Should Small Businesses Record Accidents?

Are you a small business? Ever thought it was outrageous having to record every single accident, hazard, near-miss, injury and so on? Well you're not alone. HOWEVER as much as it seems like a lot of effort there are actually some great reasons (aside from the law) why keeping a track of everything that's going on is hugely helpful to you, your business, and your people. 

Go on Zane, give us your wisdom!


All right, hello and welcome to another Workshop Wednesday. Today we are talking about...

Just to interrupt you there, Adelaide. Well today we're talking about why should a small business in fact worry about recording accidents? Over to you, Adelaide.

Oh, no, no! You're in charge now. Recording accidents. Why?

Okay, well, why, I'm going to get right to the point, in fact. And the point is, three points today. One is, it helps you learn stuff. We learn from our mistakes, or some of us learn from our mistakes.

Actually, this brings me back to another story, in fact. I remember I was a young lad, much like yourself, and I was backing my auntie's car out of the driveway. It had been a busy week, we'd had a number of funerals. Non-work related, in fact. I know that we're all non-work related. And I was looking over my left shoulder, and over my right shoulder was the letter box. And attached to that letter box was the rear-view mirror after I'd gone past it. She wasn't particularly happy with me. Anyway, where was I?


That's right. Learning from mistakes. But I'm happy to say I learned from that mistake.

How so?

I haven't hit any more letter boxes and that's literally like 20 years ago. I've done well, frankly.

So we want to learn from our mistakes, and that's the whole idea of writing stuff down and recording stuff. If we can do that, then the new guy that comes along can be told about mistakes that have happened, and issues with things.

For example, if you put that ladder on a wooden floor, that is wooden, and you are halfway up it, what's likely to happen is you're likely to end up on your bottom, quite sore. Maybe again from personal experience. No one had told me. Again, never done it again, because it was quite painful. We learn from our mistakes.

But the key is to help other people learn from them too. And small businesses are actually really bad at this. They go, oh you've got to learn somehow. Bit old school.
Have a chat, say, oh, yeah, if you do this, then that will happen. That's why we do that.

Point number two.
I guess it keeps you honest. It's really easy, over time, to forget what's happened, right? Every 6 months, 12 months or so, it's a good idea to look back at the stories that have happened, the accidents that have happened and say, hey look, there seems to be a few of these coming up. Maybe we should do something about, maybe we should make that safer or do it in a different way.

I know you're only a small business, but people work in small businesses, in fact. When people get hurt, it doesn't matter what size the business is, does it?
Small business, someone gets hurt, large business, someone gets hurt. I mean, if a tree falls down in the woods, does someone still get hurt?
In New Zealand, most likely, given the unfortunate statistics in the forestry sector.

And number three, I think we had usefulness.
It's useful for the fact that we can stop stuff happening, and often those things that we stop happening again cost a small business money. Because a lot of the accidents that happen in a small business are not only injuries, they're actually damaging stuff. For example, it might just be your employee, that wasn't told how to drive the car particularly well, and they have a little uh [crash] into the old wall.

And you never know who that could happen to, Adelaide. So it's one of those things that, if you can stop all of that damage happening because you're looking at the stuff that goes on, it's because you've written it down and you remember it.

Excellent. So basically you're saying, write down when accidents happen, look back at it, let people know.

Correct, yep, so they can learn.

And we'll all remember?

Well, we will start remembering, because it will be in one place. I guess an addition for us is that we think it should be in a place like PeopleSafe. So while you're writing it down, you're actually writing it down on an online tool, so that it's easy to go back later and review these things, rather than kind of scurrying around for the actual physical paper.

Otherwise, if I was to say do anything, just get it in one place and have a record of it. So you can actually make a difference and keep people safe, even.

Fabulous. Workshop Wednesday, done.