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Is It Time to Go Paperless?

- July 6, 2015 by Leslie Stoll, CSP, ARM (View all posts by Leslie)

We are all trying to use less paper and be more tech savvy these days; however, despite our efforts, many of us are still bombarded with paper forms for accident and near miss reports.

One of my clients is trying something new to help reduce paper waste, keep organized and get accident and near miss reports to the safety manager in a timely manner.  They have created unique email addresses for reporting near misses and accidents, and may even expand this to include reporting of maintenance issues:

Since these email addresses are not personal addresses they are accessible to more than one person and they also don’t get lost in the hundreds of other emails in someone’s personal inbox.  My client also identified a unique subject line to help them with their tracking.  Browsing through the inbox, the safety manager is able to find what he needs quickly because of how each email is formatted: “Department Date, Name.  In practice it would appear as “Warehouse 010315, Mary Smith.”

Most states require certain forms to be completed after an injury, and some of those forms may need to be completed by hand and/or signed.  This can be accomplished using the information provided in the electronic accident form.  A signature is also usually required for employee and witness statements.  Some companies may also have to meet legal requirements for having the original paper copies of specific forms, but there is no OSHA standard requiring “paper” forms for documentation. If OSHA were to need a hard copy, the email can simply be printed.

That being said, if your desk is piling up with paperwork, consider befriending someone in your IT department and get a few new email addresses created.