How to Measure and Evaluate WHS Management Systems

Are you unsure where to start with your work health and safety (WHS) obligations? If so, you’ve come to the perfect place!

In this article, we’ll show you exactly how to measure and evaluate any Work Health and Safety Management system. We’ll walk you through the exact steps you need to take in order to measure the effectiveness of your current work health and safety provisions. We’ll then explain exactly what you need to do to evaluate them and plan your next steps.

Our 3-step Work Health and Safety (WHS) compliance check is suitable for all Australian businesses regardless of their organizational structure, size or industry.

The three steps are:

Step 1: General evaluation
Step 2: Documentation evaluation
Step 3: Worksite evaluation

So if you’re looking to measure evaluate your organisation’s WHS management system, clear your schedule, grab a coffee and let’s get going!

Step 1: General evaluation

The first step of measuring and evaluating your existing WHS management system is conduction a general evaluation. This step will help you get a general feel for your existing WHS provision and give you some indication about the improvements and changes you may like to make in the future.

This initial step is best thought of as a safety self-audit. It won’t give you a full picture of the actual state of your organization’s WHS compliance but it will offer a preliminary indication of where your organization stands. For a complete picture, we recommend you conduct a full WHS compliance audit.

Why take a safety self-audit?

If you’re unsure where to start when it comes to measuring and evaluating a WHS management system, the logical first step is taking a safety self-audit. This gives you a snapshot of where your organization is, where potential weaknesses lie and some suggestions for what you can do to improve your WHS provisions.

How to conduct a general evaluation

If you’re ready to conduct a general evaluation, the first question to ask yourself is, “Do I already have a WHS management system in place?”

Your answer may be ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or ‘Maybe.

If you’re unsure, do you have any system in place that helps you manage your organisation’s WHS compliance? It could be a paper Safety Statement or any type of document that helps you measure risk and safeguard your staff.  

The second question to ask yourself is, “What type of system is my organisation using?”

The possible answers you may come up with are ‘Paper-based’, ‘Software-based’ or a ‘Combination/Hybrid solution of both paper-based and software-based solutions’.

If your organization is predominantly working from a safety statement and uses paper forms such as incident reports and risk management forms, then you’re likely using a paper-based system. If you have a mixture of physical forms and electronic files, you’re likely in the third category. If you are entirely software-based, you’ll likely have a dedicated WHS management program in place that helps your organisation manage risks and plan ahead.

That’s it! Step 1 is complete. You should now have some understanding of where your company is at in terms of its WHS management provisions. Let’s move to the second step…

Step 2 – Documentation evaluation

In this second step, you’ll be looking at what documentation your company or organisation has in place. While this won’t give you a full or complete picture like a full WHS management audit would, it will indicate where potential deficiencies are and offer clues about how you can address them.

In this second step of the process, the first question you’ll ask yourself is, ‘Does your company have a signed, up to date Work Health and Safety Management Plan?

The possible answers are ‘Yes’, ‘No’ and ‘Unsure’.

If you’re unsure, consider whether you have an Occupational Health and Safety management plan (OHS) instead. There is some overlap between WHS and OHS plans so it may be that you are covering some of your bases but just labelling the document differently.

The second question to ask in this self-audit is, ‘Does your staff have access to safety documentation at work?’ By safety documentation, we are including policies, procedures, SWMS and other WHS-related documents.

The possible answers to this question include:

  • Access to paper copies
  • Access to digital copies
  • No access, or unsure

It’s common for smaller businesses to give their staff physical paper copies of their WHS documents. This helps them understand how to perform basic duties such as completing a risk management form, filing a safety audit and reporting risks.

Larger companies will commonly share these documents digitally as they are dealing with larger numbers of staff and possibly have their workers split across various physical locations, possibly even across different countries.

If you answered “no access”, or “unsure”, this is one possible area where you may like to make improvements.

The third documentation evaluation question to ask is, ‘How are records of staff, inductions and training managed?’ As with the previous questions, your answers will be limited to paper-based, software-based or having no records. However, you’ll also have the possibility of the records being spreadsheet-based. This is quite common for smaller businesses that take a largely paper-based approach but then record the results electronically on a spreadsheet.

The next question to ask yourself is, ‘How are risk assessments performed?’

The options will be:

  • Paper-based
  • Spreadsheets
  • Software-based
  • Not completed
  • Unsure

This gives you an understanding of how efficiently your organisation is dealing with risks and how attuned your workers are to noticing and attending to these risks.

To get a sense of how well your organisation’s WHS management system is functioning, you should carefully consider this question: “How are incidents reported to management?” Your options will be either verbally, paper-based (i.e. completing incident reports), spreadsheets (using data from written records), software-based, or (hopefully not) not reported.

The answers to these questions will help you understand where you stand as a company and how effectively you are empowering your employees to report and respond to incidents.

The same goes for the last question in this step: “How are worksite inspections performed and recorded?” The options will be the same as above – either paper-based, spreadsheets, software-based, or not done.

That’s it’s! The second stage is now complete and hopefully, you’re building a clearer picture of how your WHS management system is performing and where potential improvements can be made.

How to analyse your answers

To help you interpret and measure the results you’ve been getting, here’s a brief guide:

If you’ve been answering mostly “Not done” or “unsure”, this indicates that your organization’s WHS management system is deficient in key areas. To ensure legal compliance, you’ll want to investigate ways that you can help your business meet it’s WHS obligations.

If you’ve been answering mostly “Paper-based” or “Spreadsheets” to the above questions, you’ll have to evaluate whether you want to ditch the paper and move towards a more modern software-based approach to WHS management systems. Starting to use a program or WHS app could help your organization improve its current provisions and streamline their processes.

Lastly, if most of your answers have been “Software-based”, you may want to look around at the latest range of WHS management systems offerings. Is there room for improvement? Could you save money and improve your WHS provisions by moving from a software-based approach to a system that uses the cloud? This would help keep your employees aware of their WHS obligations and help everyone stay more connected with the cloud as everything is updated in real-time.

Step 3: Worksite evaluation

We’re finally on to the third and final stage of your WHS management system self-audit. Here, you’re going to be looking at conditions on your worksite and asking whether you can maintain or improve your current situation and if so, with what.

The first question you’ll want to as is, looking around your worksite, “Are each of the following conditions suitable?” The conditions are lighting, noise levels, humidity, temperature, and ventilation. This is a simple check-box assessment – if an area seems suitable, tick it and move on. Any boxes left without a check mark clearly invite further attention. You can ask yourself why these areas aren’t suitable and what can be done to improve them.

The next question to consider is this: “Is there adequate space for members of staff to perform their required tasks?” This is a simple yes or no question. If you’re unsure, ask your staff! A simple questionnaire or informal meeting will give you all the answers you need! If your staff members are generally satisfied with space, move on. If they aren’t, get more details. What’s wrong? How much space do they require? Is it feasible?

Okay – three more questions, but they’re all pretty serious! The next question is about electrical equipment. Ask yourself, “Is all electrical equipment tested and tagged within the required intervals?” This is a simple Yes/No question but the answers are critically important. If yes, that’s all good and well, but if no, why not? This shows a serious lack of attention to detail in your business’ WHS management system – how are such glaring errors going unchecked or unnoticed? This indicates a CLEAR area for improvement!

Next, look at vehicles and machinery on your worksite. (If you don’t have any, move on to the final question) Ask yourself, “How are pre-start checklists/inspections performed?” Is it paper-based, software-based, spreadsheets? Or a hybrid solution?
If they are mostly spreadsheet-based, you’ll want to look at the main ways that you can improve. Would moving to a software-based solution give your staff greater access to data and a higher compliance rate?

Lastly, if hazardous chemicals are used on your worksite, here’s the final question to ask: “Does your chemical register have all of the following in place?”

  • Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) that display GHS information
  • SDSs that display full business details
  • SDSs from the correct companies
  • SDSs that are not more than 5 years old
  • Registers that include product names, manufacturer and stored quantities.

A cursory glance down this checklist will tell you whether your WHS management system is fit for purpose in terms of storing hazardous chemicals. If there are worrying gaps in your management of chemicals, this indicates that your WHS management system could be improved to help you meet your legal obligations.

How to analyse your answers

Bear in mind that we always recommend that a full WHS compliance audit is carried out to give you a complete picture of your WHS management system. However, this limited self-audit can offer some revealing answers. You can see whether gaps exist in your current provisions and this can help you decide on your next course of action.

If you are answering several of the step-3 questions with “Unsure” or “No” – this shows that a more comprehensive approach to WHS management may be required. If you are completing your requirements but with a paper-based approach, you may like to consider how the latest WHS management software options could help you streamline your business’ WHS requirements and policies.

Lastly, if you are already using a software-based approach, you may like to think about how moving your WHS work to the cloud results in a more streamlined and efficient setup.

Conclusion

WHS management doesn’t need to be complex but hopefully, this brief 3-step process for self-auditing your WHS compliance has given you a preliminary indication of the possible state of your organization’s WHS compliance. While this indication lacks the depth of a full WHS compliance audit (as it doesn’t involve a physical audit) it can help you build a picture of where you’re at, which areas you’re lack and what steps you can take to improve your WHS management provisions today.

If you’re still unsure where to start with your WHS management, give us a call!

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WHS Management System: Examples and Key Components

Are you unsure where to start with your Work Health and Safety (WHS) provisions?

In today’s post, we’re going to be looking at examples of Work Health and Safety Management systems and unpacking some of their key components.

We’ll show you how simple and easy WHS management systems make it for businesses just like yours to comply with their Work Health and Safety obligations.

 

In this post, we’ll be discussing the following areas:

  • What is a WHS Management System?
  • What types of WHS Management systems are there?
  • Paper-based WHS Management Systems
  • Key Components of Paper-based WHS Management Systems
  • Hybrid WHS Management Systems
  • Key Components of Hybrid WHS Management Systems
  • Software-based WHS Management System
  • Key Components of Software-based WHS Management Systems

Let’s get right to it!

What is a WHS Management System?

WHS management doesn’t need to be complicated.

Yet that’s exactly how thousands of Australian businesses feel about their WHS provisions.

Look.

At its core, a WHS management system is any system that helps a business create a safer workplace environment.

There are five main goals of any WHS management system.

It must help a business:

  • Comply with Australian legislative requirements and standards,
  • Create a safe workplace
  • Improve worker safety and happiness
  • Increase productivity
  • Improve the business’ bottom line

As we’ll see in the next section, there are several different types of WHS management systems, but what they have in common is that they all aim to accomplish these five main goals.

To do this, all WHS management systems cover the following eight areas:

Policies and procedures

WHS management systems help businesses to streamline the process of authoring and distributing key documents, such as safe work procedures (SWPs) and other policies.

Audits and inspection

WHS management systems help businesses to record the outcomes of physical inspections on-site via and determine the correct actions.

Safety training Management

A key feature of WHS management systems is that they help organizations to manage worker information including tracking KPI’s, training records and assessments. This helps to ensure that workers stay up-to-date with their training.

Risk management

WHS management systems help a business to identify all workplace hazards and risks. This helps the organisation create a risk profile and prioritize the necessary corrective actions that must be taken.

Incident management

WHS management systems also help businesses record and manage all types of incidents, such as near misses, injuries, property damage, and environmental incidents.

Asset management

WHS management systems help a business to register their key assets such as machinery, vehicles and plant equipment. This helps managers complete important tasks such as schedule inspections and follow up with maintenance.

Chemical management

For companies that store or manage chemicals, WHS management systems help ensure that all chemical-related regulations are complied with.

Contractor management

WHS management systems help companies to supply contractors will all relevant documents and licenses.

As we’ll see, there are different types of WHS management systems and they all help in different ways.

What types of WHS Management systems are there?

Broadly speaking, there are three main types of WHS management systems, as follows:

  • Paper Based
  • Software-Based
  • A combination of paper-based and software-based (i.e. Hybrid)

All Australian businesses, regardless of type, size or organizational structure, will use a WHS management system that fits into one of these three categories.

In the following sections, we’ll look at examples and types of WHS management systems within each of these three categories. We’ll also look at the 10 key elements of WHS management systems to show what they look like and how they work.

Paper-based WHS Management Systems

The first type of WHS management system is the traditional paper-based approach.

This offers the following key benefits:

  • Low cost
  • Simple
  • Customizable

For these reasons, paper-based WHS management systems are favoured by many small Australian businesses. However, as this type of system relies on paper reports, there needs to be three lines of defence to ensure that all critical WHS data is captured and processed; the WHS manager, the managers, and the workers.

However, paper-based WHS management systems have the following disadvantages:

  • Space
    Story WHS paperwork in filing cabinets takes up valuable office space.
  • Data sharing and access
    The WHS manager must ensure that only relevant data is shared with other staff members.

So what are the key components of a paper-based WHS management system?

Key Components of paper-based WHS management systems

In this section, we’ll look at the key components of paper-based WHS management systems.

Policies and procedures

Paper-based WHS management systems will have written safe work procedures (SWPs) and other policies created by the WHS manager or other key stakeholders in the organization. These documents will be stored in a filing cabinet.

Audits and inspection

With a paper-based WHS management system, all audits and inspections will be stored as hard copies. Responsibility for recording the outcomes of inspections and assigned the appropriate action will fall to the WHS manager or staff.

Safety training Management

Paper-based WHS management system will rely on written records of worker training and assessments to help inform key decisions about which members of staff require further training.

Risk management

Paper-based WHS management systems use hard copies of risk assessments to record and identify all workplace hazards and risks. The company’s WHS manager will create a risk profile and prioritize the necessary corrective actions that must be taken.

Incident, asset, and chemical management

In terms of incident, asset and chemical management, Paper-based WHS management systems relying on hard copies of documents to record all types of incidents, vehicle and equipment registration, and scheduled maintenance. All chemical management will be stored as hard copies.

Hybrid WHS management Systems

The second type of WHS management system is a hybrid between a traditional paper-based WHS management system and WHS management system software.

This offers the following key benefits over the paper-based approach:

  • Reduced storage space for documents
  • Better informed staff
  • Easier access to documents
  • Greater potential for information sharing and oversight

For these reasons, hybrid WHS management systems are favoured by many small-to-medium sized Australian businesses.

Hybrid WHS approaches are a low-cost way of ensuring that WHS-related documents and information are shared within an organization. As documents are often stored as both hard copies and as paper-based documents, there is less risk of document loss and great potential for sharing within an organization.

However, hybrid WHS management systems have the following disadvantages compared with full software approaches:

  • Limited data sharing and access (compared with WHS software solutions)
  • Limited oversight
  • No automation

So what are the key components of a hybrid WHS management system?

Key Components of paper-based WHS management systems

In this section we’ll look at the key components of hybrid WHS management systems.

Policies and procedures

Hybrid WHS management systems feature written safe work procedures (SWPs) and other policies created by the WHS manager or other key stakeholders in the organization. These documents will often be stored as hard AND soft copies, improving data sharing across the business.

Audits and inspection

Hybrid WHS management system still use hard copies of audits and inspections but may also use software-based approaches such as cloud-based scheduling software. This lets a larger workforce keep abreast of the outcomes of inspections and any actions assigned to them.

Safety training Management

Hybrid WHS management system will use a software-based approach such as spreadsheets to help inform key decisions about which members of staff require further training.

Risk management

Hybrid WHS management systems use both hard and soft copies of risk assessments to record and identify all workplace hazards and risks. This gives more members of staff access to this information and makes it easier for the company’s WHS manager will create a risk profile and prioritize the necessary corrective actions that must be taken.

Incident, asset, and chemical management

Hybrid WHS management will use both hard and soft copies of forms to record all types of incidents, vehicle and equipment registration and scheduled maintenance. Some systems may use electronic forms to record and store these types of incidents.

Software-based WHS management systems

The third type of WHS management system is an entirely software-based.

Although WHS software is commonly used by medium to large Australian businesses, it is versatile enough to be used by any business, regardless of type, size or organizational structure.

Software WHS management systems differ significantly from both paper-based and hybrid approaches to WHS.

They offer a number of advantages:

  • Automated processes
  • Regulatory oversight and compliance
  • Improved data access

Let’s look at some examples of a software-based WHS management system and explore its key components.

The most popular and common type of WHS management system is the modular, cloud-based approach.

This type of software-based WHS management system helps organisations to simply and effectively comply with their Work Health and Safety obligations.

How?

By using integrated modules, the software can automatically generate WHS plans and safety plans, helping the business stay productive and profitable while avoiding regulatory non-compliance issues.

This software works by using a proprietary databased of safety records to generate safety documents for the staff to use.

The software is designed to help the business automatically address all current legislative requirements and standards, including Work Health and Safety Act 2011, and the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011.

Key Components of software-based WHS management systems

Software-based WHS management systems typically feature the following key components.

Simplified incident management

Unlike paper-based and hybrid WHS management systems, fully software-based WHS management systems give your staff a wide range of easy-to-use tools that they can use to record and manage all incidents, including injuries, near misses, environmental incidents and property damage. For example, you can put up signs on your premises that your workers simply scan with an app on their smartphone when they need to report a hazard or log an incident. Once completed, the app saves it to the cloud and the management system is updated in real-time.

Active risk management

Unlike paper-based and hybrid WHS management systems, fully software-based WHS management systems can autonomously identify a variety of workplace hazards (based on data submitted by members of staff such as incident report forms and hazard reports) and then use this data to create a risk profile for your business. The software then uses this profile and prioritises the necessary corrective actions for your business, helping to actively manage risks.

Easy asset management

One of the main advantages of full software-based WHS management systems is that you can use them to register all of your key assets, including your vehicles, plant equipment and machinery. This helps you dramatically simplify things like your pre-start inspections and helps your staff members report on conditions and maintenance requirements with ease.

Customized reporting

One area where full software-based WHS management systems really come into their own is with customized reporting. You can use the software to access granular safety statistics in real-time and generate highly customisable dashboard reports. This lets you and your staff members monitor key metrics through hundreds of pre-set dynamic reports.

Easy chemical management

If your business is responsible for storing and handling chemicals, software-based WHS management systems are unbeatable. The software is built to automatically check an extensive database of chemical safety information and automate all compliance requirements relating to the storage, use and handling of chemicals. This takes the pressure off your staff and helps ensure that your business is in full regulatory compliance at all times.

Improved HR Safety Management

Software-based WHS management systems are great for handling crucial worker information, including training records, assessed competencies and track completion of required KPI’s. This helps you track who has been trained for what, when their training is due to expire and when they need a refresher course. This helps you keep your staff fully trained at all times.

Conclusion

If you were curious about the examples and key components of WHS management systems, that’s about it!

As you’ve seen, WHS software is special software that is dedicated to streamlining and automating your workplace safety obligations.

With the right WHS management system software in place, you can be sure that things like errors in manual reporting, breakdowns in communications and outdated compliance documentation don’t leave your business exposed to liabilities and penalties!

Take the complexity out of WHS management with WHS management system software today! Sign up now for a free trial or call us for a free consultation from one of our safety professionals!

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Work Health and Safety Management System Software: 10 Key Elements

Work Health and Safety (WHS) Management system software doesn’t need to be complex. Yet that’s exactly how many Australian businesses feel about their WHS provisions.

So, if you’re unsure where to start with your WHS obligations, keep reading…

In this post, we’ll be discussing 10 key elements of WHS management system software and show you exactly how this type of software helps organisations just like yours to streamline their WHS and comply with all WHS obligations!

We’ll be discussing the following areas:

  • What is WHS management system software?
  • How does WHS software help?
  • Key Element 1. Automated
  • Key Element 2. Cloud-based
  • Key Element 3. Tiered access levels
  • Key Element 4. Compliance-proof
  • Key Element 5. Reporting
  • Key Element 6. WHS Project management
  • Key Element 7. Risk management
  • Key Element 8. Incident management
  • Key Element 9. Asset management
  • Key Element 10. Personnel Management

If you’re keen to learn more about these exciting elements, clear your schedule, grab a coffee, and let’s get started!

What is WHS management system software?

It’s a proven fact that a safer workplace offers three main benefits:

  • A healthier bottom line
  • Happier workers
  • Increased productivity

WHS management system software will help your business achieve this goal and see improvements in all three of these areas.

How?

WHS management software is special software that is dedicated to streamlining and automating your workplace safety obligations.

With the right WHS management system software in place, you can be sure that things like errors in manual reporting, breakdowns in communications and outdated compliance documentation don’t leave your business exposed to liabilities and penalties.

How does WHS software help?

Can we ask you a quick question?

What does your business’ WHS system look like right now?

Do you already have a system in place for managing your WHS compliance?

If you do, is the system you use:

  • Paper based?
  • Software based?
  • A combination of paper-based and software-based?

Depending on where you’re starting from, WHS management system software can improve how your business manages workplace health and safety.

WHS management system software helps with things like:

  • Worker management
  • Risk management
  • Incident Management
  • Contractor management
  • Policies and procedures
  • Asset safety
  • Hazard registers
  • Chemical management
  • and more!

WHS management system software helps your business cover ALL your bases!

How?

By incorporating 10 key elements!

Here they are:

Key Element 1. Automated

The first key element of WHS management system software is that it’s automated.

Automated WHS software uses data from across your business to automatically create a complete work health and safety management plan.

To accomplish this, most WHS management system software uses a proprietary database containing MILLIONS of safety records.

This database is kept up to date by a team of safety professionals, to ensure that your business stays compliant with the latest regulations

The WHS management system software uses this data to automate the process of creating risk assessments, chemical risk assessments, job safety analysis, safe work records statements and more!

Key Element 2. Cloud-based

The second key element of WHS management system software is that it is cloud-based.

Most Australian businesses think this is the BEST part of paying for WHS software!

That’s because cloud-based WHS management system software is updated in real-time, and can be accessed by multiple users simultaneously.

This means that the software can be used by on-site users via mobile devices in a variety of ways, such as logging and receiving alerts, logging hazards and maintaining assets such as vehicles, fleets and machinery!

Whether your workers need to complete an audit down a mine shaft, log a report from the bush, or report a hazard from inside a lift, cloud-based WHS management system software will have your back!

Key Element 3. Tiered access levels

Saying goodbye to filing cabinets stuffed full of incident report forms can seem tempting, but how do you control who can see what when you move your WHS system to the cloud?

You do!

The third key element of WHS management system software is that it offers tiered access levels.

This means that the software ONLY shares information relevant to each individual user as decided by your WHS manager or key stakeholders.

Having tiered access levels means that your truck driver Keith won’t get access to your business’ confidential ROI projections yet your WHS manager Karen will be able to view any incident report that Keith files!

Tiered access levels and automated workflow help provide managers with the ability to proactively track and manage risks creating three lines of defence:

  • WHS manager
  • Managers
  • Workers

This triple-layer defence all but guarantees that no important information will be overlooked!

Management can also use WHS management system software for granular reporting and to make informed business decisions

Key Element 4. Compliance-proof

If your business is still relying on a paper-based WHS system, you’ll know firsthand how easy it is to fall foul of compliance issues!

Australian legislative requires are constantly being updated, reworked and revised, making the changes difficult to track.

That’s why the fourth key element of WHS management system software is compliance-proof.

WHS management system software guides your business to complete compliance by creating pre-generated safety documents from a database of millions of records.

The software is built from the ground up to automatically address all current Australian legislative requirements and standards, including:

With the right WHS management software, your organization will never fall foul of regulation ever again!

Key Element 5. Reporting

The fifth key element of all good WHS management system software is reporting.

Cloud-based software enables your managers to access granular safety statistics in real-time, helping them stay updated about your WHS needs.

WHS management system software uses customisable dashboard reports to monitor and report key metrics. This system of on-going reporting helps ensure that your business stays compliant with all regulations and manages your safety obligations in a timely manner.

Most WHS management system software uses a set of over 100 pre-set dynamic reports to keep your team informed and well-placed to make the best possible business decisions.

Key Element 6. WHS Project management

The sixth key element of WHS management system software is that it can automatically generate complete Work Health and Safety Management Plans for your business!

It can also automatically create WHS plans for any WHS-related projects.

This helps free up your WHS managers’ time while guaranteeing that your business remains in complete regulatory alignment, helping to eliminate the risk of fines and other penalties.

If your business currently uses a paper-based WHS system, then moving to WHS software will give your happier, more productive workers AND a healthier bottom line!

Key Element 7. Risk management

As a business owner, you want to be prepared for any risks that may affect your organisation.

That’s why WHS management system software puts risk management at the heart of everything it does.

WHS software can identify all workplace hazards at your business and automatically create a risk profile. By identifying workplace hazards and quantifying the risks, the software can prioritise the necessary corrective actions.

Most top WHS management system software integrates almost ALL KNOWN risks, including:

  • Hazards and chemical risks
  • Enterprise risks
  • Corporate risks
  • Project risks
  • and environmental risks

So, if you’re looking to prepare your business against risks, WHS management system software could be just what you need.

Key Element 8. Incident management

The eighth key element of WHS management system software is incident management.

This crucial element makes it simple to implement easy access tools to record and manage all incidents that occur on your premises.

These include:

  • Injuries
  • Near misses
  • Environmental incidents
  • Property damage
  • And more!

This important element makes it possible for WHS management system software to streamline reporting for a faster, more effective response.

If you’re looking for a simple, easy-to-use method for quickly and accurate recording and management all incidents at your workplace, this important element shouldn’t be overlooked!

Key Element 9. Asset management

For business looking to keep their asset maintenance up to date, this ninth key element of WHS management system software is worth a look; asset management. 

WHS management system software makes it SIMPLE to register all your business’ key assets, such as:

  • Vehicles
  • Plant equipment
  • Machinery

This helps you to drastically simplify your pre-start inspections and create real-time report on how your conditions and maintenance requirements are doing.

Asset management is a critical element of any WHS management system software as it provides a complete register of all key assets within your organisation.

This lets you schedule routine inspections and maintenance in the most cost-effective manner, helping to prevent breakdowns and expensive repair bills as well as ensuring that your business stays as productive as possible.

The software can help you log and schedule audits and inspections, and send automated reminders to your workers to carry out key checks. By recording the outcomes of physical inspections on-site via online and offline access, your WHS managers will be better able to assign the appropriate corrective actions to your staff through user-configurable electronic forms.

Asset management is one of the key reasons to invest in WHS management system software. It lets your business stay one step ahead of potential problems and maintain a healthy bottom line!

Key Element 10. Personnel Management

The tenth key element of WHS management system software is personnel management.

Your workers are your biggest asset, so arguably THIS is the most important key element of the entire WHS system.

WHS management system software lets you effective management ALL your workers.

This includes:

  • Personal
  • HR staff
  • Contractors
  • Visitors and the general public

WHS management system software helps you manage crucial worker information including training records, assessed competencies and track completion of required KPI’s.

It can help you track who attended which training course and who needs a follow up or refresher course.

But that’s not all.

WHS management system software also lets’ you manage contractors, too!

WHS management system software lets you implement an automated pre-qualification process for any contractors who work for you.

This can include the supply of all relevant documents, licenses and completion of online inductions. This helps to make the contractors happier while improving their productivity.

WHS management system software lets you simple and effortlessly manage the authoring, approving and distributing key compliance documentation such as policies and safe work procedures (SWPs).

Conclusion

Take the complexity out of WHS management with WHS management system software today! Sign up now for a free trial or call us for a free consultation from one of our safety professionals!

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Work Health and Safety Management Software: The Comprehensive Guide

Work Health and Safety (WHS) Management Software has become an integral component of many Australian businesses’ HSE management processes. Organizations that are not currently using WHS software are either considering it or actively looking for WHS software solutions that can assist them in making their workplace safer.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about WHS management software. Here, you’ll learn what WHS management software is, how it works, and how to choose the best solution for your business no matter its size, industry or organizational structure.

What is Work Health and Safety Management Software?

Work Health and Safety (WHS) management software is any type of program that is designed to improve WHS processes within a business, organisation, or working environment.

The most common processes are:

  • Pre-qualification
  • Contractor management
  • Job safety assessments
  • Training and inductions
  • Hazard management
  • Incident reporting

Most types of WHS management software are applications designed to supplement paper-based systems. These systems rely on manual inputs from staff members and managers, such as paper-based incident report forms. The WHS software is then used to help compile, store and manage this data.

However, top of the line WHS management software programs offer much more comprehensive functionality. This includes providing active assistance to HSE managers, such as autonomously generating safety reports and tracking employee training. This helps to ensure greater workplace safety and regulatory compliance.

To learn more about the key elements that make up Work Health and Safety Management Software, be sure to check out our guide to the 10 key elements of WHS management software.

Types of WHS software explained

The primary aim of WHS software is to help businesses and organizations abide by industry regulations and implement proper WHS procedures. There are various platforms that can provide organizations with an ‘all-in-one’ solution, and also a few types of WHS programs that have particular uses.

These include:

Program management

WHS software that offers program management helps businesses with a range of functions such as real-time tracking of EHS metrics, carrying out internal audits and efficiently generating reports. This software helps minimize the risks of human errors and accelerate activities that are typically time-consuming or labour-intensive.

Compliance management

By far the most common form WHS management software is compliance management. Compliance management systems deal with Australian workplace health and safety laws. This software can let you know about the various changes to compliance standards, gather information, and streamline log reports, besides other functions.

Waste management

If your organization is especially concerned about waste disposal and management, a waste management platform can help. Such a system generally uses a centralized platform for supervising the management, shifting and disposing of waste. This type of software can help ensure that your business is dealing with waste in an environmentally friendly way.

Chemical inventory management

If your business activities including handling and storing chemicals, even the smallest mix-up can have expensive and sometimes lethal consequences. You can use chemical inventory management software to monitor the use and storage of toxic chemicals, satisfy the obligations and prevent the violation of the necessary safety rules.

What are the top benefits of WHS software?

Now that we’ve looked at the types of WHS management software on offer, it’s time to look at the top benefits of using WHS software. Some of the top benefits of Work Health and Safety management software include:

Consistency

The key advantage of using WHS software is that it helps you gather, access, store and manage data more consistently. Work Health and Safety management software can make data collection more accurate and can help staff members with repetitive tasks related to data collection and management. WHS software helps staff review information from previous experiences and access data that may provide insights into similar situations in the future.

Compliance

The second key benefit of WHS software is that it helps ensure that your business complies with all relevant Australian workplace health and safety laws. This helps you keep your staff regularly updated with the latest development. WHS software can help staff members stay informed about the latest regulations so that your business operates legally at all times.

WHS software automatically addresses all current Australian legislative requirements and standards, including:

Efficiency

The third key benefit of WHS management software it that it boosts your company’s efficiency in dealing with your health and safety obligations. WHS software can help you streamline your safety reports and store of all the necessary information about your business on one single, easily accessible dashboard.

Employee confidence

WHS management software is great for boosting employee confidence. Your contractors and staff need to know that your organization regards their health and well-being as a vital aspect of its everyday operations. Once workers realize that your business regards Work Health and Safety as a top priority, staff morale will inevitably get a boost.

Remote usage

One of the key benefits of Work Health and Safety Management software is that mobile applications help you stay abreast of your WHS data, even when you are away from the office. Whether you need to file an incident report from the bush or report a hazard from the bottom of a mine-shaft, WHS management software can help!

Data streamlining

WHS management software helps you streamline your data. Whether you need to store information about a specific incident or complete a specific form about a hazard, WHS management software helps your staff members address their specific needs while complying with the latest regulations and standards.

Saving money

When you stay on the right side of the law, keep updated about the latest regulations that are in place, and offer a reliable and consistent information database – if the same is needed in case of any incident – you can significantly reduce the risks of legal consequences or penalties for your business.

Higher level of customer trust

Businesses that take workplace health and safety seriously get better word-of-mouth recognition. The public will get a positive impression about the moral and ethical standards of your business, and take your company more seriously. Investing in WHS management software helps you earn the trust of your customers and the wider public.

Key features of WHS software

Now we’ve seen the top benefits of WHS management software, it’s time to look at some of the key features on offer. WHS practices today are more heavily regulated than ever before; there is a greater professional emphasis of organizational safety and much higher public awareness than at any point in the past. Fortunately, there is a whole industry that assists HSE professionals in developing a safer workplace environment. WHS management software is used by thousands of Australian businesses to meet their regulatory obligations.

So, what are the key features of WHS software to look for?

Health management

WHS software programs that offer health management can assist in supervising industrial hygiene and occupational health in the workplace. The software can track the health status of workers and measure illness rates among staff.

Data quality check

Sifting through gathered data and ensuring accuracy can be time-consuming and tedious when conducted manually. WHS software with data checking functionality helps organizations to automatically and easily validate all their own records.

Safety management

With this feature, businesses can assess, track and avoid workplace accidents and incidents and ensure that they provide a safe working environment for their staff. The data that is gathered with the help of this tool may be used, and seminars may then be conducted about work practices and occupational hazards.

Risk assessment

WHS software that offers a risk assessment feature allows businesses to efficiently conduct analysis of all those processes that carry inherent risks. Such software can assist in the development of risk reduction plans, manage insurances, determine hazards in the workplace and optimize safety audits.

Action plan creation

With this feature, businesses can refine their employee protection approach and let users develop preventive and corrective action plans that are based upon incidents that have occurred within the workplace.

Read our post about the key components of WHS management systems to learn more.

How to choose WHS software?

At this stage, you might have a clear idea about the things that you need in a WHS system, but you have to ensure that you look for one that’s appropriate for your own workplace. Apart from the affordability and quality of WHS software, you have to also consider various other factors before making a decision. When you look for such type of program, you have to insist on various things in order to make a sound choice.

Here’s our advice on what to look for when choosing WHS software.

Comprehensive reporting

Comprehensive reports on every detail recorded by this type of program need to be made readily available in just a few clicks. The better the information and the more up-to-date it is, the quicker you will be able to act on the results that are obtained. This can make the difference between whether or not the crucial changes are implemented in time.

Strong features

Before you invest in an WHS platform for your organisation, check out which features are on offer. Ensure that the tools can easily be used and are robust enough to deal with all your operational needs. Be sure that all members of your organisation will be able to use the platform with minimal training. You may wish to try a free trial of the software before making a judgement.

Familiarity

It’s important to choose WHS software that draws on your existing WHS processes. Check whether the same language and terminology is used by the software program. Find out whether the user-functionality can be recognized. Consider whether it follows the same kind of logical progression all through the procedures. This can help reduce the time for training, and also means that you can have the software program up and running as quickly as possible.

Automation

Automation is a natural component of improving any process, and is a key way of improving your existing WHS processes. When choosing WHS software, look for programs that help you automate your existing tasks and duties. For instance, auto-refusal of access in case of expiry of the insurance of a contractor, auto-reminders for when an induction is set to expire, auto-notification of important people on incidents related to safety matters, etc. This will help save your staff time and improve your overall efficiency.

Workplace safety requirements

Before you choose WHS software, it is essential to check your organization’s particular workplace safety needs. The better you are able to understand the things that are unique about your own HSE needs, the more convenient you’ll find it to try to find appropriate Health and Safety software programs. You have to look for health and safety software solutions that are proven and aimed at actively improving the safety of your workplace through improved HSE management.

Reasonable cost

While it is important to spend your money wisely, you do not necessarily have to pick the lowest-cost serviceable software program on the market. 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. This will help you to get the maximum bang for your bucks over the long term.

Scalability

The requirements of your business might change over a period of time so it’s important to choose WHS software that grows as you do. Increasingly, many Australian businesses are choosing cloud-based WHS software solutions for this very reason. Cloud-based WHS software is highly scalable and can be quickly scaled up as your business grows.

Reliable technical support

Regardless of how advanced the WHS software is, you’re still likely to experience technical issues from time to time, such as user errors, glitches or bugs. To minimize downtime, look for WHS software system vendors that have a proven track-record of offering reliable customer assistance. Customer support take the form of customer training, video tutorials, knowledge database, email support, 24/7 Phone Support, Live Chat or a mix of any of these.

By the way, if you’re wondering how to measure and evaluate WHS management systems you may be interested in reading in our complete post!

Conclusion

If you were curious about Work Health and Safety Management Software, hopefully our comprehensive guide has answered all your questions!

Having an appropriate WHS software system can work wonders for your own business activities. It can help you to ensure the safety of your workplace, assess your organizational security and maintain your business’ sustainability. The use of these programs can help you to stay compliant with the necessary regulations of the industry, and also offer ways to improve every aspect of your business!

How to Choose the Right Health and Safety App for Your Organisation

Are you someone who is trying to make sure that your business is compliant with all the latest health and safety rules?

Have you considered there may be an app for that?

With the ‘app era‘ officially in full swing, there’s never been an easier time for Australian businesses to comply with the latest regulatory requirements, especially if they have the right app at the ready!

However, a plethora of choices means that choosing the right health and safety app isn’t always straightforward. You have to make sure that you select the right application for your needs and understand exactly what you’re getting yourself into before you sign up for a free trial!

In this post, we’ll explore everything you need to know to choose the right health and safety app for your organization.

Today, we’ll be discussing the following topics:

  • What are Health and Safety apps?
  • The Benefits of Health and Safety Apps
  • What to consider when choosing a Health and Safety App

If you’re ready to find out more, then when not grab a coffee, clear your schedule, and get started?

What Are Health and Safety Apps?

So that we all start off on the same page, it is first worth considering what a health and safety app actually is: What does it look like? Who uses one? And why?

Health and Safety apps are usually part of a suite of programs that collectively make up occupational health and safety management system software packages. These packages are popular with businesses and organizations that want to streamline and optimize their health and safety processes. The software helps to manage, allocate and automate a range of tasks such as filing incident reports, scheduling maintenance, checking compliance, and more.

Why apps? Well, the developers behind these software packages want to make their software as accessible as possible. As apps are specifically designed to be downloaded onto mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets, they are the perfect way to make management software more accessible. Apps essentially put the power of the management software into the hands of the people who need it most; the members or staff and contractors!

Health and safety apps offer members of staff all the benefits of the health and safety management system software, but with the convenience of having it on a mobile device! In other words, it makes the system as accessible as possible for every staff member, third-party contractor or visitor so that they can capture relevant data or review health and safety information contained in the system.

The Benefits of Health and Safety Apps

Using a health and safety app comes with many exciting benefits! Apps are versatile enough to be used by any business, regardless of its organizational structure, size or type. You’ll find businesses in almost every sector, from agriculture and forestry to mining, construction, transport, and warehousing that use health and safety apps. So what are the main benefits of health and safety apps?

There are three main benefits:

Maximize onsite efficiency
Real-time access
Ease of use

Maximize onsite efficiency

Having a health and safety app put the power of your entire health and safety management system into the palms of your workers’ hands! As the system is cloud-based, your staff can access it via their app on ANY mobile device with an internet connection. This lets them access, review and capture data in the field, no matter where they are.

Whether your staff members need to report a hazard in the bush, complete an audit from the bottom of a lift shaft or even file an incident report from the depths of a mine shaft, a health and safety app lets them do just that! This means that they can maximize their onsite efficiency and complete more within the same time frame, compared with using a health and safety management system that’s only accessible from a computer.

But the latest range of health and safety apps take efficiency one step further. They recognize that there may be times and places where internet connections aren’t available – you know, down a mine shaft, out in the bush, or otherwise ‘off-the-grid’. To address this, the apps feature offline functionality. This means that your staff can still use the app to file an incident report or log a hazard even if they don’t have an internet connection. The data is saved locally to their mobile device and is then uploaded to the cloud when they get back online, helping to maximize their productivity!

Real-time access

The second benefit of health and safety apps is that they offer real-time access to all your staff,  workers, visitors and contractors. This is possible because, as we mentioned, the software is cloud-based and can be accessed and updated in real-time from any device with an internet connection. This ensures that vital health and safety information is available in real-time to all required staff.

To understand why this is helpful, consider a scenario where a member of staff is conducting a site risk assessment at an open-air mine. Without a health and safety app, they would have to complete a paper-based form and then submit the form when they returned to your main premises. Far from ideal, is it?

With a health and safety app, the worker can complete the risk assessment via the app, and it will automatically upload to the system as soon as they regain internet connectivity. This not only saves valuable time but the system can automatically share the data from the risk assessment with all relevant staff members as soon as it’s uploaded! This helps keep the entire organization in the loop about the latest developments as they occur.

Ease of use

The third and arguably most important benefit of health and safety apps is ease of use. Many organizations tick all the boxes in terms of meeting their health and safety obligations but still have a less than ideal uptake rate! One of the main reasons is that following health and safety procedures is just too complicated for staff. Health and safety apps simplified ANY process and make it much more likely that staff members participate actively in their health and safety obligations.

How?

Firstly, health and safety apps are designed to work on ANY mobile device regardless of its operating system. So whether your staff prefers iOS, Android, Windows, or Linux, they can easily download the health and safety app on their preferred mobile device. This means that they can take the app with them whether they go and access it on the move.

Secondly, apps can be configured to bring up specific forms using either QR codes or NFC (Near-Field Communication) tags. This takes the hassle out of mundane, yet critically important, tasks such as filing an incident report or conducting a risk assessment. For example, you can put up special signs around your premises that promote the type of action you want to focus on. These signs contain special NFC interactive labels that allow you to attach dynamic information to any information point or physical object on your premises. In conjunction with the app, this provides instant easy access to staff, visitors or contractors.

Let’s say you want to improve incident reporting. You can put up NFC signs that read, ‘Incident Reporting: To report an incident from this point, tap here with your NFC enabled device or scan this QR code’. Your workers simply take their mobile device and open the app and then tap or scan the sign. This brings up the correct form which they complete and they then hit ‘send’ and the form is automatically uploaded to the system.

This approach not only improves engagement rates but it minimizes admin errors and creates a timelier, more accurate record of what’s happening on your premises.

What to consider when choosing a Health and Safety App

Selecting health and safety apps is not an easy task. Although most leading health and safety management software is designed to be used by any business regardless of size, type or structure, you still need to consider which app is most suitable for the specific needs and requirements of your business. The application will be an investment, and so appropriate research must be conducted to ensure that the correct decision is made.

Here are three simple areas to consider when choosing a health and safety app for your organization.

Look for key features that suit your needs

Begin by conducting a ‘self-study’ of your business or organization and determining your specific needs. Draw up a list of things that are important to you such as push notifications, electronic signing, GPS tracking, and offline functionality. To a large extent, these needs will be determined by your industry. If you’re in mining or construction and your workers are frequently working remotely without internet access, then offline functionality (where the app can still work without an internet connection) will likely be a higher priority than if you were in, say, warehousing, where your workers could be almost guaranteed to have a fast, stable internet connection throughout most of their working day.

Once you’ve drawn up a list of your needs, you can start comparing different health and safety management system software and seeing which ones meet your needs. This process ensures that you choose an app that offers easy mobile access for everyone who needs it across your entire business.

Look at app ratings

The second way that you can choose the best health and safety application for your organization is by reviewing the rating the app has gained on an app store such as Google Play or the Apple store, or by looking at review sites.

Almost every digital App Store has the ability to review and leave feedback for specific apps. You can identify what users of the app really think about the health and safety app and get a sense of how it holds up in the real world. It is also wise to review the written feedback from users because this provides real testimony.

For instance, if a software company claims that their health and safety app lets you manage health and safety compliance on-site with mobile access, take a look at the review and see what real users think. Do they find it easy to use? Are health and safety forms easy to access via the app? Do the app’s features like push notifications or offline monitoring work? How often is the app updated? This approach helps you cut through the sales hype in marketing literature and find out how real-world users find the app in practice.

Ask for recommendations

Unlike highly sensitive data such as that related to sales, health and safety obligations fall equally on ALL businesses and organisations and other companies are willing to offer recommendations based on their own unbiased experiences. You can search online or approach contacts for their suggestions. Many companies and stakeholders will share their knowledge because they will once have been in your position. They understand that finding the right health and safety app that offers proper system benefits and help you meet your compliance obligations is no mean feat. They’ll be happy to share.

Conclusion

In summary, health and safety apps offer a range of exciting benefits but it can be tough to choose the right app for your organisation. Finding an app that offers the right resources and meets your requirements is not easy. But it can be done!

We’ve offered you a simple guide to the best features to look for and a fool-proof plan for matching the software offerings with the needs of your organization. With time, care and enough research, you’ll find the right health and safety app for your needs.

Whatever stage of the process you are at, whether you currently have a health and safety app in place or are looking to shift from a paper-based system to an electronic one, we can help!

Contact us today to find out how Beakon software can help your organization achieve its goals for a safe and secure workplace!

Related posts:

10 Benefits of Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems
8 key components of occupational health and safety management systems

8 key components of occupational health and safety management systems

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.

components occupational health and safety management systems

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.

They are:

  1. Planning
  2. Incident reporting
  3. User-friendly interface
  4. Training
  5. Risk assessments
  6. Certification
  7. Convenience
  8. Performance

1. Planning

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.

components occupational health and safety management systems

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).

components occupational health and safety management systems

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.

4. Training

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:

  • Create reports
  • Analyse data
  • 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.

For example:

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.

6. Certification

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.

7. Communication

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.

Conclusion

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.

Related posts:

10 Benefits of Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems
How to Choose the Right Health and Safety App for Your Organisation

10 Benefits of Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems

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:

  1. Improved health and safety performance
  2. Reduced cost associated with accidents and incidents
  3. Improved staff relations and morale
  4. Improve business efficiency
  5. Improved public image and PR
  6. Lower insurance premiums
  7. Easier access to finance
  8. Increased regulatory compliance
  9. Improved confidence
  10. 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.

Why?

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.

Things like:

  • 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.
  • And more!

10 Benefits of Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems

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.

This has a significant knock-on effect when it comes to productivity. A Gartner survey found that workplaces with low moral typically have lower productivity levels.

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.

Why?

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.

5. Improved public image and PR

Whoever coined the phrase “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” obviously never worked in PR for a multinational!

For modern organizations, serious health-related accidents and injuries DO become public and CAN cause irreparable harm to a company’s public image.

When it comes to building brand appeal and gaining new customers, you’re swimming against the tide. The last thing your organization needs is a major incident to detract from your good work.

Consumers are far less likely to trust companies that don’t take their employee’s health and safety seriously.

We saw this recently when news.com.au reported on how McDonald’s allegedly threatened their staff with a toilet and water break ban. Whatever truth lay behind the assertion, the damage to the firm’s public image was done.

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.

10 Benefits of Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems

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:

  • Falls
  • Injuries
  • Repetitive strain injuries
  • The effects of vibration and noise
  • Skin diseases
  • Asbestos-related diseases
  • And more!

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.

Conclusion

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!

Related posts:

8 key components of occupational health and safety management systems
How to Choose the Right Health and Safety App for Your Organisation

How to Choose the Right Occupational Health and Safety Management System Software

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.

How to Choose the Right Occupational Health and Safety Management System Software

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.

  1. Understand your current technology situation
  2. Establish your ideal situation
  3. Identify key elements
  4. Select OHS software that suits your needs
  5. Present your solution with justifications

Sound fair?

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.

For instance:

  • 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.

How to Choose the Right Occupational Health and Safety Management System Software

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:

  1. Comprehensive
  2. Automated
  3. Continuous

Let’s look at each of these elements in more detail.

Comprehensive

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.

Look.

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.

Automated

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!

Continuous

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!

How to Choose the Right Occupational Health and Safety Management System Software

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.

Listen:

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.

That’s fine.

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.

Show them:

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!

Top 5 Incident Reporting Tools That Will Make Your Job Easier

Top 5 Incident Reporting Tools That Will Make Your Job Easier

Are you looking to take your organization’s incident reporting to the next level?

Do you want to contain workplace incidents more efficiently?

Do you want better communication with your staff?

Or more detailed incident reports that provide actionable data?

If you answered yes to any of those questions,  you need to equip your employees with the right tools!

In this post, we’ll look at the top five incident reporting tools that will make your job, and the jobs of your employees, far easier!

So, what are the top five incident reporting tools?

  1. Incident reporting form
  2. Cloud-based storage
  3. Mobile devices
  4. Incident management software
  5. Commercial test management tool

Without the right data collection tools, incident reporting can seem like a never ending mountain of paperwork. Between safety walkthroughs, audits and training, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

But with the right tools, you can share everything in real-time, save a ton of time on filing, storage and reclamation, and improve your workplace’s safety too!

 

Incident reporting doesn’t have to consume all your time from other important tasks. Data gathering tools can help you gather incident reports more efficiently, and more accurately, helping improve your safety decisions and build a strong safety culture in your organization.

Ready to find out more?

Then let’s dive right in!

Incident reporting tool 1. Incident reporting form

Top on our list of incident reporting tools is the humble incident reporting form.

It’s doesn’t matter whether the report is paper-based or electronic, or whether it’s stored locally or in the cloud.

You need one!

So, what separates an okay incident reporting form from a truly great one?

In last week’s post, we shared the six key elements that every good incident report should include.

In case you missed it, the six key elements are every good incident report should have are:

  1. Holistic
  2. Accurate
  3. Objective
  4. Comprehensive
  5. Data-driven
  6. Cloud-based

Want to know more about these key elements? Then read our full guide to the six key elements in a good incident report.

But if you’re looking for a quick summary, here goes:

1. Holistic

Good incident report forms take a holistic approach to incident reporting. This means that they cover all types of incidents including lagging indicators (reports of incidents taken after they have finished) and leading indicators (those that indicate the risk of an incident occurring).

The four main types of incidents are:

  • Near misses
    Situations where people could have been injured, but, luckily nothing came to pass.
  • No harm events
    Operational risks that all staff across an organization should be made aware of.
  • Adverse events
    Adverse events are related to medicines, medical devices, and vaccines.
  • Sentinel events
    Sentinel events are unexpected events that result in any type of harm.

2. Accurate

Good incident reports contain enough space for accurate details that leave little room for ambiguity or misinterpretation.

3. Objective

Incident reports should be fact-based, and not based on opinions or subjective comments.

4. Comprehensive

As noted by Safe Work Australia‘s best-practice guidelines for Australian businesses, all notifiable incidents MUST be reported to the local authorities. Therefore, incident reports should contain enough data to help key safety professionals in an organization investigate the incident and determine the root cause.

5. Data-driven

With companies increasingly moving towards incident reporting software, the best incident report forms are data-driven. Employees can attach photos, videos, audio recordings and other annotations and notes to any report they create and submit.

6. Cloud-based

The sixth element of good incident report forms is cloud functionality. Cloud-based software means that any employee can access the system from any smartphone or tablet. Offline capabilities mean that even remote users without an internet connection can capture data such as photos and audio files and then sync with the cloud when they regain connectivity.

Incident reporting tool 2. Cloud-based storage

When it comes to incident reporting, cloud-storage one of the most important tools. We’ve already touched on the benefits of using a cloud-based incident report, but you can also use cloud storage with a range of other offline options.

As we explained in our comprehensive guide to incident reporting systems, at the simplest level, you can use a cloud-based spreadsheet service such as Google Sheets to record, log and investigate incidents, accidents and near-misses. By sharing access to this file across your organization you can benefit from the following benefits:

  • Efficient management of workplace incidents
  • Real-time updates for all members of your organization
  • Unlimited storage of reports, attachments, and data.

Cloud-based storage lets you use real-time alerts, detailed incident reports, and actionable data to better equip employees to handle incidents safely.

To unlock the full benefits of cloud-based storage, you need cloud-based incident reporting software. This empowered your employees by letting them access your incident management system from any device and submit a report at the time and place of their choosing.

Cloud-based software offers the ultimate in convenience, giving you an efficient, secure solution to storing reports online and letting you respond quickly to field events with the minimum of fuss.

You can:

  • Capture and report incidents
  • Manage and collaborate incident responses
  • Notify team members about upcoming events and react to developments
  • Review and summarize steps that help minimize risk
  • Generate reports that help address safety issues

Wondering how cloud-based incident reporting software does all this?

Think of all the old paper incident reports that your organization keeps in a binder. Cloud-based incident reporting software lifts these forms to the cloud where members of your organization can access them via the web on any mobile device as and when required.

A cloud-based approach lets you:

  • Generate and submit incident reports from any computer or mobile device.
  • Create your own customized incident report forms that contain exactly the data you need.
  • Upload photos, videos and audio files to any report.
  • Create incident reports even when your device is offline.

Incident reporting tool 3: Mobile devices

Many firms choose to invest in cloud-based incident reporting software for the numerous advantages that this approach offers over paper-based systems. But the key tool that makes this possible is the humble mobile device. That’s why the third tool on our list that will make your life easier is mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

To get the most out of a cloud-based approach to incident reporting, you need a mobile device such as:

  • Phone
  • Tablet
  • Hybrid tablet/laptop

Cloud-based incident reporting and mobile devices go together like peanut butter and jelly; cloud-based systems are device-agnostic meaning that they work as web apps on any device, regardless of manufacturer and platform (Windows, Android, iOS).

Most leading software also offers native Android and iOS apps designed to work specifically on those operating systems. This means that employees can even use their personal computers, phones or tablets to access the incident reporting system and generate and submit their own reports.

Why mobile devices?

Mobile devices are highly portable, so employees can generate incident reports on the spot, instead of having to wait until they have access to a computer before making reports. Mobile devices are packed full of useful tech that lets users:

  • Take photos of the incident and attach to the report
  • Take audio recordings of victims or witnesses
  • Take video clips showing damage
  • Annotate and/or illustrate media to provide investigators with helpful tools

Tool 4: Incident management software

So far, we’ve already touched on some examples of how incident management software helps organizations. While it is possible to use the first three tools – incident report forms, cloud-storage, and mobile devices – to develop an effective incident reporting system, most companies decide to invest in dedicated incident management software.

Listen.

Incident management software is an all-inclusive solution to efficiently contain and manage workplace incidents. The software provides everything a company needs to run its incident reporting strategy.

This includes:

  • The incident report form
  • The cloud-based storage
  • The management apps for mobile devices

Incident management systems let organizations use real-time alerts and detailed incident reports to help employees to handle incidents safely. They are perfect for small and medium businesses in any industry, from entrepreneurs to educational institutes and even non-profits.

The software provides everything a company needs to improve its incident management, including:

  • Training (in-person and live online)
  • Webinars
  • Documentation
  • Support

If your organization is looking to drive operational excellence, incident reporting software could be what you need.

Incident reporting tool 5: Commercial test management tool

The fifth incident reporting tool on our list is the commercial test management tool. If you’re serious about incident reporting, this tool is absolutely invaluable. Commercial tests are an essential aspect of running an organization and having a specific management tool to help you report the statistics and metrics from any incidents that occur is a must.

Why invest in a commercial test management tool?

Test management tools help you:

  • Gather invaluable stats about incidents including the total number of incidents reported, whether they are open or closed, the number of incidents with each status and the average open time.
  • Prioritize incidents according to available resources and manpower.
  • Attachment storage – you can collect screenshots of incident reports and file them alongside the incident reports.
  • Assign actions to members of your organization such as conducting confirmation tests and fixing issues.

Having the right commercial test management tool makes reporting incidents and making observations on the go a breeze with any device. You can customize the reporting categories, assign people to specific roles, add images and use statistics to analyse the risks and trends present in your organization.

Why is this helpful?

Your organization’s business process relies on your reacting and responding to incidents in a timely, effective manner. An incident may start in the field, but the response will be decided away from the field. A comprehensive commercial test management tool helps ensure that all relevant stakeholders have the data and facts necessary to formulate the ideal response. You’ll never miss an important field event when you invest in a commercial test management tool.

What are some of the benefits of commercial test management tools?

At a senior management level, test management tools offer three main benefits to any organization.

  • Identifying the most common incidents
  • Developing your safety systems and safety culture
  • Scheduled maintenance and repairs

Let’s explore these exciting benefits!

Identifying the most common incidents
To work towards developing a safer workplace environment, the senior managers need access to up-to-date information about the most common types of incidents that occur. While it’s true that you can gather most information from your OSHA logs, having a commercial test management tool automates the process, eliminating errors and giving you more accurate data. This makes management’s job easier and lets them focus resources on areas where the majority of incidents are occurring.

Developing your safety systems and safety culture
The second main benefit of investing in a commercial test management tool is that it increases accountability for your staff. By giving them the tools and software necessary to report incidents in a timely, comprehensive manner, you make them accountable for incidents.

Commercial test management tools help you assign duties to staff and automatically track their progress, sending them reminder emails if work stalls or if a deadline is missed. This helps create a better safety culture in your organization by involving everyone in safety tasks.

Scheduled maintenance and repairs
A commercial test management tool ensures that your systems and process are regularly inspected and lets you know when your equipment is due for maintenance. This helps you schedule maintenance and repairs to prevent serious incidents and manage your budget cost-effectively. By streamlining your maintenance schedules, you can significantly reduce the loss of tools and equipment. This won’t just save your organization money; it will keep all aspects of your operations much safer.

Closing thoughts

In this guide, we’ve covered the top five incident reporting tools that will make your job easier. A well-designed incident reporting form will help your staff report incidents with enough detail for further investigations to understand what happened. Cloud-based storage and mobile devices will ensure that all members of your organization can create, save and share reports in real-time wherever they are. Rounding off our list, having comprehensive incident management software and a commercial test management tool will help you keep ahead of the curve on your organization’s incident management.

Good luck!

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6 Key Elements to Include in a Good Incident Report

Is your organization is aiming for a ‘zero’ target on all accidents?

If so, you’ll appreciate the importance of having a good incident reporting system in place.

A strong system will help you track, monitor and respond to accidents and incidents as and when they occur. This will in turn help create a safer working environment for all members of staff.

But what should a good incident report look like? What should it contain? And how much detail is ‘enough’?

In this post, we’ll answer those questions and more by outlining the six key elements that every good incident report should contain. We promise to show you exactly what to include and, just as importantly, what to leave out.

The six key elements to include in a good incident report are:

  1. Holistic
  2. Accurate
  3. Objective
  4. Comprehensive
  5. Data-driven
  6. Cloud-based

Before we start discussing these elements in more detail, let’s start with the basics.

What is an incident report?

Incident reporting is the process of documenting any critical event that occurs on an organization’s premises. Incidents could involve company employees, contractors, visitors or even the general public.

A good incident report should help the organization document all workplace injuries, accidents and near-misses, no matter how minor or complex.

What is considered an incident?

‘Incident’ is quite a broad-ranging term.

It could mean:

  • An event
  • A condition, or
  • A situation

Most commonly, incidents are thought of as an event, such as a trip, a fall or a workplace accident.

For example, Australian businesses must comply with the model WHS Act which stipulates that regulators are informed about notifiable incidents such as the death of a person, a serious injury or illness or any dangerous incident that exposes any person to a serious risk.

But an incident could also be a condition – such as a manufacturing error that necessitates a product recall.

An incident could also be a situation such as an unsafe area of an organization’s premises flagged up in a safety walkthrough.

So, how do you define what is and what isn’t an incident?

As a rule of thumb, an incident will be something that:

  • Disrupts or interferes with an organizations’ business
  • Affects the operational systems of an organization
  • Poses a risk to members of an organization, or contractors, visitors or customers.
  • Creates negative attention (public perception or media attention)

A good incident report should help document all of these incidents and more!

What makes a good incident report?

An incident report is an important tool that is used to document any event, condition or situation that may cause injury to people or damage to an organization’s property.

Incident reports can be paper-based or electronically generated and are a way of capturing and documenting any of the following things:

  • Accidents
  • Injuries
  • Near-misses
  • Property damage
  • Equipment damage
  • Health and safety issues
  • Security breaches (physical or electronic)
  • Workplace misconduct issues
  • Potential risks (when used as part of a Safety document), and
  • Uncontrolled hazards

6 Key Elements to Include in a Good Incident Report

What separates a standard incident report from a good one?

Critically, a good incident report will help a company in three key ways.

These are:

  • Investigating incidents
  • Analysing incidents
  • Predicting/reducing the chances of future incidents occurring

To do this, the report must have enough information so that organizations can:

  • Determine the root cause of an incident
  • Decide the best corrective action for eliminating the risks
  • Taking steps to prevent future occurrences

Now that we’ve covered the groundwork and we’re all on the same page, let’s dive right into the six key elements that make up a good incident report!

Element 1. Holistic

The first key element of a good incident report is that it should be holistic. Key stakeholders in any organization, such as managers, HR personnel, and safety officials, must be aware of various situations and events that occur.

It’s no good if the incident report only deals with one type of incidents such as physical accidents, or near-misses – it should be holistic and provide a way for incidents of all types to be reported quickly and effectively.

When we talk about a holistic approach to incident reporting, there are two main types of indicators:

  • Lagging indicators
  • Leading indicators

Let’s look at these two indicators more closely!

Lagging indicators
Lagging indicators refer to incidents that are reported after they have occurred, such as:

  • Recorded injuries
  • Citations
  • Employee compensation claims

As lagging indicators are reported retrospectively – after the fact – your organization must use the collected data to inform decisions about what actions to take in the future to prevent them from occurring again.

Leading indicators
Leading indicators, on the other hand, are those that are recorded before actual accidents or injuries have occurred.

These include:

  • Near misses
  • Behavioural observations
  • Safety meetings
  • Job observations
  • Training records

Leading indicators can be tracked to indicate the likelihood of incidents occurring in the future. Most of these metrics will not be reported on an incident report form. However, where we need to focus our attention is on ‘near misses’.

Some organizations would include ‘Near-misses’ as a lagging indicator as they are recorded after the fact. When we talk about a good incident report form being holistic, we mean that it covers all types of incidents, including near misses. This data can be used to reduce risk and prevent future incidents from occurring.

Holistic also means that the incident report form covers the four main types of incidents.

  • Near misses
    These are situations where people could have been injured, but, luckily nothing came to pass. These are like ‘free passes’ that give you the opportunity to learn from and correct poor situations without having to suffer the consequences of a workplace incident. Near misses need to be reported as important lagging and leading indicators.
  • No harm events
    The second type of incidents that needs to be reported are so-called ‘no harm events’. A good incident report form will help communicate and raise awareness of these incidents across an organization to raise awareness of what might happen in the future. For example, if two types of chemicals used during a production process are found to react together adversely, this would be classified as a no-harm event. Staff across the entire organization should be made aware of this operational risk.
  • Adverse events
    Adverse events are related to medicines, medical devices, and vaccines. They occur during patient treatment or management, rather than from a pre-existing condition.
  • Sentinel events
    Sentinel events are unexpected events that resulted in any type of harm (physical, psychological, etc.) such as trips, falls, vehicle accidents, the outbreaks of diseases, and natural disasters.

A good incident report will cover all four types of incidents listed above to offer organizations a holistic view of all incidents that occur on their premises or affect their staff.

6 Key Elements to Include in a Good Incident Report

Element 2: Accurate

The second essential element of a good incident report form is accuracy. To be effective, an incident report should be specific and concise. It should avoid vague or easily misinterpreted language and phrases that may cause confusion and instead keep things on point.

The report should always be proofread to check for typos and spelling errors. Many companies are moving towards incident reporting software that automatically spellchecked reports when they are created.

However, some errors can only be spotted by humans. These include:

  • Details of peoples’ names
  • Dates and times of the incidents
  • Contact numbers

For this reason, it’s worth having a second person proofread the report to spot and correct glaring errors.

Here’s an example of how a good incident report could be structured to keep it concise:

Enter job description:_______________________________________

Date and time of the incident

  • Date:________________________________________________
  • Time:_______________________________________________

What was the Incident/ Near Miss?

Were there any injuries?

  • Yes
  • No

Was there any damage to property or plant?

  • Yes
  • No

What caused the incident?____________________________________

A clearly laid out incident report will help keep all details concise and will avoid confusion.

Element 3: Objective

The third key element of a good incident report is that is should be supported by facts and be objective, rather than being biased. Reports of incidents should be free from bias and opinions, and should instead focus on the facts at hand. Rather than appointing blame, the incident report must create a picture of both sides of the story.

How?

There are several ways to put objectivity at the heart of an incident report.

Firstly, your organization could stipulate that the person who submits an incident report form must take photos of the surrounding environment including annotations. This centres the report on visual evidence of the event or incident, instead of based on opinionated and biased statements.

Secondly, if the report includes statements from patients and/or witnesses, you could stipulate that the person completing the incident report quotes them, instead of paraphrasing.

This is important because, depending on the severity of the incident, the incident report should be submitted to an investigation team to further study and look for the root causes. The primary purpose of this investigation isn’t to find fault but to develop corrective actions to prevent similar incidents from occurring.

In the event of negligence and/or criminal culpability, this will be referred to the relevant legal authorities. The purpose of the incident investigation is to collect and analyse the information and evidence. This process will be far smoother if safety professionals have photographic evidence and witness quotes to work from.

Element 4: Comprehensive

The fourth key element in a good incident report is comprehensiveness. The report must cover all related essential questions including:

  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • Why, and
  • How

This includes not just the names of people who were injured or affected, but also details of people who witness and reported the incidents.

The report should cover:

  • The names of witnesses
  • The names of those who will conduct further investigate
  • Significant details that may be needed for further study and investigation

Element 5: Data-driven

The fifth key element of good incident reports is that they are data-driven. They should make use of as much data as possible to create the fullest possible picture of what happened.

For example:

  • Photos
  • Annotations
  • Diagrams
  • Illustrations
  • Audio recordings of witness statements
  • Electronic signature capture

These types of data will help build a complete picture of the nature of the injuries, damage, or surrounding environment at the time of the incident and will complement the written evidence provided in the report.

Giving your employees the ability to capture signatures electronically is extremely helpful. Those involved in the incident (e.g. victim, witnesses, manager, reporter, etc.) can sign off to testify and validate the accuracy of any information they submitted to the incident report. This helps to confirm that the incident report is truthful and accurate.

A good incident report will include space for the following details:

  • Actions to be taken to eliminate future repeats of the incident
  • Management comments
  • Employee sign off
  • Supervisor sign off when corrective actions have been adopted and monitored.

Element 6: Cloud-based

The sixth key element of a good incident report is that it should be cloud-based. All incident reports should be properly stored as an important record for every organization. Paper-based incident reports are time-consuming to store, access and manage – and that’s where cloud-based incident reporting software offers undeniable advantages.

Cloud-based incident reports can help streamline an organization’s entire incident reporting process, from recording, storing, tracking and investigating all types of incidents, dangerous conditions, and near-misses.

This is extremely helpful when it comes to ensuring regulatory compliance. According to guidance from Safe Work Australia Australian businesses must immediately notify their regulator about notifiable incidents such as the death of a person, a serious injury or illness and a dangerous incident that exposes any person to a serious risk.

Cloud-based incident reporting systems help by offering the following benefits:

  • Paperless incident reports can be generated by a range of hand-held devices, regardless of type or platform.
  • Report takers can attach unlimited photographic evidence with notes and annotations to their incident reports.
  • Software incident reports can include a wide range of supporting types of evidence not available to paper-based reports. This includes audio files of witness statements, electronic signature capture, photos, and video files.
  • Paperless reports can be generated without employees having to leave the site and then uploaded and shared in real-time with all members of the organization who have permission to view.
  • Cloud-based incident reporting solutions offer unlimited storage space for easy record keeping.

Taking your next steps

If you were curious about the six key elements of a good incident report, that’s about it.

Good incident reports will feature all of these six key elements and help ensure that organizations keep on top of their incident reporting. If your organization is looking to make smarter incident reporting decisions, drive operational excellence and create a culture of continuous safety improvement, having a good incident report form is essential.

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