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Barriers To Reporting

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Author Photo
Charlie Wright
Published On
September 28, 2020

In 2019, almost half of all injuries sustained at work in the UK may not have been reported. Under RIDDOR, of the 581,000 people sustaining non-fatal injuries at work during this period, 138,000 people were off work for at least 7 days. Yet only 69,208 RIDDOR reports were submitted for the same period. This leaves just under half of the 138,000 injuries as potentially unreported.

Incident reporting is one of the most vital elements in keeping your business and employees safe. Reports help to find out why accidents happen, and why they do not. This data can keep staff up to date and implement precautions to keep everyone safe. Incident reporting is safer and cheaper than the cost of an accident. It is in the best interests of a business and for the individuals in it, to report any incidents or near misses that occur in an organisation. This goes a long way in creating the safest workplace possible.

But what are the reasons that many workers don’t report incidents? A survey by Thompsons Solicitors and BFAWU shows that over a fifth of workplace accidents go unreported in the UK food industry. Underreporting of accidents at work is a serious problem. There are many common barriers to why incident and near-miss reporting is not followed through. In many cases it is the high administrative burden, that will be highlighted below.

What are the barriers to reporting?

1.How to Report

In many organisational structures, clear communication throughout can sometimes be difficult. Conveying how to report unwanted events across the workforce and 3rd parties can occasionally lead to confusion and misunderstandings.

It is important to shine a light on different reporting personas in the workforce.

There are:

Power Users (Administrators, safety team, supervisors)

• Daily Users & Regular Users (Employees, managers, services)

When Required (limited system access-only needed when reporting, Lone workers, isolated areas)

• Fringe (contractors, field-based, non-users)

All workers in a business have a different experience of reporting. In fact, many could go throughout their employment without ever knowing how to report.

Power users, specifically the safety team, know how to report and what to do because of their knowledge and experience. However, there are fringe users, like contractors, who are not actual employees of the business where they work. There is more of a risk because they are outside of the network, and these individuals probably don’t know how to report an incident. What to report, or how to record an event. And who do they tell? This all contributes to an incident going unreported. As many workers who come into the organisation, don’t understand how to go about reporting an event. Different people with particular skills, abilities, and actions, all have different issues/barriers to reporting unwanted events.

2.What to Report

What constitutes an injury, or a close call? Do employees know? Workers may be unsure what to report and if they need to report it at all. They may question if it is down to them as an individual to report the injury, and if it is even considered an injury? With non-regular and infrequent injuries, it can cause confusion when incidents do happen. Leaving an employee confused on how to approach the situation.


Many reporting solutions are aimed at computer users. They do not offer access or take into account things like PPE as a barrier. The use of PPE, e.g. wearing gloves and a mask, can make reporting physically hard to input. Some workers may not have access to the necessary reporting systems. These barriers to reporting unsafe incidents could lead to an incident reoccurring.

4.Ease of Use

These days people want things to be quick and easy. Reporting an incident should not be too difficult or take too long, like filling out questions on a form. AVA enables a smooth reporting experience in just a few clicks. From the first report of an injury. The worker can easily create an event that can start to be tracked. It is very easy to add more detail and complexity later. Safety software that is easy to use can make reporting seamless and simple.


In the organisational culture, there can be a perception from employees of ‘why bother’. This could be caused by the lack of a feedback loop. Or the sense that the business just wants to report statistics. Employees may feel there is no benefit to them. If no one will see any of the reports they take the time to fill out. 'No one will get back to them anyway.' This attitude of ‘what’s the point’ can mean that many incidents can arise and be unreported. This not only increases risk, putting many in danger. But the significant drop in a sense of value from employers, causes low morale. Technology can help bring feedback to employees, so they feel more valued.


There can be a sense of fear in employees of being reprimanded or disciplined for the actions that led to an accident taking place. This may create a self-preserving mentality of shifting responsibility; ‘someone else can report it’. This is why feedback and the option for anonymous reporting is critical. This alone can help reduce the sense of fear. Anonymity means that workers can report an incident without having a personal connection. Diminishing the concern of criticism. According to the Whistleblowing Report 2019, for companies that provide the option of reporting anonymously. 58% of initial reports were submitted anonymously. This shows that giving people the option to remain anonymous when raising an incident, can help build trust.


GDPR and Personal information being released or known can cause caution in the reporting process when employers come across an incident. There can be confusion on what exactly is taken from an individual’s record parts of personal data is safe and what isn’t, can mean that it could lead to the decision to not report an incident.

Acknowledging all accessible and ease of use reporting can help. For instance, AVA’s frictionless reporting concept removes virtually all those barriers. No downloads, no learning curve, and no need to create an account. Leveraging the latest technology can help create an untroubled reporting culture.

What is Frictionless Reporting?

In every organisation, there is a need to report injuries, observations, and security incidents. There are many types of unwanted events that can arise, and many events that can be reported. For instance,

• Injuries

• Close calls

• Near misses

• Unsafe Environments

• Security

• Quality issues

• Observations

• Positive Reporting

• Whistle Blowing

• Mental Health

A barrier is anything that stops someone from reporting these events. A frictionless reporting culture aims to achieve an environment where anyone in the organisation can report events effortlessly and instantly. Allowing a business to act upon the action to fix it, or stop it happening again. It is the intention of removing all barriers around reporting so all industry sectors (Manufacturing, Energy & Defence sector, Chemical, Oil & Gas, Logistics, Transportation) can comfortably report with ease.

At Airsweb, we understand that people and environments affect how technology can remove some of these barriers.

By leveraging various technologies to ensure that each of them could be used as a tool to help to report.

Technologies like;

• Progressive Web Apps (Mobile app, SWIFT Reporting)

• Social Media (WhatsApp Reporting)

• Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning, Natural Language Processing (NLP)

• Email


• MS Teams

• Dashcam Integration

There is the potential to utilise each of these pieces of technology. AVA can remove barriers, improve reporting, and exponentially increase data capture to make better safety decisions.

AVA’S Frictionless reporting means a mobile-first approach to event reporting. No downloads required, URL access, and Platform independent. AVA facilitates communication through free to use social tools such as WhatsApp, SMS, Email, and MS Teams. Reducing barriers significantly. With 5.15 billion smart phone users in the world today. Social media is a vital component with 3.96 billion global users, and more than 1 million new users each day. To not take advantage of this in relation to EHS incident reporting could lead to a business falling behind.

Airsweb has brought 3 technologies together (Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning, and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to form our artificially intelligent virtual assistant, AVA, to really leverage this technology. Making reporting as easy as a conversation with a friend.

Our progressive web app works with web technologies (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) that work online or offline. Here is an example of how our progressive web app: SWIFT, which allows a user to report an incident, can reduce reporting barriers.

How/ What to Report

An easy to use digital tool that prompts and guides you through the process.

Accessibility & Ease of Use

QR code, no download needed, or login. Allowing everyone in the organisational structure from power to fringe users, to understand and report with ease.


Feedback reporting, that can also be shared throughout the organisation depending on the criteria, attitude can positively shift and change a company's health and safety culture.


An employee can choose to be anonymous.


All reporting data is structured and fed to Airsweb. Where your data will be well looked after and secure.


This is just a quick overview of how progressive technology can be utilised to create an uncomplicated process for the user. Addressing barriers in different sizes. It ensures that essential information is being collected to create a simple, quick, and anonymous experience. For the Key benefits and features of Frictionless Reporting, check out our frictionless reporting module.

Experience AVA For Yourself

Our team would love to demonstrate the power of AVA for you in a one-on-one demo. If you would like to learn more then arrange a demo today!

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