If you’re new in EHS or you’re a seasoned professional who’s seen it all, you’ve probably come across some very cringe-worthy data reporting mistakes in your time. Whether you made the mistakes when building your reports or it was someone else’s fatal flaw, it pays to review this quick summary of five common data reporting mistakes.
1. Falling Prey to Confirmation Bias
Data is supposed to be objective – just the facts – but too often we give in to the temptation to use only the data that supports decisions we’ve already made, ignoring everything else. It’s hard to be objective when making decisions, and the data is supposed to help, but if the decision comes first and then you’re retroactively searching for the data to support that decision, that’s a clear case of confirmation bias. Don’t do it!
Tip: Separate the decision-making process from the data analysis.
2. Failing to Define Clear Outcomes
Do you really know what you want (or need) to measure? Collecting information doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be able to answer all the right questions. Let your questions drive your data collection, and don’t change those data call questions mid-stride or else you won’t get good trend analysis over time.
Tip: Work hard to set clear your goals that have easy-to-understand outcomes.
3. Not Taking Full Advantage of Big Data
We all know that incident rates are high on the ladder of important metrics to monitor. But now, with so much data coming in—and thanks to web-based EHS software developed specifically for EHS pros—you’re capable of so much more. Big data and analytics are one of the hottest areas of development for EHS professionals right now. Make sure you have a robust solution that can help manage your EHS program.
Tip: Learn about how to harness big data, one step at a time. Check out this guide for tips on getting started with big data.
4. Not Having a Central Data Repository
You can collect reams and reams of data, but if you don’t have a central repository where data from multiple sources is managed for a holistic view of the organization, it’s not much good, is it? Reporting, trends, analysis: it’s all made easier when there’s a central repository.
Tip: Invest in a modern EHS software system. Click here to get a free trial of EHS Insight today.
5. Working With Poor-Quality Data
Is everyone on your team working to provide good input? Are they all aware of data collection standards? Your reporting is only as good as the data it’s based on.
Tip: Make sure everyone is well-trained on the hows and whys of good data collection.