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.



Safety Management System: Why Its Important for Construction Firms

To grasp the importance of a safety management system in the construction industry, there are two things to understand: the increased safety risks that come part and parcel of construction in all its forms (as opposed to other industries), and the effectiveness of safety management systems in ensuring that a worksite is as safe as possible. Piece the two together, and you have a very valid answer: a safety management system (SMS) can prevent accidents and near-miss incidents in the places where that is most needed. Construction sites are hazardous and health and safety issues are often more immediate than in other workplaces; an effective SMS can truly save lives.

So let’s take a look first at the risks involved in construction, and then at how a systematic approach to safety can mitigate them.

Occupational safety in construction: risky business

The statistics don’t lie: construction is a risky business for workers. The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in the US released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics last year showing the 2018 numbers highlighted a few facts: transportation incidents were the most frequent type of fatal event, accounting for 40 percent of deaths. There was an increase in incidents involving workers caught in running equipment and machinery, as well as in those involving being hit by falling objects. Fatal falls, slips, and trips had decreased slightly but remained high, with a number in the 700s. All of the above are dangers presented on construction sites of all kinds.

The Association of Workers’ Compensation Board of Canada’s fatality statistics for 2017 put the construction industry well out in front as the industry with the most fatalities. The International Labour Organization has found through its gathering of statistical data that “the construction industry has a disproportionately high rate of recorded accidents.” Construction death and injury rates vary widely across the globe, but it’s clear that the industry is a risky one overall.

It’s not difficult to see why, either. A construction site generally involves heavy machinery and equipment, scaffolding and ladders, working at height, electrical installations, vehicles, flammable materials, and more. There are so many things to think about when measuring and improving safety performance; any safety program for a construction company must cover a vast array of scenarios. There is also room for continuous improvement as things change throughout the course of the project.

Safety management systems: mitigating the risk

To maintain an overview of all aspects of safety policy on a worksite, a robust safety management system is essential. At its core, a safety management system is a systematic way to manage all safety-related activity on a work site. That starts with hazard identification and includes safety policy, plans, objective setting, safety training schedules, meeting schedules, reporting procedures, committee and management structures, assigning responsibilities, and anything else that applies. They take many forms and are used most extensively in industries that manage significant risk—of which we have already established that construction is most certainly one! They are also important in other sectors like the aviation industry, where careful oversight of safety practices is crucial and there are global standards such as those set by the ICAO.

How does an SMS improve workplace safety?

As a framework, a safety management system—at the very least—allows a company or organization to meet its legal obligations according to the relevant local or national health and safety governing body. It also makes it much easier for said organization to prove that it’s meeting the obligations. And the laws and regulations around occupational health and safety aren’t there just to generate income via fines—they are intended to set standards and offer accountability that keeps people safe.

Safety management systems have proven results. Take the STEP program by Associated Builders and Contractors in the USA, a tried-and-trusted SMS. Participants in the highest levels of their program have shown themselves to be 680 percent safer than the industry average, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics average.

Having an overarching safety management system reduces the risk of siloed information and oversights due to a lack of shared knowledge. It also contributes to a strong safety culture with everyone on the same page. When everything is put together into one system, there is more transparency. It is also clearer to workers what the procedures are, and where to go for the information they need.

Of course, for any management system to be effective it must translate into action. Good SMS implementation is perhaps the most important step in reducing fatalities, injuries, and near-misses.

With a quality SMS in place and an effective action plan, safety risk management becomes achievable across the entire construction site. That’s why a safety management system is so important: it offers an oversight of safety practices, ensures that a site is in line with the relevant regulations and laws, and saves lives through creating strong safety practices and culture.

So it’s evident that a safety management system is very important. It does, however, entail a lot of work, a lot of thought, and often a lot of paperwork. Thankfully, modern technology can help.

Software: a helping hand

Keeping track of each aspect of a safety management system is a tall order, especially on a construction site. Traditionally, it means a lot of paperwork—and anyone who has dealt with paperwork will be aware of how tedious and time-consuming it can be.

Good safety management software makes the creation and implementation of a safety management system much easier. It cuts down on paperwork and simplifies tasks such as incident reporting, filing, audits, and more.

A comprehensive software will facilitate many different aspects of safety management. SafetyTek’s platform, for example, includes handy features such as the employee training matrix which allows those in charge to oversee and manage employee training. It makes it obvious when there are gaps in training schedules mandated by your SMS. Not only can you file forms digitally with SafetyTek, but you can have employees fill them out on any device. No paper, scanners, or printers required!

A safety management system has many moving parts; technology can simplify processes and offer better oversight of the whole picture. To find out more about how safety management software could help your construction site meet safety requirements and goals through administration of your safety management system, get in touch with the SafetyTek team. 

5 Highly Effective Methods that Innovative Companies Use Safety Management Software

Companies wanting to reduce corporate costs and provide employees a better working environment should aim at improving the safety management system.

According to the National Safety Council, the cost of work injuries amounted to $162 billion in 2017. That translates to $1,100 cost per worker, including the value of goods or services that each should produce to offset work injury-related cost.

 

An essential part of managing workplace safety is an environment, health, and safety (EHS) management software that is useful in recording, organizing, and analyzing safety-related data. An effective system means that the management can precisely see where hazards and accidents are taking place to perform proactive measures to eradicate them.

Moreover, an effective system does not only set a standard to the safe operations of the company but also promote accountability. It must seamlessly address compliance requirements and must be flexible to adapt to changes.

As technology evolves, companies are also changing the way they manage workplace safety. A lot are taking advantage of key features of EHS software solutions to aid them with every aspect of safety management, from documenting to tracking an incident and to enhancing the safety culture.

Below are a few ways companies make the most out of safety management software.

1. Configure email notifications

Various safety management tools enable companies to configure email notification capabilities to promote accountability among staff members. It works in such a way that when an accident takes place, the medical team kicks off the investigation process through e-mail notification to the supervisor of injured staff.

The supervisor would then have to fill out a form detailing relevant information regarding the accident and submit to the manager for review. The manager may accept or deny the report sent via email notification. An accepted case gets to the safety professional for final review and analysis, also through email notification.

A safety manager would then have to determine corrective actions, if necessary, and assign them accordingly. To avoid delay, some companies set periodic email triggers to remind staff members or their direct supervisors to accomplish their duties.

2. Develop job safety analysis (JSA) functions

Many companies are adopting EHS management solutions that feature functions enabling a safety management system to outline JSAs for a particular task or job. JSAs include the steps required to perform a task, the safety and health hazards accompanying every step, and proactive measures to reduce or eliminate potential and existing hazards. These functions do not only help companies satisfy management system specification requirements, but they are also helpful for training staff.

3. Integrate important files and documents

A systematic health and safety software for small businesses has the capability to place all files, including certificates, in one place. For a construction company, for instance, this functionality enables automatic communication between prime contractors and subcontractors with regards to toolbox meetings and hazard inspections and assessments.

A prime contractor will no longer have to go around the site it manages to ask each of his subcontractors for their paperwork. Getting subcontractors to comply with paperwork takes almost half of the day of a site supervisor. With a system management tool in place, he can focus on his primary responsibility.

4. Keep track of employee compliance training

In the past, safety professionals used to track employee training through an Excel spreadsheet. For them to see what each staff member needs, they have to click through the names of employees on the left vis-à-vis their training programs along the top.

Today, safety system management incorporates training record management tools to identify the necessary training courses that each worker needs based on topics and their specific roles. Safety professional can now layer the grid, or matrix depending on the job, location, and other specifications. It quickly offers benefits related to expiry alerts and gap reporting analysis that are accessible from any gadget with an internet connection.

This software solution is particularly relevant to firms employing field workers.

5. Gather feedback

People regard safety culture as highly relevant, yet find it as elusive objective and challenging to gauge. Companies need data to determine whether measures aimed at improving safety are effectively executed. Software solutions can achieve this by encouraging staff to log in immediately and document an incident or record recommendations to improve workplace safety.

The data will then serve as valuable information on leading indicators and actions made to control or eliminate hazards. At the same time, it becomes a simple yet excellent means to promote proactive engagement among employees and drive safety culture.

Is a safety management software a worthy investment?

As the need to improve workplace safety is growing, more companies are turning to electronic safety management system. As presented above, various EHS management tools are saving companies time and effort. Nonetheless, companies must also do their homework. They need to ensure that they are properly implemented by making sure that every worker is sufficiently trained.

The Role of Safety Management Systems in Aviation

Flying as a mode of transportation has its risks. After all, air travel means you'll be sitting in a winged tube that tears through the sky at 600 miles per hour, thousands of feet above solid ground. So there's good reason that the aviation industry is heavily regulated and requires diligent processes in place.

Commercial aviation has a safety record which surpasses other modes of public transport. However, you'd be surprised to know that in the past aviation safety improvement was mostly done after the fact. Any time an accident took place, only then was the cause investigated, and careful measures put in place to prevent the same thing from happening again. It’s not a very proactive approach considering there's so much risk involved!  

To counter this, the concept of safety management systems in aviation emerged.

Safety Management Systems in aviation explained

A safety management system (or SMS) is a group of established, organization-wide processes that contribute towards effective risk-based decision making. In simpler words, having an SMS in place allows employees to make better and safer decisions when it comes to their jobs.

The main goal of an SMS is to implement a structured management plan to manage safety risks in a work environment. It promotes a culture of total safety and encourages everyone in an organization to think, behave, and act with complete safety in mind.

For the aviation industry, an SMS allows every operator and product/service provider to create a systematic way to categorize hazards and manage risks effectually. It can also be applied to different sectors, allowing operators to integrate their diverse safety activities into a single coherent system. By identifying an operator’s role in accident prevention, a safety management system provides:

  • A structured means of safety risk management decision making.

  • A means of demonstrating safety management capability before system failures occur.

  • Enhanced confidence in risk controls though structured safety assurance processes.

  • A powerful interface for knowledge sharing between regulator and certificate holder.

  • A safety promotion framework to support a sound safety culture.

Organizations within the aviation industry are becoming increasingly dependent on safety management systems, which are positively influencing the way employees perform their jobs. Many also use safety management software to make implementing an SMS easier with fewer points of friction.

Where did the SMS concept come from?

 

Safety management systems are not unique to the aviation industry.

In fact, they are recognized by many other industries, including the railway and maritime sectors. The regulatory authorities for these industries have developed safety management systems that are specific to their own industry standards and requirements. For example, the railway sector in Canada first introduced an SMS in the 1940s and used it to promote operational improvements by enhancing safety culture and better managing safety risks. Today, Canada manages one of the largest railway networks in the world, and has been able to operate with as few as 272 reported rail incidents as of 2017 (down from 325 accidents in 2016). This is due to vigorous safety systems in place.

To reap the same benefits, and promote safer operations, Transport Canada made it mandatory in 2008 and 2009 for the aviation industry to put safety management systems in place. They are an additional layer of protection and help to save lives.

Total safety culture created by SMS in aviation  

Some groups within the aviation industry have started to report the many benefits of having a safety management system in place. After all, investing in a safety system makes good business sense—it reduces the number of accidents, decreasing any financial costs associated with them. It also enhances a safe work environment, attracting and retaining more staff and customers. 

Primarily, the goal of an SMS is to maximize opportunities to continuously improve the overall safety of an organization. For aviation companies, this means they are able to take essentially a prediction-based management approach to controlling risk.

A safety management system in aviation is considered the foundation of an organization's safety efforts and works as a practical means of connecting other safety systems. It also offers an organized way to examine all the different safety-related processes.

Having an SMS in place can benefit an organization by:

  • Offering a more informed decision-making process.

  • Improving safety by minimizing the risk of accidents.  

  • Providing for better resource allocation that will result in increased efficiencies and reduced costs.  

  • Establishing a corporate culture.

  • Promoting corporate due diligence.

With a strongly executed SMS, groups in the aviation industry can experience better compliance with safety controls and regulations that in turn minimize negative outcomes of an event. Safety systems also allow employees and passengers to recognize potential hazards that may compromise their health and safety.

A safety management system can have positive impacts on staff by generating trust and enhanced morale which leads to better performance. And most importantly, it can help an organization to prevent catastrophic accidents, making it safer and therefore attracting more clients.