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Continuous improvement starts with learning from incidents and deviations

Where people work, mistakes are made. The only question is how to learn from these mistakes as an organisation and deal with them efficiently.

By not only fixing incidents but also taking structural improvement measures, you can prevent them in the future. That is the go-ahead for you as an organisation to enable continuous improvement.

From incident to learning moment

Anything can go wrong in a workplace. Whether you have to deal with a data breach, fall incident, collision or other (near) incident: as an organisation, you simply cannot do without incident management anymore.

The consequences of incidents can be major. Not only for the employees involved, but also for the organisation in general. Think negative publicity, image damage or a fine. Prevention is better than cure, but how do you do that? By turning an incident into a learning opportunity.

Read below how to go from incident reporting to continuous improvement in 4 tips.

1. Make incident reporting a breeze!

Tap into the employees within your organisation. They are often the first to see where something goes wrong. And it is precisely this information you need to get the most out of incident management. After all, you can’t be everywhere at once.

So make sure they can report an incident or near-incident easily, at any time and at any location. A simple and user-friendly app will help.

Incident management - Meldingen maken met Zenya FLOW

Tip 2. Maintain the pace in handling and creating awareness

It is not only necessary to receive as many reports of (near) incidents as possible, but it is also important to handle those reports as quickly and well as possible. This can be done, for instance, according to a intelligently designed workflow that allows you to take action faster and link improvement actions to the right people or teams.

It is also important to make employees aware of the consequences if they do not make reports. Do this based on results and show that by making more reports, fewer incidents and deviations will ultimately occur.

Tip 3. Provide insight with smart reporting

To know what is going on in an organisation starts with insight. In this case, with insight not only into incidents and their handling, but into the status of improvement measures you have put in place based on previous incidents.

A powerful dashboard and the ability to extract smart reports from the incident management system support you in this. This allows you to spot any hotspots or bottlenecks early and act accordingly.

In addition, if you use a complete quality management system like Zenya, you can easily link information from audits, checks, inspections or safety rounds, so you always know what’s going on.

Tip 4. Move from reactive to preventive incident management

When figuring out the cause of an incident, try going a step further. For example, use proven incident analysis methods such as Tripod, 5 whys, and the Root Cause.

For example, if the cause of an incident is a broken piece of equipment, the cause may be overdue maintenance or misuse. And that means there are probably many more risks waiting to happen.

These analyses are crucial to prevent similar incidents in the future. By monitoring risks, deviations and unsafe situations, you move from reactive to preventive incident management.

Structural improvement for the entire organisation

When you have insight into everything, incidents are reported and dealt with, and patterns are recognised from analyses, there is one more thing you have to do to really improve structurally. A crucial step that is sometimes forgotten, and we have already mentioned it above.

Linking improvement measures prevents the same mistakes from being made more often, thus preventing future incidents. Create support so that the measures actually stick and you have found the success formula for learning and improving through incident management.

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