In a recent conference, I listened to Todd Hirsch speak about “Spiders in Space.” He spoke about how spiders that were brought into space eventually adapted to zero gravity and were able to create a web to catch a fly and survive. He then spoke about people and companies who have seen success by adapting to a changing environment. His session has stuck with me, as I am seeing the health & safety practice go through its largest adaptation in decades: the move from paper to software and mobile based solutions.
If you are a progressive leader who is constantly searching for the next program or process to streamline your Health and Safety Management System, you likely fit the mold of Todd Hirsh’s “Spiders in Space.” As a Health & Safety Auditor, I see technology simplifying and improving Health and Safety Management systems every day. I can easily say that, because when it comes to monitoring all aspects of a management system for the purposes of accountability, tracking & trending, and driving employee participation, technology has revolutionized the practice.
In particular, mobile technologies are proving to enhance a worker’s experience with Health and Safety Management systems. The convenience of submitting an incident report, hazard ID, or inspection on your phone is unparalleled, thereby encouraging further worker participation.
Where does this leave you in the equation? Are you pushing senior management to support a move in this direction? Are you already using a sophisticated software to manage your Health & Safety Management System processes? Or are you a practitioner who refuses to change? I am a heavy supporter of technology in Health and Safety. The positive outcomes of companies who effectively use technology to run their Health & Safety Management Systems are numerous. To name a few:
• Increased ability to supervise, mentor, and coach staff due to time savings and efficiencies,
• Holding management, supervisors and workers accountable to defined responsibilities through KPI reporting,
• Compilation and centralization of outstanding corrective actions resulting from inspections, audits, incidents, hazard reporting, meetings, employee feedback, etc.
• Accountability for corrective action completion, with timely completion of corrective actions as a result,
• Ease of information trending, resulting in ability to proactively act on identified issues,
• Orientation, training, and competency tracking,
• Mobile access to the Health and Safety program information and forms, and
• Ease of participation for all employees.
As technology in the Health and Safety space continues to evolve, the solutions being offered are becoming more robust every year. My “Spider in Space” recommendation to all clients and peers I deal with is: Adapt! Don’t be satisfied with the same old, same old. Explore technology to help your management system evolve, and become a true leader in Health and Safety.
Cam Mitchell, CRSP