Everyone has experienced this moment. You’re on the road going a bit too fast and all of a sudden there’s a child in front of you! You slam on the brakes! And everything is fine! But you feel queasy, your pulse is racing, your adrenaline is pumping… Once you get home, you relay the tale to family and good friends.
Sharing your experience gives you the opportunity for self-reflection, to replay what went wrong. Even the people you share your story with are moved and, as a result, more sensitized to similar situations. Anyone wanting to integrate this effect into workplace culture has to cultivate a positive error management culture.
Employees have to be open and able to communicate about unsafe situations and close call accidents without fear of reprisals.
For field workers, this type of communication is often difficult. As a result, the rate of cases officially reported remains low. There are a number of reasons for this. One of the major issues is that each reported case results in overtime and the need for additional communication with no immediate benefit or value for field workers.
In order to change this, the burdensome process of “case reporting” needs to be overhauled if not eradicated, and there needs to be a positive response to the reporting of close calls. The focus has to be placed on the collective opportunity to learn from mistakes.
Activity feedback – Open an issue with a few clicks
One mechanism that Coresystems FSM offers for these types of processes is “activity feedback”. Field workers can open a “case” with just a few clicks and without having to enter the metadata on “who-what-where-when” (Step 1).
Image: 4 Steps to a positive error management culture
This “case” is then automatically transmitted to an EHS expert or line manager to be resolved (Step 2). The details of the incident are only collected during this second step via a detailed incident investigation form (Step 3).
The value of this approach lies in the rapidly initiated interaction between the technician and the manager responsible. Because feedback only works if technicians feel like they’re being taken seriously and receiving rapid responses to their reports. If this is not the case, they might not provide feedback the next time there’s an incident.
Also, this ensures that field workers aren’t left to their own devices when there’s an issue. Instead, they receive quick assistance from experts who assume a large part of the reporting process and facilitate the necessary risk mitigations.
This process delivers on key performance indicators (KPIs) indicating the basic willingness of employees to generate feedback. It also shows how consistently this feedback is processed by the responsible EHS or team managers (Step 4).
Field workers shouldn’t experience the reporting of close calls as an extraneous effort or an unnecessary additional burden. That’s why feedback has to be generated quickly and easily.
If service technicians are able to talk openly about their close calls or challenging situations, and these practical experiences are communicated promptly to all employees with similar backgrounds, then a great deal has already been achieved.
Why user-friendliness is essential
In the months ahead, Coresystems is planning on a more comprehensive integration of EHS into its field service management application. The goal is to balance effectiveness, usability, motivation and scalability.
The advantage for our customers is that they can use one single solution at all locations worldwide to implement the same uniform EHS standards - simply, efficiently, and affordably.
Read more on how to execute security audits with field management solutions in our next blog.
Honest EHS feedback can not be overestimated. It is the best way to avoid fatal errors and damages!
Author: Bernhard Mark, Quality Assurance Manager, Coresystems