Employee safety has risen to prominence in the last 50 years to become a major function of modern human resources departments. This is due in no small part to occupational health and safety (HS) organizations such as the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the OSHA (US) bringing forward and enforcing many new regulations that better protect employees in the workplace (alongside a cultural shift in the business world placing a much greater focus on health and safety).
This cultural shift and increased regulation mean managing the health and safety of employees for many businesses has also become a much more complicated task. With health and safety now being such a complex and ongoing responsibility, most businesses require some of level of software to effectively manage their health and safety responsibilities in relation to the workforce.
However, having health and safety software is just beginning, as an ongoing concern your HR department needs to be constantly managing such a system to provide a safe work environment for employees, with this in mind here are some top-notch safety management software tips to meet your workplace health and safety key responsibilities.
Deploy automation to increase efficiency
Automation is often one of the most underutilised components of any modern health and safety software package. When such systems are properly automated, your health and safety software should help make you’re overall environmental, much more efficient (reduced manual input) and reduce risk. What can you automate? There are three key components you should look at partially or nearly fully automating in your software package to gain the most out of automation in your health and safety software.
To mitigate incidents, you can apply risk parameters and integrate them into the system such that certain systemic events alert your team of rising risk before an incident can happen. Over some time you can create risk management templates to further hasten your risk detection capability and avoid accidents before they happen. You can use If This Then That (IFTTT) protocols or similar alternatives to make this happen or find a health and safety software package offering such level of automation out of the box.
You can set the system up to set and centralize incident management records, so you can automatically generate reports you can share with your investigative committee, team, insurance company or regulatory agencies such as HSE and OSHA (significantly cutting down on emails and making sure human error is eliminated.
Along with setting up automatic compliance deadlines’ alerts, you can also set up alerts to remind the entire HS team or EHS manager of an upcoming health and safety training event—for example, as part of a continuous, organisation-wide safety management training program.
Increase employee feedback and reduce risk
As many as 43% of employees want to give feedback to their company’s EHS team, according to a 2017 Group study. However, as many as 45% are not comfortable about providing that feedback out in the open, not even to their peers let alone their superiors.
Health and safety software can help solve this challenge by being set up to enable employees to provide information on occupational health challenges anonymously. This allows the organisation to monitor and deal with widespread health and safety concerns across their organisation (such systems can include added fields such as department or brand to further refine where an issue is occurring, without compromising employee anonymity).
Integrate with other software packages to streamline operations
Any modern organisation in the UK with a small, medium or large workforce is likely at the very least to be operating multiple software packages on top of a range of databases (excel or otherwise) at a minimum.
Proper integration with other software packages (i.e. HR software, payroll software, accounting software…) is critical for many processes across an organisation both in terms of measurement and efficiency, for instance; when a serious incident report is filed for an event that has temporarily incapacitated an employee. This information needs to be shared with the main HR system so the appropriate action can quickly be taken by the HR team (registering paid leave…), possibly the legal team (to explore liability issues) and certain decision makers (depending the seriousness of the incident and risk associated).
The most important software integration is with human resources management software package where a lot of different types of data and actions will need to be shared (unless HS is already a module).
Deploying health and safety software effectively
Beyond assessing and choosing an HS software package and proper deployment of that package is critical to fulfilling the required role of the health and safety department in any business; if done correctly it can also massively reduce risk, increase efficiency, open up lines of communication and overall make any business a much safer place for employees (whilst reducing business risk).
Subscribe for entrepreneurial & small business advice
Subscribe to our newsletter for advice and insights on starting, managing and growing a small business in the UK.
On a final make sure the software you’ve chosen/ have meets current and future legal requirements. There have been significant changes with the ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems guidelines coming into force recently.