Incident Reporting: How the Co-op Is Leveraging New Technology and Intelligent Data to Create a Safer Workplace

Incident Reporting: How the Co-op Is Leveraging New Technology and Intelligent Data to Create a Safer Workplace

By | January 9, 2020

This is a guest post from Sphera client the Co-opImages courtesy of the Co-op.

In October 2018 we launched a new system across the Co-op, working with our partner Sphera, which is changing the way we manage our incident reporting. We called it MySafety.


Our History

The Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives with interests across food, funerals, insurance, legal services and health, and we have over 70,000 colleagues. We remain true to our origins. The Co-op was started in 1863; it’s a business that is owned by its members and works for the common good through campaigning and donating to local causes.


What Were Our Requirements for a New System?

We knew there were improvements to be made in the way we reported incidents. With a fast-moving retail environment, we needed a system that was easy to access by all, that would provide great data, and that was future-proof as we began to roll out mobile technology. For this reason, we chose Sphera.


Data Analytics

I always advise anyone looking at a system to also look at data output tools as well as the initial reporting. I think it’s essential today that modern health and safety teams of large organizations also have data analytics capability. Not only will you have enough detail to help you spot underlying trends, but you can also use this data to risk profile your sites and ensure that safety-related decisions are based on the most up-to-date information available.

How Are We Using Our Data?

Our safety statistics are challenging our assumptions. For example, we now know that accidents are more likely to occur in dry weather and not during inclement weather conditions, and that a third of the incidents involved work equipment. This is informing our activity for the future. We believe we are the first retailer to encourage the reporting of near-misses in a store environment, a good indicator of a strong safety culture, and we have also been able to target areas where we think there is some evidence of underreporting of minor incidents. We are tracking lost working days, too, from accidents, which is helping us look at early intervention to help our colleagues get back to work.

Our greatest insights are coming from the incidents of crime-related safety being reported. We know that there is a disparity between what our colleagues see in their stores and incidents that are reported to local police forces and that, until recently, retail crime has been deemed as “victimless.” From the appalling incidents we see happening in our convenience stores, we know this isn’t the case. We have used MySafety data to help support our major campaign this year: “Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities” while petitioning the U.K. home office to take retail crime seriously.

“I have been punched in the face by a shoplifter, threatened with a needle by a guy on drugs, been spat at, and suffered verbal abuse more times than I can remember.”

—“It’s Not Part of the Job” a research report by Dr. Emeline Taylor, which was funded by the Co-op

We have also begun working with a major police constabulary in the U.K., comparing the data in MySafety to the data held in their systems to help us understand what the differences are and why crimes that our colleagues report through our system aren’t subsequently escalated to the police. At the time of our initial review, only 61% of shoplifting incidents reported on MySafety for that area were also reported to the police.

In addition, our security partner is also using our statistics to risk profile our stores, helping them to understand what time of day crimes often occur, for example, and if security guarding would be appropriate.

As everything is now housed in a central location for the entire group, the data we need is now available at the push of a button.



We are also now using the system to help our colleagues review risk assessments, which gives us better visibility centrally while providing us with invaluable information that helps us to reinforce our positive safety culture.


Measures of Success

The figures tell the story. Since the launch date on Oct. 18, 2019, the system has been accessed 220,318 times. Fortunately, most incidents are low risk with no injury, but the data MySafety is providing is helping us do more than ever before to protect our colleagues.

The Best of Spark Delivered to Your Inbox
Sphera is the leading provider of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance and risk management software, data and consulting services with a focus on Environment, Health, Safety & Sustainability (EHS&S), Operational Risk Management and Product Stewardship.
Subscribe to Spark
Receive expert content from Sphera about Safety, Sustainability and Productivity.