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Using Technology to Improve Safety Performance

F Marie Athey OHST March 10, 2014 0

Using Technology to Improve Safety PerformanceThe numbers do not lie. Globally, there were over 2 million workplace fatalities in 2013. In other words, more than 6,000 families were affected by the death of a loved one each day—simply because they went to work. Many international companies are also operating with different environmental health and safety regulations to consider. There are only a few global initiatives to standardize training and reduce barriers for a safe and healthy workplace—a type of workplace that everyone is rightfully entitled to.

So how do we lessen the confusion and keep employees safe? OSHA is developing a regulation that can greatly affect how companies manage their health and safety programs. Here are some of the basic components of OSHA’s Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2):

  1. Leadership from Management
  2. Participation from Workers
  3. Assessing Hazards
  4. Prevention and Control of Hazards
  5. Training Program Evaluation and Improvement

By leveraging a well designed and automated safety software tool to manage company-wide safety processes in a centralized location, you are a step closer to ensure the health and wellness of your employees. Automation will promote standardization of processes, data collection and recordkeeping. When analyzing program data, you can easily manage your compliance initiatives with technology on your side.

Let’s consider companies with locations throughout the United States and even abroad. For example, Company ABC has struggled with incidents and injury trends that are common across all locations. They need to meet jurisdictional regulatory requirements for safety and environmental compliance.  Many years ago, the company implemented a formal job hazard analysis (JHA) that identified each step of the work being performed, the hazards associated with each step, and the preventative or corrective measures to avoid exposure to hazards. However, each location had their own terms or language, process, training instructors, and site-specific hazards. Aside from having weak EHS management programs, the company has no central data repository and no baseline knowledge training. Each location did not share any data about successful implementations or associated hazards.

Using a JHA software is a practical way to implement a standardized and automated process in order to track hazards, compare and share data with all locations. Performing a JHA has become much easier. Gone are the days of collecting forms from begrudging supervisors who throw documents on the floor of a work truck. Safety teams and department heads can prioritize risks more clearly and even identify potential areas of concern. Governance risk and compliance (GRC) systems can also track information from a JHA and map it back to related regulatory and safety training requirements. These technological innovations  can help companies set KPI’s and make training, purchasing and planning more effective and efficient. Such process improvements can help to lower incident rates, minimize premiums for workers compensation insurance and general liability, lower EMOD, and promote safety awareness.

Without a doubt, technology has paved the way for better safety management. It’s easier to identify goals and resources when more data are available and accessible. The software system will enable a more efficient analysis of an organization’s safety data, so the management can understand how to prioritize resources. As a result, continuous improvement—a crucial component of any successful safety program—becomes an integral part of the process.

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