Safety professionals in any type of organization typically face three types of problems on a regular basis: fieldworker buy-in, keeping up with regulatory compliance, and delivering value to stakeholders. Scanning documents, using spreadsheets and email, or simple form submissions systems are not enough to manage safety programs and meet regulations efficiently. The problem is not just in the paperwork, digital or otherwise, but in the administrative processes and not having the right data at the right time.
This is where a proper safety management software solution (SMS) like the SafetyTek platform can be a real benefit. It provides real-time data that helps companies proactively identify and mitigate risks rather than relying on manually-driven safety processes that only track lagging indicators.
Here are the top 10 ways safety data tracked by safety management software can help manage health and safety risks in your organization
1. Stay on top of compliance
Compliance is certainly a focal point for any safety professional. Sometimes it becomes the only real metric in measuring success. Unfortunately being compliant doesn't necessarily mean you have a safe organization.
Staying on top of compliance is having the ability to make micro corrections to the way that safety is being performed, but those corrections don't reveal themselves to you without the appropriate information.
An example of what this information would look like is a simple real-time feed that can deliver enough information to you so that you know who has and who hasn't completed their safety documentation for the day. You can now take quick action to prevent any further safety implications. This way your organization is performing safety successfully and compliance is the by-product.
2. Identify and reward good behavior
On the same theme as safety performance and accountability, having the insights to be able to detect good behavior from your workforce can go a long way to re-enforcing an underlying safety culture.
People respond to positive reinforcement. And sometimes all it takes is a text message to say, “Hey great job on your hazard analysis today”. These small but influential details are what help build safety champions within an organization, and they are quite often part of the grassroots safety movement.
Once you have identified your safety champs, you can spend some time coaching the unengaged. Use your years of experience to inform and create new safety champs.
3. 6x your productivity
Productivity is something that most safety managers strive for because for the most part they use paper, where 80% of their time is spent collecting or chasing down safety submissions to be entered into a spreadsheet so they can make some decisions. The frustrating part is that the remaining 20% of their time isn't necessarily spent on applying those decisions but rather spent on responding to emergencies, or what most call “putting out fires”.
Once you have a system collecting and exposing the data you are able to flip your time allocation to spend 80% of your day prioritizing your time, reading new initiatives, and focusing on culture.
4. Update safety work practices
Ensuring you have a trained workforce can pose a substantial hurdle. Through emailing, texting, and phone calls, ensuring your workforce knows about an updated policy can be a full-time job in itself.
Source control of important documentation is a big problem, not just for the safety industry. This problem has usually meant that there can only be one physical copy of this document and it resides inside of a master binder on a bookshelf at head office. Distributing this source material means photocopying or scanning it and sending it out into the abyss and hoping that everyone reads up on it.
With a digital system in place, you are able to update an SWP and distribute it directly to targeted worker roles, or projects, or even specific users. Then, you are able to monitor engagement, such as open rates, time spent on it, and who completed it. Now you can focus only on the individuals who have not engaged. In addition, when things change, archive the old version and push out the latest update, in the same way, notifying everyone that there is a change.
5. Reduce workplace incidents
Implementing a solution for safety to open up the ability to measure a leading indicator is a signal to a workforce that management has now invested resources to make sure that they stay safe. This is one of the first things that needs to happen so that everyone knows safety is important.
Trailing indicators are metrics like TRIR and days away from work. These indicators tell you how safety was performed historically, but they don't paint the whole picture.
Once leading indicators are being monitored, such as toolbox talk frequency and safety engagement, we can start to measure the effect of the investment. Ultimately this leads to a decrease in workplace incidents as the workforce begins to operate with safety top of mind.
6.Respond to events in minutes
The moment an incident takes place it triggers a sequence of events that can last for days, weeks, or even months. This can include finding out the cause of the incident and preventing it from happening again, fulfilling any legal requirements, determining compliance, and working out the cost of the incident, and processing any workers’ compensation claims.
Having real-time notifications come in with respect to events occurring in the field can enable you to start a plan instantly. Most safety professionals wish they’d known about something just a little bit sooner so that they could have put a fix in place before it blew out of proportion.
7. Trend safety engagement
Identifying gaps in participation is something safety managers try to accomplish on a regular basis.
Having a data pipeline enables this information to flow directly to you, instantly. While you have hunches that you can work off of, without any measurement you are not able to attribute efforts to results.
Confirming hunches is a great first step to being able to deliver and safety management software can help you easily do that.
8. Quality Control
Reviewing anomalies or even letting your workforce know that you do in fact review these documents can go a long way into quality control.
Locating out-of-the-ordinary submissions can certainly allow you to locate risk, and correct it before something bad happens.
That combined with source control on required processes or policies ensures that people are consuming the correct information and not conflicting on site.
Watch how people interact with your safety forms because all too often there can be misinterpretations happening where they may not understand what the question is asking of them, and we can make changes accordingly.
9. Plan upcoming training
Seeing all expiring safety certificates in one view can enable you to bring in the appropriate trainers and send cohorts of staff to training sessions. Rather than responding to expired training as it's expiring or even after.
Understanding gaps that exist in your worker's training profiles and place training sessions to correct them is a key part of ensuring safety.
10. Track External Users
External users from your organization are usually the highest-risk individuals that need to be monitored. Using paper this insight gets lost because you are not able to determine when safety forms are being filled out, or more importantly when tasks are being completed.
Comparing various subcontractors to each other helps determine which contractors you should bring back onto the job sites and which ones should be cut. You can really dial in on non-compliant contractors this way to reduce your overall operational risk.
Watch this webinar to find out more about Safety Management Systems and how our clients are using data to solve the persistent problem of keeping workers safe.