has valuable information you can use to address safety concerns within an organization proactively. A well-organized IMS will allow your company to store historical data and generate multiple reports that are useful in managing your organization's safety performance. 

The key distinction between an IMS versus a spreadsheet of information is the ability of the system to maintain an incident database from which useful information can be derived to generate improvements in the safety performance of an organization. You must ensure that the IMS does not become a database primarily as opposed to a knowledge-generating tool from which a tremendous amount of useful information is obtained. 

Reports generated by the system should be designed to help your managers and owners better understand the challenges faced by the company where incident management is concerned. Such informational reports can assist senior leaders in adequately allocating resources for sustained long-term improvements.  

IMS for short-term tactical safety responses

A well-organized IMS provides you with opportunities to store historical and current data to understand better and address the organization's safety performance of the organization. By capturing all the precise information related to types of injury, the IMS allows you to drill down on the data, which enables safety professionals to identify the root causes of incidents and guide their responses in improving an organization's safety performance. 

IMS for long-term strategic safety management decisions

The same historical data retained in your IMS effectively generates historical data trends and reports. With the information, you can address root causes derived from the investigation process, allowing you to make long-term strategic decisions for real and sustained improvements in your health and safety program.

By designing your IMS as a simple process, as we outlined in this article, you will address the five key elements we outlined at the beginning of the article:

  • Incident reporting 
  • Assessment of risk and consequence 
  • Incident investigation and causal analysis 
  • Recommendations and corrective actions 
  • Historical record keeper

Developing and using an Incident Management System should not be looked upon as a cost of safety but as an investment in your overall company strategy towards becoming world-class in safety, yielding a more profitable and healthier company for stakeholders and employees. 

Learn more about Cotney Consulting Group in their directory or visit www.cotneyconsulting.com.

About John Kenney

John Kenney is the Chief Executive Officer at Cotney Consulting Group. Prior to starting Cotney, John had 45 years of experience in the construction industry. John began his career by working as a roofing apprentice at a family business in the Northeast. Because of his skill and hard work, he progressed from roofing laborer to foreman, estimator, chief estimator, Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer with his various companies. John has worked for multiple Top 100 Roofing Contractors and is intimately familiar with all aspects of roofing production, estimating, and operations. In his last role, John was responsible for the daily operations and performance of a large commercial roofing contractor. During his tenure, John ran business units associated with delivering excellent workmanship and unparalleled customer service while ensuring healthy net profits for his company.

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