Automated, paperless work health and safety management systems, particularly ones available on mobile devices, can not only help organisations meet legislative and contractual requirements, they can also improve their reputation.
Adrian Manessis, Business Development Manager with myosh Safety Software, discussed the benefits of safety management systems at last week’s NSCA Foundation National Safety Conference in Sydney.
What can you do?
Core functions of safety management software include automating incident reporting and investigation as well as risk assessment and hazard management, and tracking actions taken.
Other key ways software can boost safety include:
Reporting performance indicators – both lag (eg lost time injury frequency rates) and lead (eg KPIs relating to safety targets). There’s an increasing emphasis on lead indicators which more accurately communicate safety performance.
Managing contractors – a large organisation with otherwise effective safety management systems can be exposed to risk when contractors enter their worksite but either don’t have systems in place or they have systems but still operate unsafely. Organisations with safety management software can overcome this by bringing contractors “into the fold”. This can be done by providing contractors with a login for the software, requiring them to comply with the software and monitoring their performance using the software.
Managing training management – training management can be automated so that organisations are aware of who has and has not met training requirements and when training or refresher training is due.
Educating workers – via online learning courses.
Managing injuries – when a worker is injured, an automated system can help the organisation to ensure medical certificates are managed, return-to-work plans are implemented, and other obligations are met.
Keeping up-to-date registers – for equipment, chemicals and more (eg asbestos).
Collecting and interpreting safety data and ensuring data integrity – the best software can generate relevant statistics, tables and graphs and identify trends.
Managing documents and ensuring ease of access for users – making safety management software available on mobile devices ensures documents that people require are readily available.
Managing change – the software can be employed to ensure changes affecting safety management are planned and carried out properly with stakeholder involvement.
Manessis said the right software can help organisations to satisfy contractual requirements, achieve productivity gains, improve safety culture and reduce insurance costs with flow-on effects for an organisation’s reputation. Key benefits include:
Safety commitment – implementing safety management software will demonstrate an organisation’s safety commitment to its workforce and clients as well as WHS authorities. It is proof that an organisation isn’t merely expressing safety as a series of buzz words; rather, it is investing in safety, putting processes in place and being active in this area.
Safety culture – organisations that implement safety management software can strengthen safety because the software arms people with the tools they need to work safely. In this way, the software promotes shared responsibility, drives personal accountability (eg people can be held accountable for performing certain actions they have been assigned through the software) and promotes active participation in a reporting culture (eg an employee who identifies a work hazard can log it immediately, and with great ease, by accessing the organisation’s safety management software on their mobile phone).
Safety measurement – if an organisation doesn’t measure safety performance, it won’t improve safety outcomes. Using safety management software, organisations can measure and report on performance, including individual performance, to identify areas for improvement and help determine practical strategies.
Sustainable processes – when a safety manager leaves an organisation, this can impact the safety management system in place. The right software can help an organisation ensure the continuity of safety management systems in the event of this sort of change.
QR Codes – safety management software with QR code technology enables people to use their mobile devices to scan barcodes on equipment such as fire extinguishers to see if it is in date or due for testing/replacement. The technology also allows managers and supervisors to approach a contractor that has come on site, scan their pass and identify whether they’ve been inducted, met all relevant training requirements and possess the relevant qualifications.
Mobile system – to help people work safely, organisations should, as Manessis puts it, “put safety in their pockets”. Accessibility by mobile devices will enable staff to instantly receive safety notifications and to log incidents, hazards, observations and actions such as inspections with ease. The software should be customisable and people should be able to work with it when outside internet range and synchronise when back in range.
Manessis said organisations should ensure the product is mobile, modular, customisable, scalable to meet commercial realities, and integrates all area of safety including training, incident reporting and hazard management. He warned that an organisation’s safety management software will fail to take off if it is difficult to use, if people haven’t been consulted and trained in its use, if it doesn’t align with internal policies and procedures, and if there is no clear implementation strategy.
By James Harkness, 20 October 2015, courtesy of WorkplaceOHS.com.au