While the ideal is to prevent incidents in the first place, sometimes an incident or near miss has to happen before it is realised that there is a hazard present. This may actually lead to gaps in policies and procedures being addressed. Often policies and procedures are updated or modified after an incident has occurred. This is actually a good time to evaluate the procedures to see if they were adequate to deal with the incident and can lead to quite positive outcomes.
Case example:Night time is a period of increased risk for workers in a health care facility, as there are fewer people on the premises and there is greater opportunity for threatening or criminal activity. At night, workers walk between buildings, car parks, patient or staff residences within the grounds, drive between the health care facility and residential quarters and to visit clients at home. Following a few minor incidents, workers felt that there were gaps in the security procedures that could leave night workers unprotected.
The workers discussed their concerns with management and contributed to the development an emergency communication strategy. Staff that conducted home visits after sunset were provided mobile phones that were pre-programmed to select numbers. Phone numbers included workplace reception (staffed 24 hours), the local police station and 000.
Providing feedback to supervisors