Improving incident management practices isn’t always easy. Although it is of high importance, often staff members don’t want to spend time learning about incident management. Let’s face it – it’s pretty boring for them. However, in the event of an incident or emergency, they need to know exactly what to do.
As a manager who oversees people it’s important to have a grasp on incident management best practices. This way, you can spread knowledge within your team and ensure that you are always complying with your legal and moral duties.
We’re rounding up some of the incident management best practices that every business should be aware of.
What is incident management?
Incident management refers to how a company or team responds to an incident. An incident could mean a variety of different things to different businesses, but what is important is that each business has clearly defined understanding of possible incidents and has clear instructions on how to manage them.
Without incident management practices in place, businesses can be liable in the event of an incident. Incident management helps to mitigate the disruption caused by an incident and reduce harm when an incident occurs. It allows businesses to continue business as usual whilst also maintaining their obligations to their employees and the public.
The stages of incident management can be defined in simple terms as identifying, analysing, reporting, correcting and managing hazards. The goal of incident management is to effectively report incidents and ensure that the risk of a potential incident is minimised in the future.
Why do businesses need incident management practices?
Businesses need incident management in order to protect their reputation, their employees and comply with their legal obligations. The WHS Act requires that employers notify the regulator of certain types of workplace incidents depending on how serious they are.
This measure is in place to protect employees and businesses from putting a foot wrong, and to ensure that every safety incident at work is fully reported. Depending on how serious the incident, a business may be required to preserve the incident site. However, this will be relayed to the business via the regulator once they report an incident.
The important thing to remember from a businesses’ point of view is to ensure that all relevant staff understand the incident reporting guidelines and are able to carry them out on behalf of your business. This is where cloud-based workplace training and incident management reporting systems are extremely beneficial.
Incident Management best practices
Train staff to report incidents as first responders
This tip relies upon training having already been completed before the point of an incident. In short, the first responder needs to have already had sufficient training in how to respond to an incident.
A comprehensive ‘first responder’ E-Form on an online incident reporting system can help with this, and urge the first responder to take the right steps. With Beakon, all incidents that are reported will work through a built-in Risk Matrix and prompting questions to assess the incident effectively. Prior to the incident happening, it is essential that the first responder has already been briefed on the process of incident reporting.
Investigate the incident
It is best practice to investigate any incident that occurs in your workplace. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the incident has to be reported to a higher body, but it means that your business needs to report and investigate all incidents internally.
It is key that you assign mandatory investigations based on risk level, looking at things like why the incident occured, the root cause and Contributing Factor Analysis. It is also important that you review investigations for quality and accuracy before being released for action.
Analyse the incident and report to a regulator if necessary
In some cases the incident report will need to be escalated. In order to do this properly, you will need to analyse the incident and assess its seriousness and risk level.
An incident management platform means you will be reminded to escalate the incident report automatically based on your business rules. The complex administration of compliance can be tricky to master, but with a platform that embeds your Health & Safety framework, business rules, and industry and legislative requirements within it, you can rest assured that you are protected.
Record corrective actions
After an incident occurs, a company is required to take corrective actions to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. In order to do this, you may want to invest in a digital platform that allows you to create an online paper trace that can’t go missing. Providing corrective actions and showing how you are minimising risk is an essential part of compliance, and a best practice that should not be forgotten about.
Create a return to work program
When someone has been involved in an incident, it is a requirement that you support them in their return to work. Incidents involving an injury will mean that the individual will likely need time off, and may have special requirements when they return.
It is best practice to ensure that the returning employee’s needs are met, and that regular meetings are hosted to see how they are getting on.
Incident Management software that helps keep your business compliant
Incident management software helps to keep your business compliant and ensure that employees are protected. It is not simply about reporting an incident. A business must also be aware of the incident management that needs to occur in order to continually evolve and minimise incidents.
At present, we’re offering a free trial so that you can see how incident management works with Beakon software. Sign up now!
It can be easy for companies to think that health and safety legislation, or OHS as it’s also known, isn’t relevant to them. However, Occupational Health and Safety needs to be a top priority for all Australian companies of any size. Whether you work with 2 people or 200 people, ensuring that they are safe and well cared for on the job is an ethical, moral and legal responsibility.
As an employer, you have a duty of care to provide to your people. This means that things like reporting incidents, reducing workers risks and ensuring that adequate safety training is undertaken is essential as a legal requirement.
To help you understand what OHS entails, we’re looking at the key aspects of health and safety legislation that you need to know about.
Duty of Care
A business has a duty of care to ensure the health and safety of those at the business is not compromised. This means that no employee, contractor or visitor should be put at risk as a result of the activities of the business. As you can imagine, in high risk sectors this can be hard, however it is essential that employers are consistently assessing the work environment to minimise risk and abide by their duty of care to individuals.
Under duty of care there are regulations that ensure it is fair for both employers and employees. Ensuring health and safety in terms of the duty of care means eliminating risks as is “reasonably practical”. Duty of care means that employers need to be duly aware of risks and be seeking to minimise them. For more information on the obligations associated with each risk type, you can head to the WHS regulations to understand how you can comply with your duty of care.
Working with other duty of care holders
As someone who holds a position of responsibility within a company in terms of OHS, it is essential that you consult and coordinate with other duty holders. WHS regulations dictate that more than one person can have the same duty and therefore they will need to consult one another to ensure that they retain that duty and manage it effectively together.
So far as is reasonably practical, duty holders must “consult, cooperate and coordinate” with another business over the safety of a worker. This continues up until the point that there are limits on their influence or control of the situation.
Consulting with workers
The WHS act dictates that where practical, employees must consult workers on health and safety risks as they arise. This consultation process should take into account their thoughts and feelings on the matter as well as sharing vital information that will keep them safe.
This rule goes not only for direct employees but also contractors and labour hire employees too. A Learning Management System can provide an effective way to communicate with employees and contractors regarding health and safety.
Due diligence features in the Work Health and Safety Regulation in order to ensure that individuals keep up a company’s end of the bargain when it comes to health and safety.
While a company may have duties and responsibilities overall, there are also obligations that individuals must abide by in order to be compliant with “due diligence”. This part of the WHS ensures that individuals must do everything in their power, where reasonably possible to ensure that health and safety regulations are upheld. If individuals do not show “due diligence” then they may be personally responsible.
Safety And Compliance Software That Keeps You On Track
With safety regulations that must be respected and legal requirements that must be met, it is essential that businesses find the right systems to maintain compliance. These software systems could include learning management systems, incident reporting systems and safety management software.
With compliance software, companies find it much easier to stay on track with the health and safety legislation that must be met. Plus, with a digital trace, companies are able to protect themselves and better understand how their people are tracking in terms of health and safety. If you think your company could benefit from better health and safety management, why not contact Beakon to sign up for a free trial?
One of the questions we are so often asked about health and safety software, is whether it will save the business money.
On the surface, it can look like health and safety software is an added cost as opposed to something that could save your business money. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Health and safety software can save your businesses huge amounts in insurance, injury claims and compliance costs, which can not only hurt your business financially but in terms of reputation damage too. Discover why health and safety software can be one of the best ways to save money, and ensure that you have the best practices in place as your business grows.
Here’s some of the ways health and safety software will help you save money:
Improve how your business responds
One of the main costs associated with health and safety that set people back are the response times and how the business responds to an incident.
These are the areas where mistakes can be made, incidents can be left unreported and ultimately the business can be liable. A significant amount of time and money can be saved by implementing more effective safety management and incident reporting systems that help you stay on top of everything that is going on within your business.
Your business could save money with these systems by improving the response time, minimising clean up, encouraging a faster return to normal productivity and preventing the need to replace damaged equipment.
Safety systems that help you set out how employees and contractors should respond to an incident can significantly improve emergency response time, which in turn saves money.
One of the main ways that businesses lose money when it comes to health and safety is when they don’t comply with rules and regulations and end up being fined.
Compliance is crucial to reducing fines and ensuring that things are done the right way on your site or project. With health and safety software in place employees are aware of the guidelines and have an easy to read guide on hand on their mobile or tablet. This helps to minimise error on the businesses behalf and means that your teams can identify and communicate with the right person when unsure of what to do.
In this regard, the compliance goal becomes much easier to achieve and maintain, which reduces the likelihood of any penalties that can add up in the long run.
Reduce costs associated with accidents and incidents
The cost of having an incident occur on your site can be shockingly high. Correcting mistakes, paying fines, or paying out to compensate staff who are injured on your site can make a huge dent in your profits and in some extreme cases even put you out of business.
Having safety management software in place helps to reduce costs associated with accidents in two ways:
Reduces the likelihood of the accidents
The best way to avoid having to pay out for accidents is to avoid having them in the first place. Health and safety software helps your business do just that by ensuring that measures are in place to reduce the risk of an incident.
Ensures you are doing everything correct if something does happen
Sometimes accidents are just unavoidable, and in these moments health and safety ensures that you are covered and have done everything you can do reduce them and report them if they do happen.
Save on reputation costs with health and safety software
The immediate costs of an incident on your site are obvious – compensation costs, costs of temporary workers, sick leave costs, insurance premiums – the list goes on.
However, some of the costs that are caused by an incident are hidden. Included in these costs are things like reputation damage and team morale that can cause issues.
If your company reputation is damaged you may find it hard to generate new business, or keep your clients if they don’t trust that your business is operating safely. This is especially true in a small business scenario, where many clients may know each other, or your story may feature in the local news.
Your reputation both internally and externally can have a huge effect on your profits. People need to trust your organisation both from within and without in order for you to continue doing good business, and a health and safety system helps solidify that.
Reduce Insurance Costs when you have health and safety software
Another important and often overlooked cost-saving of health and safety systems can be lower insurance premiums.
When a business is able to show that they are compliant and have measures in place to reduce incidents, they will often see a drop in their insurance premiums.
Plus, you will also benefit from a lower rate of injuries and incidents on your site, which will help you in lowering your premium. In having less incidents, and dealing with them correctly when they do happen so that perhaps you don’t have to claim as frequently will ensure that your risk is lower.
This often results in cost savings through lower insurance premiums.
Contractor management software: Why does your business need it?
Contractor management software is an integral part of managing any company that interacts with contractors. Whatever your business does, if you work with contractors, using a contractor management system will enable you to get a handle on those operations.
Whatever contractors you use – from plumbers, to carpenters, to paving experts – you’ll be able to keep on top of their work a lot more effectively with proper software.
The advantages of contractor management software
Contractor management software has many advantages, as it consolidates all contractor data into one system. This helps to protect your business and keep contractors compliant, as well as allowing you to automate processes and ensure that all contractors across your company are adhering to the same rules and regulations.
With contractor management systems, your business will be able to access a range of new tools that will keep your contractors on track and make the management of their projects safer, more enjoyable, and more productive too.
Here’s why your company needs contractor management software…
1. Onboard your contractors effectively
When you start working with contractors you need to be able to onboard them quickly and effectively so that they can start work safely. Contractor management solutions allow you to onboard contractors and communicate with them to perform automated activities.
This significantly cuts down the admin time, and means that your Facilities Management team only needs to press a button and then chase the contractors for their information. This information then gets held in one complete database which is safer and more compliant than paper based methods.
2. Engage contractors in the contractor management system
One of the main benefits of a contractor management system is that you can engage contractors in the process and provide them with resources and training to help them understand the software.
A robust contractor management system will include training and onboarding contractors on all aspects of the software and program, including registering and uploading contractor company information (insurance, W9 information, etc.), checking in/out using our GPS check in/Out or IVR telephone system, submitting electronic proposals and invoices, and adhering to all of your organization’s specific procedures.
3. Avoid costly mistakes with contractor records
Contractor management software keeps track of contractors details so that you know who is qualified and insured to do each role. This helps businesses avoid costly mistakes, and also keeps everyone safe on the job.
It helps you remain compliant as a business by validating that contractors have the correct and up to date insurance and licenses.
4. Improve the productivity of your team
Contractor management solutions help to save time and streamline the process of contractor management. Your facilities management team will have a lot more time on their hands once the basic paperwork is taken care of by automated systems, and they are able to use data and insights from their management system to pick the best contractors for each job.
With a solid database of compliant contractors on hand, your team will be a lot more productive.
Any dangerous incidents, fatalities, injuries or illnesses in the workplace can be of serious detriment to your business. The health and safety of workers needs to be protected as a priority, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it is the law. As a business owner it is important to know what to do if someone is injured.
Get familiar with OSHA and what constitutes a reportable injury in our handy article…
What is OSHA?
OSHA stands for Occupational Health Services Australia, a large regulatory agency that governs safety procedures in Australia. Employers in higher-risk industries and those with employees are obliged to abide by OSHA recordkeeping requirements. The OSH Act places certain duties on employers, employees and self-employed people in order to protect the health of safety of everyone.
There is often a level of confusion around these requirements, particularly when discussing OSHArecordable vs reportable events. This is partly due to the fact that not all recordable events are reportable.
What should and shouldn’t be reported as part of OSHA?
In order to clarify these murky waters, here’s a brief overview of OSHA record-keeping requirements, with regards to recordable vs reportable events.
Work related deaths and certain types of injuries must be reported to WorkSafe as a legal requirement. Reportable injuries need to be reported to SafeWork via an online form or phone call immediately following a major incident.
“OSHA record keeping requirements define a reportable injury or illness as any of the following:
a fracture of the skull, spine or pelvis;
a fracture of any bone in the arm (other than in the wrists or hand) or in the leg (other than a bone in the ankle or foot);
an amputation of an arm, a hand, finger, finger joint, leg, foot, toe or toe joint;
the loss of sight of an eye; and
any injury other than the above which, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, is likely to prevent the employee from being able to work within 10 days of the day on which the injury occurred.”
“Types of diseases that must be reported are:
infectious diseases: tuberculosis, viral hepatitis, Legionnaires’ disease and HIV, where these diseases are contracted during work involving exposure to human blood products, body secretions, excretions or other material which may be a source of infection; and
occupational zoonoses: Q fever, anthrax, leptospirosis and brucellosis, where these diseases are contracted during work involving the handling of, or contact with, animals, animal hides, skins, wool, hair, carcasses or animal waste products”.
Written notification must be submitted within 48 hours if requested by the regulator.
The incident site is preserved until an inspector arrives or directs otherwise. However this doesn’t prevent any action to help an injured person or make the site safe”.
What Are Recordable Events?
Any incident in the workplace should be recorded, however not all incidents or injuries need to be reported to OSHA.
There is some overlap between recordable vs reportable events, as a company should keep a record of all injuries at work. If OSHA requirements define a work-related health incident as reportable, it is also recordable. However, recordable events can constitute any injury, even those only requiring first aid.
Whose responsibility is it?
Ultimately, it is the business owner who is responsible for record-keeping. But it is essential that the unit manager/authority on site knows what to do and how to report the incident upwards.
Employers must keep their incident records for a minimum of five years. Also, between February and April, they are required to post summaries of injuries from the previous year. Moreover, if requested to do so, an employer must provide copies of injury/illness summaries to current and former employees.
How can incidents be reported?
It can be difficult to comply with OSHA record-keeping requirements. Especially in the chaotic environment surrounding a serious injury or fatality, paperwork is often the last thing on your mind. All attention is given to the employees and their families. And with the less extreme cases, paperwork can easily be put off and forgotten, or left long enough for any accurate recording to be done.
Thankfully, Beakon’sIncident Management software can provide an essential solution. Developed in partnership with leading multinational organisations, Beakon’s system can be configured to report, investigate, analyse and proactively action issues across all work disciplines. These include fields in safety, environment, quality assurance, product quality and business management.
When it comes to occupational health and safety management, there can be no room for error. That’s why when you pick a safety management software it’s important that it’s the right fit for your business.
With the right safety management software your business will be able to safely manage risk, remain compliant and have time to focus on the other important elements of running your business.
To help you decide which safety management software to choose, here’s the things to look for in OHS software:
What Does OHS Software Need To Have?
Ensure that your OHS software can be customised
Every business is different, and therefore each safety management solution should be slightly different. Ensure that you can customise the software, as well as checking that the following essentials will be covered on the platform:
Job safety assessments
Training and inductions
Look for a data checking function
An effective OHS system will be able to sift through your data and ensure its accuracy. Doing this manually can be very time consuming and not entirely accurate, so working with software that can check your data and automatically validate your records is essential.
This kind of data management aspect of safety management software also ensures that you remain compliant and are working in line with GDPR. Holding outdated records, or those records that have not been consented to can have serious consequences.
The benefits of investing in mobile software over desktop or paper-based systems are vast, but in general mobile software is safer, it allows open communication and real-time insights, and also allows remote working, which in the current climate is more important than ever.
Look for occupational health and safety management software that has been recommended and has customer success stories attached to it.
Some of the important things to look for are:
Do you know anyone who has used it or recommends it?
Does the company have experience of working with businesses of all sizes across a wide range of industries?
Do you trust the customer service? What do reviews say about it?
Has the company received any industry awards for its customer service or products?
Being cost-effective is one of the most important aspects of choosing an OHS software system. You have to ensure that you are spending on a platform that can give you all that you need, at a cost that is reasonable. However, that doesn’t always mean you should opt for the cheapest option, it is about value for money over the cheapest solution.
You may also like to think about the cost savings you could make vs the outgoing cost. Remember also that not having an effective OHS system in place will cost reputation damage as well as financial.
Look for the option of scalability within your OHS software system as the requirements of your business might change over a period of time. Many businesses are now choosing cloud-based safety management software solutions so that their software can grow and evolve as the business does. Cloud-based software is highly scalable and can keep up with your business needs as you grow.
Are You Looking For A Safety Management Solution?
Beakon’s fully customisable Safety Management software offers a digital solution to safety management.
QR codes have had a new lease of life in 2020, as many businesses have had to monitor and record every visitor due to COVID-19. QR codes have been essential in managing the people that we allow on our premises throughout 2020, but many businesses were also using them prior to COVID in order to carry out effective visitor management.
QR codes can be exceptionally helpful in managing visitors and contractors onto a site, and help to manage the flow of traffic that can sometimes become tricky for one person to manage. Take a look at how QR codes are proving themselves essential to visitor management in 2020.
What Are QR Codes?
A QR code can be defined as “a machine-readable code consisting of an array of black and white squares, typically used for storing URLs or other information for reading by the camera on a smartphone”.
They are a relatively new technology that is essentially a machine-readable label that can be scanned and holds information about the thing that it corresponds to. It is a great way to communicate and hold information in a tiny label.
Why Were QR Codes Created?
QR codes originated in 1994 in Japan, and were originally created to work within the automotive industry. The word QR code is short for Quick Response – and this is why QR codes were created – to be able to respond quickly in carrying information from one device to another.
They were created to aid the manufacturing process when building cars, as QR codes enabled high speed component tracking. Nowadays, they are still used in a similar manner in order to share information, however their use has been transferred across many industries.
How Do QR Codes Help With Visitor Management?
QR are now essential to visitor management for an array of reasons. These can be defined as:
They Make The Sign In Process Seamless
The issue with traditional visitor management with a pen and paper isn’t that it doesn’t work – it does when it’s completed correctly. However, one of the main issues with paper-based systems is that they rely on human brain power to ensure that the sign in is completed and then stored.
QR codes take stress out of the sign in process and make it easy for visitors to sign in as soon as they get on site. In a post-COVID world, pretty much everyone is ready to sign in wherever they go, and when people see a QR code they are already familiar with the QR code process.
They Allow People To Self Check In
Your employees will benefit from allowing people to self check in and not having to monitor visitors coming in and out themselves. The QR code process means that a visitor is able to fill in the contact form themselves, which frees up your staff’s time.
They Move Visitor Details Online
There is nothing worse than having a paper based system and losing track of visitor details. This is especially true in the time of COVID, when it is a legal requirement to keep visitor data safe. With QR codes, the information is stored and saved digitally so that you never have to worry about misplacing your visitor information.
They Can Be Used For A Contactless Sign In
QR codes are very helpful for ensuring a safe visitor sign in from a social distancing point of view. With QR codes, the visitor needn’t come into contact with a staff member and can fill in their details easily. This means your team has one less thing to worry about when managing a project.
They Enable Pre-screening Questions
QR codes allow you to add pre-screening questions when someone leaves their details. This means that all information is stored digitally instead of manually and doesn’t rely on someone having to ask the awkward questions of how well someone has been feeling. The person simply fills it in on their phone without having to share personal information.
Occupational health and safety (OHS) management is a top priority for Australian companies of all sizes and in all sectors. Reporting serious incidents is a legal obligation, and reducing workers’ risks is an ethical, moral and legal prerogative for all organisations. That why more companies than ever before are actively looking at ways to improve their own occupational health and safety management system, or to implement one if they have no current provisions in place.
Occupational health and safety (OHS) management systems vary widely between companies. Some businesses take an entirely paper-based approach with clipboards and files, while other firms invest in occupational health and safety management software to ensure that they have the best provisions possible. As occupational health and safety management provisions vary so widely between different companies, comparing them can be a challenge.
OHS management is a process of continual improvement and refinement. Even businesses with strong reputations for good occupational health and safety (OHS) management practices are constantly improving what they do. So how do you know that your organization has the very best system possible?
One approach is to judge any occupational health and safety (OHS) management based on its key components.
So what are they?
In this post, we’ll explore the 8 key components of occupational health and safety (OHS) management systems.
The first key component of any occupational health and safety (OHS) management system is planning. Whether you use a paper-based ‘Safety Statement’ or dedicated occupational health and safety (OHS) management software, planning should be front and centre of everything you do.
Planning is essential if you want to ensure that your organization stays abreast of all current Australian occupational health and safety rules and regulations.
This includes things like:
Planning how to prevent accidents and illnesses
Planning for practices, resources, and procedures for your OHS policy.
Planning when to review your OHS policy
Planning should be a key component of every OHS management system because it gives offers a clear overview of associated OHS costs and helps you manage risks with confidence.
2. Incident reporting
The second key component of occupational health and safety management systems is incident reporting.
An OHS system should be accessible to all members of an organization, from senior management down to junior employees, so that they can report incidents in a timely manner.
Most commonly, organizations use paper-based reporting forms such as incident forms. However, many firms are increasingly turning to cloud-based software, where all documents and files are stored remotely on servers.
With cloud-based software, employees can use any internet-enabled device (desktop, mobile, iOS, or Android) to create, save and access their organization’s OHS documents.
Incident reporting means that employees can:
Report accidents and injuries.
Report hazards and risks.
Receive reminders to complete certain tasks
Review completed risks, hazards and incident forms (if they have permission).
Incident reporting also helps senior management and key stakeholders, too.
At the highest levels, incident reporting helps in the following ways:
Notify stakeholders about reported accidents, incidents and injuries.
Generate reports from the filed incident and risk reports.
Communicate directly with staff to delegate duties and responsibilities.
Review training received by staff.
Ensure compliance and improve consistency across multiple premises.
Streamline and standardize OHS practices.
Determine cost-effective solutions.
That’s why incident reporting is the second key component of OHS management systems.
3. User-friendly interface
The third key component of occupational health and safety management systems is that they have a clear, user-friendly interface.
An ‘Interface’ is any way that an end-user (such as an employee) interacts with a system or software. It could be through a computer screen or just the layout of a form they need to complete, such as an incident reporting form.
Even if you have an entirely paper-based approach to occupational health and safety management, with paper incident report forms, you still need to think about how user-friendly the form is.
You might ask questions such as:
Can employees easily understand what’s required?
Are the instructions clear and unambiguous?
Have the employees been trained to use the form?
Having a user-friendly interface is important for every type of occupational health and safety management system, but it’s especially important if you’re using or planning to invest in occupational health and safety management system software.
With a software-based occupational health and safety management system, the interface needs to be clear, simple and intuitive so that staff members have no problems interacting with it every time they access it.
Whether they access it via a web browser or through an app, the interface should help them do whatever they need to.
Key tasks include:
Creating incident reports
Conducting a risk assessment (safety walkthrough)
Viewing stored documents
Viewing employee OHS training records (likely for managers).
User-friendly should be a key component of any decent Occupational health and safety management system.
The fourth key component of any occupational health and safety management system is training. Without training, your organization’s OHS system won’t run smoothly, no matter how much you invest in OHS software.
Poorly trained staff can put an organization at risk; they may miss dangers, fail to report incidents and even act in ways that endanger themselves, their colleague or the general public.
Well-trained employees, on the other hand, know exactly how to use their organization’s OHS system and become part of their organization’s OHS processes.
They become an asset to their organization and can help make their workplace safer and more secure.
At a basic level, all staff members should be trained to use whichever system their organization has in place.
They should know how to:
Create incident report forms
Save or file the completed forms
Implement actionable tasks (assigned by managers)
Configure the software to suit their personal preferences (if using OHS management software)
Training helps ensure that all staff members know exactly how to perform basic duties such as creating and submitting incident reports if they witness an accident. Depending on the processes you have in place, this may mean hand-writing a form and submitting it to a supervisor, or it may mean accessing software through a desktop or mobile device and then creating a submitting a form through the software.
Good staff training will help increase staff engagement levels and this will greatly support an organizations’ ability to meet its OHS goals.
However, training is also important for managers and key stakeholders. Senior staff should know how to do things like:
Conduct trend analysis
Reports help organizations use data to understand the cause of incidents, their frequency, and their associated costs. This gives key stakeholders the data necessary to reduce the chance of repeat incidents occurring. This helps an organization create a safe workspace for its staff and manage risks with a greater degree of confidence.
5. Risk assessments
The fifth key component of occupational health and safety management systems is risk assessments. This means that the system should help the organization’s senior management conduct risk assessments and decide on an appropriate course of action.
Risk assessments entail far more manual work for staff if the organization uses a paper-based OHS system. For companies that use occupational health and safety management system software, much of this work is automated.
Management can view all hazards, risk, incidents and injury reports as they are filed in real-time. The software then processes this data and creates reports that can be used to create a risk assessment or develop a further course of action.
This dramatically reduces the time that staff members need to spend on admin and can increase the accuracy of the reports.
For example, with root cause analysis, the software may identify that a number of accidents are occurring in a certain section of an organization’s premises. The software will then alert management to conduct risk assessments of this area and prompt them to carry out regular safety checks.
The software helps managers to classify and manage incidents across their entire business and apply cost-efficient strategies that help manage and minimize workplace risk.
The sixth key component of any occupational health and safety management system is certification. The system should be certified by a trusted third party to ensure that it is fit for purpose.
Having a strong occupational health and safety management system helps an organization build confidence among its staff and customers.
To validate what they are doing, some organizations apply for certifications such as the AS/NZS 4801 and/or OHSAS 18001 certifications.
Certifications show staff and the public that an organization is committed to workplace safety. It helps prove that you are setting up, or improving, your procedures for managing your occupational health and safety risks.
Having a formal certification can offer a whole host of knock-on benefits such as improved staff retention, consumer confidence, and greater productivity. Ultimately, this helps boost an organization’s bottom line.
The seventh key component of OHS management systems is communication. The system must help staff communicate with each other and help the organization foster communication.
Why is communication critical?
Employees must be kept up-to-date with their tasks.
They must be able to communicate and share information with their colleagues and managers.
Key stakeholders must be able to communicate with managers and staff to help them follow their vision for the company.
But communication helps in other ways, too.
With good communication, staff can be made aware of any changes made to any document or file.
8. Data accessibility
The eighth key component of OHS management systems is data accessibility. Every OHS system generates significant amounts of data and the goal of the management system should be to share and make use of that.
For companies using a paper-based OHS management system, data accessibility could be as simple as knowing which filing cabinet incident reports are stored so that staff can find them when required.
For medium-sized and large firms, especially those with multiple premises, data accessibility can become more challenging. That’s why many make the shift to cloud-based OHS management software.
Digitizing OHS documents helps companies create what’s known as a ‘connected processes’ model. This makes data accessibility a breeze as any member of an organization can access documents from the cloud instead of having to search for paper documents. The connected processes model means that the software can address an organization’s OHS management needs by having different pieces of data talk to each other.
So, how does this work?
Let’s say that an employee creates and files an incident report. In a company using a paper-based approach, the onus would be on the staff to notify senior management. With a cloud-based software approach, all relevant managers and stakeholders would be immediately notified.
Now that you’ve seen the 8 key components of occupational health and management systems you’ll be well placed to consider which solution best meets the needs of your organization.
There’s no single ‘best’ solution for every business as each organization has its own unique needs and requirements.
Whatever stage of the process you are at, whether you currently have now OHS management system in place and are looking to start, or you already have one and are looking to shift from a paper-based system to an electronic one, the system you arrive at should contain the 8 key components we discussed above.
Contact us today to find out how Beakon software can help your organization achieve its goals for a safe and secure workplace.
Did you know that according to Safe Work Australia estimates, over the past decade more than 2,500 Australian workers have been killed while working? Many more workers have been injured or left disabled due to workplace accidents. That’s why companies of all sizes and in all sectors are keen to reduce their workers’ risks and put a robust occupational health and safety management system in place.
If your organization is committed to workplace safety, you’ve probably heard of OHS management systems before.
Whether you currently have no measures in place or just want to improve your existing OHS system, you may be wondering:
“What are the benefits of an OHS management system?”
That’s exactly the question we’ll aim to answer in this post. We promise to show you the exact benefits that OHS management systems offer and demonstrate how they can help you manage health and safety risks at your organization.
The top 10 benefits of an occupational health and safety management system are:
Improved health and safety performance
Reduced cost associated with accidents and incidents
Improved staff relations and morale
Improve business efficiency
Improved public image and PR
Lower insurance premiums
Easier access to finance
Increased regulatory compliance
Boost corporate and social responsibility
So, grab a coffee and clear your schedule for five minutes to join us as we explore these ten exciting benefits of OHS management systems!
1. Improved health and safety performance
There’s absolutely no doubt that adopting a systematic approach to OHS management and using a specific system WILL make managing your business easier!
Having a proper system in place will make your OHS management strategies much more effective.
All of your employees will have a clear understanding of how to handle key activities, whether it’s reporting an incident, responding to an issue, or working through a problem.
When every worker is clear about the precise protocol to follow and everyone uses the same approach every time, your organization’s OHS performance will improve.
With the right OHS management system in place, your organization will have a clear overview of every OHS-related activity that happens on your premises. You’ll have a clear, agreed-upon record of what happened, how it was responded to and what further actions were taken.
2. Reduced cost associated with accidents and incidents
If your organization currently has no OHS management system in place, you’ll be painfully aware of how expensive it can be to correct mistakes and problems.
You see, without a system to track and monitor accidents and incidents, you have no formula for reducing the risks faced by your employees.
Every time an accident occurs, your business will be on the back foot, at the mercy of the consequences.
Staff compensation claims that push up your insurance premiums
The cost of hiring temporary staff to plug gaps in your workforce while the injured workers recover.
But there are other indirect costs too.
Your workforce is your business’ greatest asset: each accident and incident WILL dent staff morale.
When workers feel that their employer doesn’t take OHS management seriously, they’ll be less likely to engage with their work.
If nothing else gets your attention, consider how low productivity will affect your organization’s bottom line. Not a pretty picture, right?
A formal OHS management system will help reduce the likelihood of incidents and accidents from occurring and this will, in turn, lower your organization’s costs of dealing with them.
3. Improved staff relations and morale
The third benefit of OHS management systems is that they increase employee satisfaction and help to improve staff relations and morale.
If your organization currently has no OHS management system in place, you may kid yourself into thinking that members of staff haven’t noticed.
But they probably have!
Employees will notice whether their managers are taking a genuine interest in their health and safety.
They may not articulate it, but you’ll notice it in their engagement levels and their on-the-job behaviour.
At one extreme, organizations with no OHS management system in place may see employees engaging in unsafe behaviour on the job, either intentionally or unintentionally. Without a solid safety culture, employee may put their own safety or the safety of others at risk.
All of this changes when a company invests in an OHS management system. Employees will start to feel more comfortable and secure as they’ll have a set of clear OHS practices in place. After completing their training, they’ll know the exact guidelines to follow in any situation, helping them gain confidence while at work.
When you start implementing an OHS management system, you’ll notice that workers’ productivity and morale will improve, employee retention rates will increase and your organization’s growth will rise.
4. Improve business efficiency
Implementing an OHS management system is one of the best ways to improve the efficiency of your business.
Because it reduces your costs almost across the board.
An OHS management system can help you:
Reduce the number of sick and ill days that your staff take
Lower the number of temporary workers you need to hire
Lower insurance premiums
Increase staff morale and productivity
Improve staff retention rates
Reduce training costs (for new and temporary staff)
Improved efficiency SHOULD be a strong incentive for taking action and an OHS management system offers unbeatable advantages compared with having no system or one of limited effectiveness.
A strong OHS management system helps drive down costs in almost every way.
By reducing risk, you’ll have a lower accident and injury rate, helping you avoid the cost of hiring and training temporary workers and having to replace or repair damaged property and equipment.
With fewer accidents to investigate, OHS management systems also reduce the cost of investigating accidents and help you avoid scheduled delays that you’d otherwise encounter.
In the long run, starting an OHS management system is one of the most profitable steps that any organization can take.
That’s why putting in place an OHS management system is a sensible precaution to take. It shows your employees that you value their rights to a safe and healthy working environment and have every intention of respecting this.
Over time, this can help you boost your public image, making staff hiring and retention far easier: a win-win for both you and your employees!
6. Lower insurance premiums
When most businesses start considering a formal OHS management system, one of their first considerations is cost.
While cost is certainly part of the equation, it is important to understand how the outlay is offset by cost savings.
We’ve already discussed the various ways that OHS management systems can save your organization money, such as by reducing employee turnover, lowering temporary workers’ hiring and training costs and driving down the cost of investigating accidents and incidents.
But an important and often overlooked cost-saving can be lower insurance premiums.
In today’s litigation culture, insurance premiums are mandatory, but insurers will offer lower premiums if you can demonstrate that you are effectively controlling risks to your workers on your premises.
If you can use an OHS management system to reduce injuries and illnesses by – say – 20 percent, this is valuable evidence that you can use when you come to renew your premiums. Your organization’s perceived risk is lower and this may result in cost savings through lower insurance premiums.
7. Easier access to finance
Gaining finance from banks and investors is never easy, especially in today’s challenging business climate.
But an OHS management system is an important part of proving to potential investors that your organization is well-managed.
There is strong evidence that banks and investors will be more willing to finance businesses that can show they are well managed.
With fewer accidents and injuries and a set of clear guidelines that help you respond to any incidents that occur, your company will have a healthier bottom line and an improved chance of winning investments that it may otherwise not.
8. Increased regulatory compliance
If there are two words that strike fear into the heart of most business owners, then these two may be it: ‘regulatory compliance’.
Regulations are increasingly stiff and the punishments are ever-fiercer.
For example, the model WHS Act requires that Australian businesses immediately notify their regulator whenever a ‘notifiable’ incident occurs – such as a death, serious accident or injury.
If you have no OHS management system in place, the chances of unwittingly committing an offense are quite high, whether due to negligence or human error.
A proper OHS management system will help ALL of your staff stay aware of current legal requirements. This improves your regulatory compliance and lowers the risk of you having to pay a fine.
9. Improved confidence
A comprehensive OHS management system help ensure that your staff members are more protected from a wide range of threats and health problems, such as:
Repetitive strain injuries
The effects of vibration and noise
When employees feel safe at work, they are more likely to feel confident. As we’ve discussed, this feeds through to many other areas of their work such as productivity, efficiency and retention rates.
Adopting an OHS management system is one way of building confidence that complements other actions you can take. For example, you could apply for an AS/NZS 4801 and/or OHSAS 18001 certification for your business as a way of showing staff that you are committed to workplace safety. These certifications are some of the best routes towards setting up formal procedures for managing health and safety risks.
If employees see that you are actively looking after their health and safety, relations and confidence will improve. This will lead to a more productive, more efficient workforce.
10. Boost corporate and social responsibility
According to a poll from YouGov Omnibus, almost 90 percent of Aussies believe that businesses have a responsibility to do social good. This finding suggests that Australian brands should put corporate social responsibility (CSR) at the heart of their agenda.
Having a strong OHS management system in place is an especially important part of building your brand’s appeal. Over 57 percent of those surveyed said business had a responsibility to ensure that they don’t rely on harmful labour practices such as forced labour. An OHS management policy shows that you value the physical, social and mental well-being of your employees, helping you build your public image.
CSR isn’t just about meeting stakeholder expectations, complying with laws and regulations and following international norms – it’s also about ethical behaviours such as paying attention to worker health. As we saw with Macca’s ‘bathroom-gate’, treating workers with decency and respect is a HUGE part of building brand appeal.
As a business or organization, these ten amazing benefits of adopting an OHS management system should be irresistible. Focusing on employee health and safety can have major ramifications for your business and can impact everything from your profits, to your costs and even your public image.
If you’re keen to learn more about how to put intentions into actions and start investing in your OHS management today, give us a call!
Occupational health and safety isn’t just a legal obligation; it’s a moral obligation to your employees. If you’re looking to improve safety, increase collaboration and ditch the paper, OHS software deserves to be on your radar.
The right software can help you engage with your team, improve safety compliance, drive team engagement and empower every employee in your organization to become a security expert.
In this guide, we’ll explain exactly how to choose the right OHS management system software for your organization. You’ll learn how to build a business case for investing in this type of software that will show key stakeholders exactly why it’s a good idea.
Why you need OHS Safety management software
So we all start off on the same page, let’s talk about the benefits of investing in OHS software.
When it comes to your employee’s safety, “good enough” just doesn’t cut it.
Your employees deserve the best possible safety standards at all times.
Whichever set of risks your workers face, you have a legal, moral and ethical obligation to minimize those risks as much as possible.
OHS software helps you do just that. It’s an easy-to-use safety solution that can help you conduct regular safety inspections and audits, improve safety conditions on your premises and boost staff morale.
But there’s more:
By improving staff morale, you can actually see a rise in worker’s productivity, a reduction in absenteeism and more ‘buy-in’ from your staff in terms of how they see their role within the company.
Importantly, OHS software can help your organization reduce worker’s compensation costs and avoid fines by immediately alerting your regulator about ‘notifiable incidents’.
There are hundreds of options for OHS management software out there and not all of them will work well for every business.
So, what should you do?
We’ve created a 5-step action plan that will help you answer that exact question.
Understand your current technology situation
Establish your ideal situation
Identify key elements
Select OHS software that suits your needs
Present your solution with justifications
Then let’s get right to it!
1. Understand your current technology situation
Introducing new software to any business is a serious step to take.
There’s a significant up-front investment in terms of cost and time, especially when it comes to worker training. It’s definitely not a step to be taken lightly.
That’s why your first step is to gain a deep understanding of your business’ current technology situation. There has to be a reason why OHS management software should be considered.
It could be:
Your incidents and accident rate is too high.
Your organization’s current technology no longer meets the needs of your workers.
Software would help create better regulatory alignment
If you are able to identify these insufficiencies you can show key stakeholders how OHS management software is able to cut costs, improve safety and improve the business.
2. Establish your ideal situation
Once you have a clear overview of how your current operation functions and are aware of its insufficiencies, you’ll be able to create a picture of what your ideal situation looks like.
Accidents are reported in a timely manner
All incidents are responded to promptly
Workers feel more comfortable and secure within their working environment.
You could also focus on key metrics such as the number of days between accidents, or the amount of time that a certain area gets attended to. You could mention the balance of time between each area on the premises.
3. Identify key elements
Before choosing the right OHS management software for your organization, you need to know; what are the key features and best practices that you should look for?
The three key elements to look for when choosing OHS management software are:
Let’s look at each of these elements in more detail.
The first key element you should look for when choosing the right OHS management software for your business is that it should be comprehensive; it must combine insights from every area of your organization.
Your OHS program likely consists of several moving parts such as audits, inspections, employee training, compliance, and workplace observations, besides many others.
If you invest in comprehensive OHS management software, you’ll have one system for monitoring and managing each one. This makes it quicker and easier to retrieve data about each individual component.
When you start working with comprehensive OHS management system software, the software will be able to start connecting the dots between each component.
For example, OHS software can
Flag up that a certain amount of time has elapsed between the inspections of a certain site.
Notify employees and send emails or SMS reminders to conduct critical tasks and duties such as inspections.
Reminding staff to file incident reports
Monitoring and alerting staff about incidents
Prompting staff to take follow-up action, following an incident workflow
Notifying senior management to conduct investigations and take corrective actions
Ultimately, comprehensive OHS management system software will be able to create reports that put your organization in a better position to make the right improvements at the right time.
Try as you might, you simply can’t be everywhere in your organization at once.
Even if you have a dedicated, well-resourced OHS team, they can’t be everywhere at once either!
What your field workers experience on a daily basis will be very different from what plant workers see and you can’t expect any single member of staff to be responsible for OHS management for every occurrence.
That’s why automation is the second key element to look for when choosing the right OHS management system software for your organization.
Automated OHS software can, like the name suggests, automate much of the data entry, and report generation that goes into keep tabs on the OHS system.
Why is this helpful?
This frees up your staff’s time and makes them more productive while increasing the reporting rate of the incidents that occur on your premises.
When we’re talking about automation, we’re talking about three main things:
Analysis, allocation, and tracking
These three areas account for a LOT of your staff’s time yet leading OHS management system software can actually automate much of it!
For example, software can conduct root cause analysis whenever an incident occurs to help you identify whether a pattern is occurring. If it is, the software will notify the relevant staff to alert them to this fact.
This is a great example of how automation can help you take preventative, proactive measures that improve your overall OHS operations. Automated action allocation and tracking is one of the most important ways that OHS software can save your staff time. It helps every member of your organization stay informed about the practices and procedures that they need to follow throughout a given workflow.
The software sends automated notifications to remind staff of their duties and responsibilities. This helps ensure that OHS investigations and operations are proceeding smoothly.
One of the best ways to automate analysis, allocation and tracking is to use software that comes with a health and safety app. This lets your employees download the software effortlessly onto their mobile devices. If you are curious about health and safety apps, check out our post where we show you exactly How to Choose the Right Health and Safety App for Your Organisation!
Even award-winning companies with a reputation for strong environmental health and safety (EHS) and occupation health and safety (OHS) programs are constantly looking for ways to improve.
That’s why when it comes to OHS management, there’s no time to rest on your laurels. You need to be continuously reviewing your OHS performance and finding ways to improve.
That’s why the third element to consider when choosing OHS management system software is continuous operation.
Every OHS department has its own set of KPIs – such as safety training performance, lost time due to injury, compliance, and others. The advantage of having continuous OHS management software is that it can help you decide whether you are measuring the right ones!
Continuously reviewing KPIs can help you decide when it’s time to revamp them. This can give you a more realistic view of where you’re at.
For example, if you’re focused too heavily on lagging indicators (such as time lost due to injuries) you could inadvertently create an environment where employees felt obliged to come into work when they are sick, thus worsening your safety environment.
On the other hand, placing more focus on leading indicators such as safety audits, team safety meetings and near misses, can make spotting emerging trends more difficult.
Having OHS management system software is like having an extra pair of eyes to help you understand what you’re doing in a more holistic sense and understand that there is always scope for improvement.
An understanding of the insufficiencies in your organization’s technology
A clear idea of your ‘ideal situation’
An understanding of the key elements to look for in OHS management system software.
Your next step is to match your organization’s requirements with the elements in the software.
Finding faults with an organization’s technology is simple.
What’s difficult is addressing the deficiencies with actual software.
Let’s take an example from the construction industry. Imagine one small company called Company A and a medium-sized firm Company B.
Company A currently takes a paper-based approach to OHS management. If there’s high-risk construction work going on, they use safe work method statements (SWMS) and file them as hard copies.
Sure, OHS software could help improve this situation by storing documents in the cloud and having them accessible to everyone in the organization. But what are the chances that your organization is willing to make the investment?
Are they in a position to invest in mobile devices for their staff?
Do they have sufficient size to justify the costs?
A cloud-based OHS management software may not be the right solution for them.
On the other hand, Company B, with more employees, a larger OHS budget and potentially greater penalties for regulatory non-compliance may see the benefits of cloud-based OHS management software. They may be in a position – both technologically and financially – to consider this solution in a way that the smaller Company A is not.
You should look for software that helps you address the key challenges faced by your organization and is able to be incorporated.
5. Present your solution with justifications
The final step is to present your solution along with data to justify your selection.
This will make your selection much more likely to accepted by stakeholders.
Data that backs up your choice of software
The number of man-hours the software will save
The potential cost staves of safety audits and inspections
You must also be able to discuss the implementation process including any potential learning curves for staff to get trained up to speed when using the software.
If you focus on what’s in it for the company, there’s a much better chance of the software being accepted.
Taking your next steps
This guide has explained everything you need to know about choosing the right occupational health and safety management system software for your organization.
If your organization is looking for ways to improve safety compliance, reporting, and engagement, the OHS management software is definitely worth a look.
By removing the paper, you can streamline safety communication and improve collaboration among your staff, helping to create a more secure workplace.
Choosing the right OHS management software can help your organization achieve its goals for a safe and secure workplace.
Contact us for a demo to see for yourself how our incident management software can meet your needs!