Underreporting of Safety Incidents in the Workplace

Aug 21, 2018


Accurate and timely reporting of safety incidents is important to creating a positive safety culture. Yet, in today’s workplace, 25% of safety incidents fail to be reported. In Australia, this is even higher at 31%, but some organisations report this figure to be as high as 66%, according a recent Sentis study involving more than 12,460 participants. But it’s not just frontline workers failing to report—this is an organisation-wide problem. In fact, 1 in 4 frontline leaders and senior managers fail to report, on average 8 incidents per year.

Unless incidents and near-misses are reported, organisations are unable to address potential systemic problems that could lead to a serious injury or incident. Missed opportunities to learn also result in lost productivity and inefficiencies, as well as increased costs to business. So why are underreporting rates so high? And what can you do to encourage employees at all levels to report safety incidents?

How can we address underreporting?

The Underreporting of Safety Incidents in the Workplace report combines quantitative and qualitative data to uncover patterns in underreporting as well as the three key reasons why people underreport. It examines details and responses from employees across the agriculture, construction, education, government, industrial services, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, and utilities industries.The report includes real-life case studies and examples and explores:

  • Industry-wide underreporting rates
  • Underreporting rates by position (i.e. frontline worker, frontline leader, management)
  • Underreporting rates by age and tenure
  • Error management climate
  • The three key drivers of underreporting and how to address these
    • Underappreciation of the benefits of reporting
    • Fear of negative repercussions
    • Issues with the reporting process
  • Practical strategies for encouraging a positive culture of reporting

Download your free copy of this report to learn the results of the study and the steps you can take to reduce underreporting in your organisation.

Access the Report

If you would like to learn more about Sentis’ diagnostic tools, our approach to safety culture and how we can help address underreporting in your organisation, contact us online or call 1300 653 042.

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