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How to Turn Your OSHA 300 Log into a Continuous Improvement System

As of January 1, 2015, stricter OSHA recordkeeping regulations went into effect. OSHA also began stricter enforcement of their regulations. Some executives view these increased requirements and penalties for not complying with OSHA regulations as more red tape to go through; however, the most forward thinking executives can use the firm OSHA regulations as an opportunity to continuously improve their safety program.

When you consider all the paperwork OSHA requires, it’s easy to see how executives could view the recordkeeping regulations as red tape. All recordable incidents must have an OSHA 301 form (incident summary) completed 24 hours after they occur and all incidents must be recorded on OSHA 300 (log of all recordable incidents) and 300A forms (annual summary of all recordable incidents). Each job site location requires its own OSHA 300 log and 300A form. All OSHA 300 and 300A forms for all jobsites must be submitted to OSHA at the end of the year and the previous year’s OSHA 300A form must be posted for employees to view from February 1 to April 30. OSHA 300A forms are required from all specified companies even if no incidents have occurred.

So the question becomes, how do forward thinking executives turn all of this mandatory paperwork into a continuous improvement system?

Taking Advantage of Existing Technology

It’s extremely difficult to turn the OSHA 300 Log into a continuous improvement system using pen and paper. When you use pen and paper, your safety professionals’ end up spending a significant amount of time filling out forms with repetitive information. Furthermore, pen and paper forms make it impossible for management to have immediate access to real-time data. Information takes so long to reach management that they are unable to proactively introduce meaningful changes to reduce risk.  However, when you use a cloud software and mobile solution, the game completely changes.

When you take advantage of existing technology, incident reports can be completed on a mobile device and then instantly shared with head office. Certain safety software providers will take the data from your electronic incident report and populate automated OSHA 301, 300 and 300A forms. Essentially, mobile and cloud software solutions allow management to have immediate access to real-time data and eliminate the administrative burden of the OSHA 300 log for safety professionals.

So how does this translate into a continuous improvement system?

First, we need to consider what real-time data allows you to do. Let’s use a fantasy football league as an example scenario. Before the fantasy draft, Bill looks at performance stats of all of the players from last season. He takes into account any prolonged injuries or extenuating circumstances and drafts. After he drafts, he sets his lineup and leaves it without making any adjustments throughout the season.

Now, let’s look at one of his competitors, Bob. Bob does the same pre-draft research as Bill, but as the season goes on, Bob continues to follow his players’ stats. He watches all of the games, keeps on top of injuries and anything else relevant to his players’ performances. He continuously picks up free agents who seem promising and drops players who aren’t living up to his expectations of their performances. He sets a new line up every week based on his continuous research.

Which person do you think will do better in the fantasy league – Bill or Bob?

It’s pretty evident that Bob will outperform Bill in the fantasy draft as he isn’t making one decision based on dated data; rather, Bob is continuously using recent stats to adjust his lineup so his team’s performance is constantly improving.

Safety performance works in a similar way. When management has access to real-time incident reports and OSHA 301 injury summary reports, they have the information they need to take immediate preventative measures to significantly reduce the chance of that incident occurring again. When you use technology to your advantage, you turn your OSHA 300 Log from an administrative burden into a real-time data centre that management can use to continuously make fact based changes to improve your safety program and significantly reduce the risk of incidents.

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