10 reasons to use Safety Management Software

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.

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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.




Why its important to track COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace

With all the changes businesses had to go through a year ago, the widespread roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines is welcome news. As more and more individuals get vaccinated with the hope to return to somewhat normal life, businesses must find ways of managing and tracking workers who have received the vaccination in order to plan accordingly. 

Knowing the vaccination status of every employee is crucial to creating a safe workplace for everyone. As more information becomes available about the long-term effects of the several available COVID-19 vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as other authoritative health entities review and update their guidelines and recommendations on acceptable and safe interactions between vaccinated and unvaccinated people. 

As you can imagine, there are so many ethical considerations on how private healthcare information such as whether an employee is vaccinated or not should be handled, and every employer must be aware of what practices are acceptable or not in documenting the vaccination status of their employees. 

To help employers navigate this new world of COVID-19 vaccinations, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has set up a Workplace Vaccination Program that is intended to help employers handle workplace COVID-19 vaccination processes. 

According to the CDC, an employer can support and promote a COVID-19 vaccination culture within their organization by providing accurate and relevant information about COVID-19 vaccination and “establishing supportive policies and practices” that can help build confidence in COVID-19 vaccines. 

Strong confidence in the vaccine would naturally lead to more people opting to get vaccinated which reduces the spread of COVID-19 and consequently reduces absenteeism, hospitalizations, and death. The more people that get vaccinated within a company, the more other employees will feel comfortable getting their vaccination as well. Promoting a positive culture and celebrating COVID-19 vaccinations within the workplace can: 

  • improve employee morale
  • reduce COVID-19-related absences
  • decrease disruption of workflow
  • reduce absence due to illness
  • increase productivity  

 

What Employers Should Be Doing Now

Every employer wants a productive and balanced workforce. With COVID-19 leading to illnesses and absenteeism, and so much inaccurate information surrounding the vaccines, this is the time to start building vaccine confidence for employees. 

Here are some steps to help build vaccine confidence in your workplace: 

  • Conduct a toolbox talk by adapting key messages defined by the CDC in the language, tone, and format that will resonate with your organization.  
  • Share local health department information on a regular basis. 
  • Have open discussions allowing employees to ask questions and air any concerns.  
  • Encourage leaders in your organization to share their stories and testimonials about how and why they got vaccinated. 

 

The content delivery module in the SafetyTek platform can help to easily communicate these messages to employees and also track who has consumed the information. 

While no one can be forced to get the vaccine, keeping track of employees who have received a partial COVID-19 vaccination, a completed dose of the vaccine, and those who are unvaccinated is important in providing a workspace that is safe for all employees.

Knowing which of your employees are at greater risk of getting sick or spreading COVID-19 will help you plan your workspaces accordingly. In the event of an outbreak as well, employers can identify, inform and/or isolate employees that either haven’t been vaccinated or are at a higher risk of contracting the virus. 

SaftyTek’s COVID-19 Solution helps businesses track and report on key data related to employee vaccinations. Collecting information more efficiently and having all your data in an easy-to-track system, allows you to focus on prevention and reduce incidents of COVID-19 infections to create an overall safer environment for all employees. 

How to decrease workplace incidents

The only way to decrease incidents in the workplace is to be proactive with prevention. As the ancient proverb goes; 

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." 

While there are many ways to be proactive, you will need to be consistent and communicate expectations clearly when implementing proactive measures. Review the following list of safety suggestions as a guide to starting your system of incident prevention.

1. Formalize safety policies and procedures. 

Create a safety handbook that lists out the steps that must take place to prevent incidents in the workplace. Include instructions for;

  1. Storing dangerous and toxic items
  2. Pre-use equipment inspections
  3. Safe work procedures
  4. Pre-work safety inspections
  5. Near-miss or close call incident reporting
  6. Schedule for regular safety briefings, toolbox talks
  7. Substance abuse program
  8. Safety performance reviews

Check out this on-demand webinar on creating a safety culture of excellence to start this process off right!

2. Make someone accountable for safety. 

Discuss the current safety policies with your safety coordinator, and work on a plan to ensure buy-in and compliance. Confirm that the safety coordinator is aware of all the responsibilities connected with safety. Let your support be known to this person and decide to discuss concerns and solutions to further incident prevention monthly.

3. Communicate expectations for a safe work environment. 

Let staff know regularly that safety is a significant concern. Do this verbally but reiterate expectations in a documented form. Post this safety information throughout your workplace.

Words are one thing, actions speak louder. If a safety hazard is encountered, move quickly to remedy it. Waiting too long only increased the chance of an incident. It won't correct itself and don't assume that someone else will correct it.

Ask employees for suggestions about improving workplace safety. One safety coordinator is surely helpful, but a handful of lookouts is always preferable. Collect anonymous input from employees which they can fill out at their discretion.

4. Regularly inspect your facility with your safety coordinator. 

Make sure that your team is following safety policies at work. Check areas that are of concern to observe safety guidelines being met. If you observe something non-compliance, document it and bring it up with the safety coordinator as soon as possible. Plan a meeting with all the staff to communicate the concern further and ensure that it does not happen again.

5. Provide the right tools so there is no need to improvise. 

Asking employees to improvise shows that your actions don't match your words and signals that you don't take safety seriously.

For example, if you use a storage area with high shelving, supply a safe ladder or step-stool so that staff are not forced to climb on boxes to retrieve items.

6. Schedule reviews of all risky scenarios.

Scenario reviews should involve examples using mechanical equipment and tools if available. The type of exercise will depend on the kind of operation. Some operations such as restaurants and warehouse facilities will have different scenarios than construction.

Schedule these reviews in new employee orientation and revisit them regularly. Workers will be reassured knowing that the company takes their health and safety seriously.

7. Monitor these eight metrics

What kinds of metrics can you start tracking that could make the most significant impact on your incident rate?

Here are eight safety metrics your safety department should be reporting on each month.

  1. Toolbox talks frequency
  2. Worker Participation
  3. Safety Program Performance Reviews
  4. Corrective Action Completion Velocity
  5. Employee Training
  6. Non-compliant PPE Use
  7. Incidents and Near Misses
  8. Safety Program Goal Setting

See this article for more details on each of these safety metrics. 

Specific Policies

1. Be prepared if there's a fire in your workplace. 

Fires can be devastating events, putting many companies in jeopardy. Assure that your workplace is adequately protected against the possibility of fire to cut down on incidents: Make sure smoke detectors are installed and have batteries.

  • Make sure that fire extinguishers are present, adequately charged, and recently inspected. If needed, ask your fire department to train you on how to inspect and use a fire extinguisher properly. Read this post for some tips.
  • Plan and post your escape routes. Know where the nearest exits are and how people can access them posthaste.

 

2. Invest in first-aid training and a first aid kit. 

First-aid training won't reduce incidents from happening, however, it would help reduce the severity of any injuries that happen during an incident.

Invest in first-aid kits for each space of your workplace. Place it in an easily accessible location that all of your workers can see.

3. Investigate each incident after it occurs. 

If an incident occurs in your workplace, write up an incident report. Investigate what happened and document the following:

  • the names and positions of the people involved
  • the names of any witnesses
  • the exact location or address of the incident
  • the exact time and date of the occurrence
  • a detailed and precise description of what exactly happened
  • a description of the injuries

 

An incident investigation must be comprehensive and include all information making it crucial to start writing the report as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more difficult it can be to document the details of the incident accurately. It's best to do the write-up when everyone's memory of the incident is still fresh.

Here is a post with seven essential elements of an incident report.

4. Workplace entrances and exits are fully operational and easily accessible. 

If your employees need to promptly get out of the building, make sure that there aren't objects blocking their exits. Sometimes in emergencies, everyone needs to evacuate as fast as possible. The site should be well-mapped, and evacuation routes clearly defined. As with any home, business, or organization, there needs to be;

  • A procedure for evacuating 
  • A location for where to meet 
  • A person who is responsible for ensuring everyone arrived.

 

These need to be known to all employees and reviewed regularly.

5. Mark potential safety concerns with the proper signage and instructions. 

If an electrician is rewiring an area of the workplace, or if a crew is doing construction on a railing piece, inform your employees and place an appropriate, visible sign near where the potential hazard could occur. Don't assume that people will act accordingly. Spell it out for them very clearly.

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Each incident is different, and there are too many variables to account for every possibility. A reliable and up-to-date safety process tailored to your workplace will be crucial.

While you can't think of everything, you can cover a lot. Talk to one of our experts on how you can quickly get your safety program running and complaint to COR or OSHA in just days.

 

How to implement Behaviour Based Safety

Ask any safety professional if they've heard of the term behavior-based safety, and chances are high they'll answer you with a resounding YES! Follow that up with whether or not they have successfully implemented it, and the answers become unpredictable.

The theory of behavior-based safety, which Dr. Scott Geller has coined through his research about applied behavioral science, is sound. In an ideal world, this would be what everyone has implemented throughout their workforce. If the outcome is to protect workers, assets, productivity, and the companies' reputation, this empathetic and humanistic approach to implementing safety is the only way to achieve it.  

So why aren't we all using it? The simple answer is there is a missing link to insights into how safety is viewed and performed in the field. The majority of companies that operate in risky environments still use paper processes to collect their field-level data from the workforce, and workers view these as liability waivers. Using paper to gather data leaves us in a position of unknowns. We don't know when the document was filled out or where it was initially completed. We've heard stories coming from safety managers, where their workers all gathered at the bar on Fridays after work and filled out the safety forms for the past week at that time. Retroactive form submissions are great for a compliance audit, but they bring no value to the company's bottom line.

Before we can even think about implementing behavior-based safety systems, we first need to understand how the workforce views your current safety system. 

  • Do they feel like it is antiquated and irrelevant, delivering little to no value to their day-to-day jobs? 
  • Perhaps they feel like they spend all of this time writing out daily hazard assessments, where these papers get placed into file cabinets with no review or feedback?  

 

When we have a baseline of what's happening throughout the workforce, improvements can be set and measured. For this to happen, measuring behavior and connecting it to some goals must be put into place. Due to the nature of paper being private, offline, and impossible to access rich information, we recommend that the first step to getting a behavior-based safety system off the ground is to set up a digital method to collect your field-level safety forms. You can start collecting this information with our entry-level digital forms system. Talk to one of our experts to get set up in less than an hour.

Once a digital method has been put in place, set up a review period to ensure this new data collection is put to good use. Data points of interest can be:

  1. The median time of first safety form submission
  2. Number of safety form submissions per worker
  3. The ratio of submissions between staff and contractors
  4. Number of created actions items
  5. Number of closed action items
  6. Number of overdue action items
  7. Average time for action item completion
  8. The percentage of workers who are actively engaged in safety
  9. How many mandatory reading elements were sent out, read, and signed off on
  10. Sentiment analysis on how your workers view safety

These are all data points that our system passively collects as workers engage in safety.

After you have your data collection under control, start performing regular safety tour inspections. These types of inspections are high-level and allow you and your leadership team to observe, without prejudice, how your workers are actively performing safety. The inspection details can look something like the following;

  1. What percentage of employees per area were able to meet and discuss safety during the tour?
  2. What number of safety suggestions were received from employees?
  3. How many safety assessments were completed and available for review?
  4. At a glance, how many available safety assessments looked complete enough to appear like they were adequate? 
  5. What percentage of employees sampled demonstrated evidence of related training for their task?
  6. Rate the housekeeping condition of the areas toured.
  7. What percentage of employees implemented and adhered to hazard control measures?
  8. What percentage of employees observed wore their PPE?

These questions are all subjective and based on the individual's feelings, but it highlights what's important to them, as leaders, concerning safety. Use these reports in your regular review process to see what your leadership team cares about and create actions to remedy their concerns, highlighted by the lower scores on the safety tour report card.

These types of safety tours send a couple of signals to the workforce.

  1. Investments are happening for safety at their company.
  2. Safety matters to the leadership team.
  3. You're listening to the worker's voices.

These signals are powerful when attempting to implement Behaviour Based Safety. This is primarily due to the change in the narrative of "Do as I say, not as I do."

Behavior-based safety is more of a holistic approach to implementing safety rather than a compliance or regulation approach. The outcomes are far easier to achieve when you have an entire workforce all reaching for the same goals instead of the work of a single safety manager attempting to stay compliant.





Safety Data Metrics

8 safety metrics you need to track every month

Today more and more organizations are looking deeply into data to uncover new safety insights and make better-informed decisions. With so much data easily obtainable, building out your reporting dashboard from scratch can seem daunting.  Where do you even start? Which key performance indicators (KPI) are most significant to track? 

Think about the outcomes that you are looking to achieve while answering the above questions. Typically the only metric that matters is incident rates. While you already track this internally, it's already reported to insurance. That makes this metric well known and easily accessible. So, what kinds of metrics can you start tracking that could make the most significant impact on your incident rate?

In this article, we cover the eight safety metrics your safety department should be reporting on each month.

1. Toolbox talks frequency

Toolbox talks are something that every worker has done. Some call them safety meetings or safety briefs. These meetings typically last around 10 to 20 mins and either summarizes hazards and controls that exist on-site, cover a specific safety topic, or review near misses that were submitted. 

The frequency of these talks has a direct impact on incidents. Data shows that in companies that perform daily safety toolbox talks, there has been an 85% decrease in total recordable incident rates, TRIR. 

Starting each day with a toolbox safety talk reinforces those general safe work expectations and obligations and, more importantly, demonstrates to the workforce the importance of putting safety first each day. 

You can learn all about Toolbox talks and how to conduct them in our Ultimate Guide to Toolbox Talks. 

2. Worker Participation

To prevent incidents, every member of your organization needs to be involved and actively participating in your safety program. That means every team member at every level must know what the company's safety goals are so they can contribute adequately. When measuring worker participation, a few key safety metrics to track each month include:

  • Number of safety meetings attended
  • Amount of training courses completed
  • Total inspections conducted and submitted
  • Completed corrective actions

 

3. Safety Program Performance Reviews

Safety program performance reviews should be completed with all workers twice per year, and they are a way to create accountability for the workers. They also allow management to review what is working, and more importantly, what isn't working. Understanding where safety is breaking down is an essential part of implementing a thriving safety culture. 

Reviewing how many incidents took place, how many near-misses were submitted, and what survey results from field staff look like highlights overall workforce engagement. 

All of these are key and need to be reviewed regularly with your workers.

4. Corrective Action Completion Velocity 

Knowing how many corrective actions are created and closed in a month is fantastic but doesn't show a complete picture. Do you have aging corrective actions that have been open for weeks or months? 

The corrective action process is a vital process that affects all control points in a company's safety program. Measuring the average time to complete corrective action items can expose potential flaws in every step of a corrective action process. From being issued to acknowledging receipt, follow up, completion, and verification.

If any of these steps is weak, it will show in this metric.

5. Employee Training

Tracking employee training records can seem tiresome, but it's one of the essential safety metrics to track each month. Stay on top of which members of your team have valid training certificates, which ones will expire, and how many expired tickets there are shows you're taking a proactive approach to workplace safety and can help you stay compliant.

6. Non-compliant PPE Use

The use of PPE can be monitored through regular safety audits of workers in the field. Send your safety staff to the field to log observations of proper and improper PPE usage. Track how many observations were made each month and how many of those observations were deemed unsatisfactory.

Take steps to improve this ratio and improve your score, be sure to regularly present these numbers to all of your staff. It's essential not to use this to place blame, but keep it higher level so your workforce can see how important it is to you.

7. Incidents and Near Misses

Usually, organizations focus most of their reporting on lagging indicators, like incidents (TRIR and DART) and near misses. Measuring these kinds of lagging indicators tells us how we've been doing and provides a solid foundation to build on. Once you've established your baseline, you can then contemplate putting checks in place to improve these key safety metrics.

8. Safety Program Goal Setting

Implementing a directed process to evaluate safety program needs and establish safety goals leads to a 48% reduction in TRIR and a 50% reduction in DART.

  • Action plans developed and documented
  • Progress tracked and reported 
  • The CEO works with staff to review goals, plans and reports and to provide direction
  • Action plans evaluated for effectiveness 

 

Measure how many of your workers set a safety goal every month. You do not measure their goal specifically, just whether or not they set one. The simple act of a worker having to think of a goal, decide what to measure, and decide if it was achieved or has failed is enough to gain all of this metric's incident reducing benefits.

 

Now that you have a more reliable idea of the safety metrics to track each month, watch this webinar to learn about creating a safety culture of excellence, highlighting the importance of 8 leading indicators.