Technology Poised to Transform Safety
This year, safety professionals will have access to a wider array of safety technologies than ever before and the widespread adoption of tech will transform safety programs for the better.
This year, safety professionals will have access to a wider array of safety technologies than ever before. And with more providers offering freemium options, implementation support, and customer success services, the widespread adoption of tech will transform safety programs for the better.
Core safety management activities have long remained stuck in a world of paper and spreadsheets. According to a study by JBKnowledge, 71.4 percent of the construction contractors and subcontractors surveyed used outdated tools like paper or spreadsheets to gather data in the field. However, 50 to 60 percent of those companies used accounting, project management, and estimating software applications—and had been using them for years.1
This reluctance to adopt safety technology contradicts with evidence that an effective safety program has an ROI of 200 percent by helping reduce workers’ compensation costs and improving productivity.2 The shift toward safety technology has been a long time coming. If you want to use software, apps, or IoT to improve your safety record and processes, here’s what to look for:
Safety Management Apps and Software
OSHA encourages a proactive, preventative approach toward safety that can be difficult and time-consuming to manage without the use of technology.3 Enter safety management software (SMS), which allows for efficient tracking and standardization of safety activities.
SMS systems are safety program-specific project management tools. Your team can run and record paper or spreadsheet-based activities in less time on an app. In addition, you get the massive benefits of notifications, reminders, data trending, and digital documentation.
With digital data, safety personnel can set measurable goals, track process, and make evidence-based decisions long before an incident occurs.
Look for these SMS features:
- Safety management structure. Safety activities, compliance standards, and data trending should be built-in so you can sign up and get started with minimal setup.
- Data trends and dashboards. Trend both lagging and leading indicators to provide an accurate understanding of your safety status in a fraction of the time spent when using a spreadsheet-based system.
- Automated reports. Daily, weekly, and monthly updates can be partially or fully automated to save your managers time and improve communication.
- Task management. Create tasks and assign them to various members of your team. Get alerts when tasks are completed or outstanding.
- Photo/Video Integration. Safety will remain rooted in the physical world, so your software solution should be fully integrated with the photo and video data captured by your team.
- Smart alerts and notifications. Your SMS should come equipped with customizable notifications (new report, new inspection, etc.) and alerts (hazards, incidents, and outstanding tasks).
- Compliance or safety score. Gauge how well you are meeting safety and compliance goals at a glance using an in-app rating system. (This feature should be shared within your team only.)
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2020 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.