System failures, utility shutdowns, equipment malfunctions, human errors—all of these can disrupt an organization’s operations. Accidents can happen, but a company’s established preparedness processes will contribute to any unforeseen event’s overall impact. Have there been efforts to mitigate the potential for consequential risks? Dealing with accidents and other incidents is no simple matter. Many aspects of the business can be affected, and entire teams may be enlisted in working towards a resolution. Is it possible to ensure that nothing crucial has been overlooked? Can an appropriate and timely response be initiated? This is where incident management comes in.
An incident management process is a set of procedures designed to minimize negative impact and ensure the smooth continuation of an organization’s day-to-day services or processes after an unforeseen event. This entails both the longer-term, post-incident processes of creating temporary workarounds, incident reports, and accountability reports, and the immediate tools and steps to be taken for the proper and timely resolution of the incident.
Incident management processes are utilized to restore a company’s services and operations to a desirable standard; however, they also are optimally designed to minimize the negative effects of various incidents, promote continuous improvement, and demonstrate compliance with health and safety requirements. Having an incident management system ensures that productivity, service quality, and workplace safety are always maintained, as it communicates the steps for recording and reporting any incident and initiating the process to appropriately deal with the issue.
Having an incident management process in place can result in the following:
- Quicker incident reporting and resolution.
- Minimized costs or revenue losses.
- More efficient communication during incidents.
To effectively counter operational and productivity disruptions, an incident management system should be consistent, making response time as swift as possible and deterring the possibility of repeat incidents. Achieving sustainable consistency in a company’s incident management process requires engagement and feedback from all employees. This kind of success comes from top-down and bottom-up participation and will eventually result in a more connected and prepared organization.
Striving for consistency in a company’s incident management system can be complicated as identification of the facts, discerning what information is relevant, and recovery itself are all complex procedures and heavily dependent on the individual scenario. The following are important aspects in establishing an incident management system that can deliver consistent results, from planning to implementation.
1. Training and Support
Education and training at all company levels are essential to ensure consistency. Training all team members and personnel in incident management improves awareness of possible hazards and the autonomy of all team members to respond. When employees feel ownership over their safety and the safety of those around them (and have support from management and the understanding of how to report such information) issues are more likely to be found before they can lead to an actual incident. This decreases the probability of misreporting, as there is less hesitation from the individuals who experience the problems when they occur and there are fewer channels to go through when addressing issues.
In reporting an incident, speed is often a necessity. Having incident management software with mobile accessibility offers the benefit of more immediate reporting. When workers can use the features available on mobile devices to capture information about incidents, the time it takes to appropriately report (and respond) is shortened. This capability also diminishes the likelihood of human error and misremembering events when some time has passed before the details surrounding an incident are recorded. Whether this technological advantage is harnessed within an organization or not, a company’s incident management process should establish communication channels for incident reporting and incident response. Guidelines on the content and structure of reports should also be introduced so that all employees are aware of what information needs to be shared and why.
When notifications, inspections, exports of compliance reports, and others features that are essential in an incident management process are automated, it enables management to devote less time to administration and more time to ensuring that the gap is diminishing between how work is ideally conducted and how it is actually being carried out day-to-day. Automating the incident reporting process with an incident management software allows companies to submit, track, and analyze incidents quickly and more accurately. As it ensures that all team members use the same tools, steps, communication channels, and processes for incident management, taking advantage of an incident management software is the most efficient way to measure and develop consistency in your safety program.
Developing consistency in any organization takes time, but there are tools and software that can help businesses achieve this end more expediently. Exploring incident management systems and training your team on how to use your chosen platform can result in less disruption to a business’ workflow. Fortunately, the right incident management module can assist in all these important details of managing a successful, ever-improving incident management process.
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