There are 3 key things that your OHS trends must be able to tell you as a business owner. Ideally, occupational health and safety (OHS) should be the topmost priority for any business owner in Ontario. That said, identifying and acting on OHS trends becomes even more important for business owners. This is simply because of the liability that OHS offenses can expose them to, coupled with the downtime and loss of productivity due to workplace injuries and accidents. This is where OHS trends can play a huge role.
OHS trends are one of the best ways for a business owner to continuously improve workplace safety. Moreover, OHS trends also reflect the efficacy of the workplace safety initiatives taken by a business owner. However, what do you need to look for in the OHS trends is a pertinent question.
Thus, as a business owner, you need to first ask yourself whether your OHS trends need to tell you something? If yes, what are those points? How can OHS trends help you plan your corrective actions or in continuous improvement? Let’s find out the answers to these questions.
Do your OHS trends provide you with details on incidences of injuries/accidents?
As a business owner, the first thing that your OHS trends should be able to tell you is the details of incidences of injuries/accidents. This will include key details such as injury type, body part affected, date, place, and reason. This information will be very useful for you as a business owner to plan your corrective actions.
How can you prevent these incidents/accidents or reduce them by digging deeper into the stats?
The above figure shows the OHS stats based on the body part affected. The stat that must straight away get your attention is the lower back injuries, which stands at 25 and is marked in red. As a business owner, given the higher number of lower back injuries, you can plan to create policies and procedures for safe ways of lifting objects, bending techniques, and other SOPs that can bring down the number of lower back injuries. This is where OHS trends make a big difference. As a business owner, they will give you a clear idea of the incidences of injuries, and help you in drawing up a corrective action plan for continuous improvement.
However, the big question is how to maintain your OHS stats? Do you use an online system? You can maintain OHS stats the way that best suits you. That said, you need to also look at the effectiveness of the method you follow. An online system will help you manage your OHS information, track accidents and incidents, assign action items as a to-do list, and monitor the progress of the action items.
How OHS stats can help you in drawing up your continuous improvement plan?
Simply having OHS stats is not good enough for creating a continuous improvement plan. There must be a clear process in place to review those stats. Here is a good process that you can follow:
Review Injury/Accident Stats
Identify Relevant Injury/Accident Trends
Create & Communicate Action Plan
Track Progress of Action Plan
Step 1: Identify relevant injury/accident trends
First and foremost, as a business owner, you need to identify all the relevant trends pertaining to injuries/accidents at your workplace. You are recommended to only choose trends that will help you in identifying areas for continuous improvement.
Step 2: Create and communicate your action plan for continuous improvement
Your responsibility doesn’t end as a business owner by just identifying relevant trends. In fact, it just begins here. Once you have identified the trends, you need to communicate them with all the relevant workplace parties. Further, you need to draft an action plan for continuous improvement by assigning tasks to the relevant workplace parties to execute the plan.
Step 3: Track the progress of your action plan
This is a major hurdle for most businesses. You identify the OHS trends, and drafting an action plan, but everyone gets busy with other core business activities. Consequently, you end up ignoring tracking the progress of the action plan. This step is equally, if not, more important than any other step in the process. In fact, only if you keep a watch on how your plan is progressing and communicate the progress to all relevant workplace parties, you will be able to achieve continuous improvement. Else, it will be all talk, no action, which is definitely not what you want as a business owner, especially with regards to workplace safety.
Step 4: Conduct a fresh review of relevant injury/accident trends
Now that you have a process in place for trend analysis, and are regularly tracking the progress of your action plan, it is the ideal time to review the injury/accident trends identified in step 1 in light of the progress you have made through your continuous improvement plan. This will help you have a clearer perspective of whether the trends identified earlier are changing due to your continuous improvement plan. This way, you can ensure that the plan is on track or whether you need to make amendments to your plan.