Update your Risk Management with Technology today!
Update your Risk Management with Technology today!
The evolution of safety over the last 50 years has caused it to become a primary focus for businesses, with the need to collect and analyse safety data becoming a fundamental requirement. Usually, safety inspection data is collected through tools such as “take-five” and paper-based Work Method Statements or Site Inspections. These reports can now be migrated into a digital format thanks to advances in technology. The digital data can be collected and analysed to identify risks and ensure that control measures are implemented. Furthermore, these new measures can be flagged as a business standard when required.
What are “Safety Management Tools” and “Risk Management Tools”
Risk management tools are documents designed to capture information related to risks. These documents (or similar) should form part of your Safety Management System in accordance with Work Health and Safety Regulations.
- Formal Risk Assessment – These are usually conducted at a project management level. The formal risk assessment will step through the job and identify key risk areas, including health and safety, financial, business, community, and environmental risks.
- Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) – also known as Task Analysis (TA) or Job Safest Analysis (JSA), are risk assessments focusing on a particular task. The users step through the task, identifying risks and controls for each step before the work is completed. Often SWMS are standard documents, but they may be pre-written if practical.
- Site Risk Assessments – Also known as “Take-Five”, SLAMS etc., are task-specific mini risk assessments to identify any gaps between the SWMS or procedures and the actual environmental conditions surrounding the task. Common risks identified in these often include the weather, nearby loud noises, slip or trip hazards, housekeeping, or abnormal situations.
Why use digital tools to capture site safety data?
Digital tools enable the end-user to capture and store data not easily captured on paper-based inspections. These features include photos, videos and GPS coordinates and also allow the business to link documents for specific jobs such as SWMS, risk assessments, and procedures specific to the task.
Real-time data can enable a supervisor to review the risk data and make decisions on further risk mitigation. The supervisor can then capture all risks and provide positive coaching feedback to employees through safety leadership.
What are the benefits of digital safety tools?
- The saying “a picture tells a thousand words” is true when it comes to the possibility of sharing videos and photos through digital media; it saves on time and effort. A long-winded report can be summarised in a short video.
- GPS enables companies that work over large areas to pinpoint the exact locations of the risks they identify. This data can then be used to trigger “risk reviews” for the next employee who is working in the area.
- Voice to text enables the user to simply explain the situation and have it recorded into text format as data against the risk.
- The central data storage allows a reviewer to search the content of a risk with ease rather than going through a filing cabinet.
- Graphs and charts can be used to analyse and display risks by severity, likelihood, and risk category to show where the highest impacts of hazards are in your business.
Choosing the right digital safety tools
Many tools are available to assist in the risk management process. Common questions to ask when determining the correct software to meet your needs include:
Does your existing system already have the capabilities you need to implement digital risk management tools?
This is a fundamental question; many people don’t realise that their software may already be capable of specific functions; it’s essential to discuss these with your software consultant to ensure you a fully utilising the functions available to you.
Is the software independent, or will it be integrated with your existing system?
When looking at this question, it’s important to look at the direction of your business and the longer-term plan. Even though integrating with your existing system may increase costs, it may save you money in the future.
If the software packages are linked, do both your system and the selected software have the capability of being integrated?
There is no point in getting a new system if it’s not capable of external integrations.
Will your system be accessed by managers only, or will it need to be assessed by all employees?
The user base should be a deciding factor in your new system. A simple way to look at this is if your users only need to read the content or if they will be actively contributing to it. Most businesses encourage their employees to contribute to risk management actively.
Do the tools need to be accessed from the field (via mobile) or only from a desktop?
Having access to the system from a mobile device is vital if your users manage and actively participate in risk management in the field or on a job site.
What paper-based tools are you currently using that you would like to convert to digital format? Is the new system capable of this?
Make a list of all the existing documents you have, look at the future direction of your business, and capture any additional documents you may need. Ensure the system you select covers all of these requirements. You will regret a half-baked solution.
How flexible is the system? Does it have the ability to adapt and grow with your business?
While you may not need all of the tools right now, it’s vital to ensure the system is flexible enough to change with your business and technology. For example, if you have a 5-crew work party now but could have a 100-crew work party in the future, ensure your system is not cumbersome. Each user can look after themselves with minimal administration.
Does your system require workflows?
Workflows can be used to automate the manual handling of data and approvals. Many business owners don’t realise how much time they are wasting manually entering and transferring data through emails. Why not have all this automated?
What does the system look like?
The best way to find this information is to draw a flow chart. Start with each user and step through each process to clearly lay out what you want the software to look and feel like. This is gold for your software consultant, as it paints a precise picture of what you need. When selecting your software, you can review this flow chart and ensure specific steps are fulfilled, modified, or removed based on your decisions.
There is no doubt that using a digital solution as part of your safety management system will make your life easier and encourage your employees to work safely and collect critical risk data. The ease of having a safety tool in your pocket, with the flexibility to take photos and videos, saves time and effort for those using the tools. At the same time, the data is being collected in real-time allows supervisors to review the job and provide valuable safety leadership immediately.
If you feel your business could benefit from digital risk management, give the team at Thrive a call today – we are the industry software experts.
1300 868 474
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