Fact Sheet

Using Technology to Keep the Plan Visible

The goal is to keep records to enable the workplace safety committee to analyze data, make changes in policies, procedures or training to reduce accidents, and provide information for insurance claims or lawsuits that could follow many months or years from the actual incident. Paper files work. They have for years. However, where the technological wherewithal is available to create electronic forms, the organization will save time and money and usually make the recordation task and publicity of results easier. Making everyone aware of the purpose and how to fill out the reporting forms creates universal visibility for the plan.

Database Recordkeeping

If you use a database, such as Microsoft Excel? or FileMaker Pro?, you will be able to create reports that show:

Forms

Make forms accessible on your internal computer network. For some organizations this will be a multi-site intranet. Fill-in-the-blank PDFs, or other formats will encourage people to conform to your expectations and report near-misses, accidents and injuries in a timely manner. A sample of a completed form will help illustrate and remind users what information you are seeking from them. Include a phone number and e-mail address for the person(s) who can answer questions as they arise. Provide instructions for where and how to submit the report once it is completed. Electronic submission will save paper and retyping or scanning. And of course, you backup your computer system on a frequent basis so work won't be lost.

There are ways to link reporting forms to the Accident Evaluation form. When someone fills out the Accident Investigation form, Reporting Safety Violations form, and Reporting Near-Miss form information will automatically flow into the appropriate fields on that period's Accident Evaluation Form. If the organization does not have a technical wizard on staff, perhaps it can recruit a volunteer with such skills or hire a person for the purpose of setting up the necessary forms and links using the organization's software.

Publicity

Internal e-mail messages can include a Safety Tip of the Day/Week/Month as part of the signature block. Check your word processing software for how to create and change such messages.

The workplace safety committee might start an e-newsletter highlighting improvements in accident and injury records for the month. In large nonprofits, the committee could report improvements by department reinforcing the competitive spirit. The committee could also highlight a hazard identified from the near-miss reports and remind people how to eliminate it, and could include a link to the near-misses reporting form. Keep the items as short and sweet and possible to encourage the information will be read and remembered. Reinforce the positive: say Remember to … instead of Don't ….

Post a Survey Summary

Create a colorful pie chart, bar graph, or table to illustrate what the findings from the scheduled hazard analysis reveal. This can be included in the electronic newsletter sent by the workplace-safety committee, can be hung in the employee/volunteer lounge or lunchroom, and made accessible on the nonprofit's internal computer network.

Provide a Searchable Online Workplace Safety Manual

Whether as a PDF or as a word-processing document, the nonprofit's safety manual should be accessible to employees and volunteers through the organization's internal computer network or intranet (accessible only by the organization's staff). Updating this version of the manual is easier than printing new pages for the "hard copy" version. Including a revision date (REV. 12-12-08) on each document page helps keep track of what's been updated and what has not.

Pertinent paragraphs, pages and checklists can be printed and handed out at training sessions and at discussions with staff over behavior changes, and can be used to refresh the memories of long-term employees and volunteers. If the online version is kept up-to-date, when new policies, procedures or new equipment is added, the information can be immediately duplicated and distributed by e-mail as attachments.

Using Technology to Keep the Plan Visible Checklist