How to Choose the Right Occupational Health and Safety Management System Software
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’.
By the way, if you want to learn more about the benefits of OHS management software, check out our complete guide the top 10 benefits of occupational health and safety management systems.
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 the relevant statutory authorities whenever a ‘notifiable incident’ occurs
- 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.
If you want to know more, check out our guide to the top 8 key components of occupational health and safety management systems.
4. Select OHS software that suits your needs
By this stage, you should have:
- 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!