What are the benefits of an online permit to work solution?

Are you still using a paper based system to manage your permits to work? With an online permit to work solution, you can streamline the process and ensure that you’re fully compliant on site and beyond.

An integrated and safe online system will allow you to increase safety and keep all of your important information together. In turn, this can save money, time and decrease risks that can wreak havoc within your business. Get things done quickly and compliantly with an online permit to work solution, and discover the benefits of moving your permit to work documents online.

Why use an online permit to work software?

1. Online permits to work are much safer

Paper is the more traditional method, however as everything moves to digital, your business risks falling behind if you don’t ensure that your documents are digitally stored. With all permits centrally stored, with dates and certifications easily attached to an individual file, you’ll be able to stay on top of everyone’s permits and minimise risks.

Remaining compliant is essential, not just from a legal perspective, but from a health and safety and insurance perspective too. If you miss off or lose important pieces of information because your paper filing isn’t up to the job then your business could be at serious risk. It’s much easier to use an online software solution that issues permits to work and flags if you might be at risk of non compliance, than try to manage it yourself with a paper system.

2. Online permit to work solutions mean faster sign off

With an online system, you’ll be able to send the relevant documents to the person that needs to see them quickly and easily. Paper can be hard to get in front of the right person, is easy to lose and inevitably takes a lot longer to sign off on than an online document.

An online permit to work allows you to issue real-time permits that can be updated and edited as the project goes along. This speeds up the whole process from issuing the permit to managing it, and makes it everyone’s responsibility to stay on top of essential business safety admin. 

3. Your documents will be organised more effectively

No one really likes doing the essential paperwork, but when everything is organised nicely by an online solution, it makes things a lot easier. Tasks can be ordered by number, site and date so that you can access the information you need quickly and easily.

Having all of the information centrally located means that when the job is finished you can close the forms and more on. In this sense, you won’t have loads of paper with confidential information that needs to be destroyed or filed after the job is finished. With an online system you’ll always have access to the information you need on your contractors without having piles of paper around you.

4. Everyone will be able to use the software from different devices

When you need a permit to work to be issued quickly, paper is no good. With mobile technology meaning that everyone can access the important documents in the palm of their hands, online permit solutions help keep front line workers in the loop.

This means that your business can run smoothly without any disruptions as contractors will be able to quickly and easily complete their permit to work pre-arriving on site.

5. You’ll make your manager’s lives easier

With an online permit to work solution, managers can quickly identify and rectify any conflicting work activities without having to go through lots of paperwork. With the paper trail that is provided for all permits, your team leaders will be able to see everything in one place. Plus, new users will be guided through the system quickly and easily.

We know that motivating your people to fill in all the relevant paperwork correctly isn’t always easy, so making the process more simple for them is a sure fire way to encourage them to get it done.

Are you looking for the perfect online permit to work solution for your business? Take a look at Beakon’s offering and start your business’ journey to paperless today!

 

 

What is a permit to work software?

During the current crisis, businesses are being offered the opportunity to slow down and reflect on the business processes that run without us thinking. Of these crucial processes is the permit to work process.

Often, the need for a permit to work is a pretty urgent requirement, so the focus is on getting it done quickly rather than ensuring that the software or process behind getting it issued is streamlined.

To help you decide whether your permit to work process is working for you or against you, we’re explaining what a permit to work software is and how it can boost your business.

Why are permits to work important?

A permit to work is an essential legal requirement for tasks that have the potential to affect the health and safety of other people. Essentially, we need permits to work to ensure that the people doing the job are qualified and able to do the job safely.

The permit to work proves that the person carrying out the task has the relevant certifications and skills to do so safely, and takes into account any conflicting tasks or hazards that may arise on the job. It’s essential that the permit to work is issued, or the individual may be working illegally.

One of the main purposes of a permit to work is to assign a responsible person to each task, so that risk assessment and safety checks are performed at each stage. A permit to work will set out procedures and instructions for the task at hand, and should localise all the relevant information such as expiry dates, work history and certifications so that it’s easy to see whether the individual is qualified for the task.

What is a permit to work software?

Traditionally, a permit to work could be issued by hand effectively. This would involve lots of paperwork, which could easily be lost. If you’re reading this and thinking ‘we still do it by hand’, we’re here to tell you that there’s a much better way!

A permit to work software replaces the old paper-based system, saving you time and limiting the mistakes that can be made as a result of working with paper. This software allows you to streamline the process and improve functionality, as well as integrating the permit to work process with other management software products like risk management and task management.

What should permit to work software include?

Permit to work software should be easy to use and should be set up to compliment other business workflows and processes. It should ensure that the approvals are easy to obtain from the relevant person and then are displayed clearly with dates and certifications attached for reference.

A permit to work software should be able to:

  • Issue permit to work
  • Collate information together clearly
  • Deal with permit approvals
  • Keep records of permit history and access history
  • Work on an array of devices 

Beakon Permit To Work Software

The Beakon permit to work software is used by some of the world’s largest companies in high-risk sectors, and has been rigorously tested to ensure that it offers all of the functionality to manage your site safely.

Our system helps contractors, employees, and site visitors remain compliant so that you don’t have to chase them. You can also reduce cost of risks, non-compliance, administration, as well as delays caused by document loss. 

Most importantly, Beakon’s Permit to Work system reduces the likelihood of safety breaches in the workplace. All actions are logged, time stamped, and recorded, providing a easily-accessible audit trail.

Take control of your site access quickly and easily; contact Beakon today and find out how our Permit to Work System can protect your staff and business.

4 reasons spreadsheets aren’t always the answer

If you’ve recently started working from home, you probably already know the stresses and strains of working with spreadsheets. Whilst they can be an effective way to manage information, they are not always the best solution to dealing with large sums of important data – which they’re often used for.

We completely understand how it’s done. We’ve all been there. You started an excel spreadsheet years ago, filled it with important information and now it’s become too big to stop adding to it. You need a new solution but you’re putting it off until the time is right.

If that sounds like you, here’s why you need to move away from spreadsheets and think about a more tailored solution for your business.

Spreadsheets aren’t always easy to share (especially if they’re big!)

If you’ve ever tried to share a spreadsheet, you’ll have noticed that the first issue you have is usually that the file is too big for most email providers. This can be a real pain and can make security an issue if you have to use a third party sharing platform to get the spreadsheet to other members of your team.

Once you have successfully shared it, you may have noticed that often the features of the spreadsheet won’t have pulled through – this is especially true for excel. Once the spreadsheet has been shared, often you can’t add features like conditional formatting, data validation, lists and pivot tables.

Whilst spreadsheets do allow you to create a shared workbook, they are often tricky to send and once they are sent, often things don’t work as they did before which can waste time and cause confusion.

Editing isn’t as easy as other platforms

Only one person can use most spreadsheets at once. Even in cloud-based spreadsheets, active edits can only be accessed by one person, which means that you could be doubling up on work or working from the wrong information due to a sharing delay. If you have remote workers who need to work collaboratively, or see data in real-time, then this can be an issue.

Spreadsheets are also harder to edit as they can’t be integrated into other systems for automatic updating. In short, editing spreadsheets is a lot trickier than having your own tailored platform or software that is specifically designed for the amount of people in your team. 

They’re vulnerable to errors

Spreadsheets rely on human experience, and this means one thing – human error. In fact, Oracle has estimated that 90% of spreadsheets have errors. Of course, in a spreadsheet with lots of data, one tiny mistake can cause a whole host of problems.

Spreadsheets make it easy for human errors to occur as their features like lack of check and balances make them harder to use than a system that is designed for the exact kind of information you are entered.

They’re very generic

Spreadsheets can be amazing tools for a variety of tasks, however if you have a specific business need they can hold your business back. Whilst your competitors might have different software systems for each individual task, if you’re using a spreadsheet to do everything it’s likely that you’re going to fall behind.

Spreadsheets are generic, which means that they can’t always manage your data as well as other systems. For example, it’s much more effective to use a contractor management software for contractor data, learning management systems for keeping track of employee training, and a risk register software instead of a spreadsheet with recorded incidents.

If you’re ready to start improving your business tools and moving away from spreadsheets to keep your compliance and safety on track, take a look at our software offering

 

How to manage a workforce in the face of a pandemic

It’s official – we’re in the grips of a pandemic.

Whilst that can be a cause for panic, with the right tools and team behind you, businesses can survive and even thrive in the current conditions. If you’re struggling to know how to handle the current coronavirus outbreak, take a look at our tips on how to manage a workforce in the face of a pandemic.

What is Covid-19?

Covid-19 was first reported back in December in Wuhan, China and has since spread across the globe. According to the government guidelines on Coronaviruses, they’re a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections. These can range from the common cold to more serious diseases.

As most of us know, this new coronavirus that has emerged can have serious implications and causes symptoms such as fever, flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue and shortness of breath.

Due to the contagious nature of the disease, many countries are going into self-isolation, which has caused disruptions to businesses in Australia and beyond. In light of the Covid-19 situation, businesses need to come up with new ways to manage and supervise their workforce remotely.

How can companies manage their employees effectively?

Here are some tips on how to manage your people during this turbulent time:

  • Ensure you have the infrastructure in place to support working from home

When we think about the infrastructure necessary for our people to be able to effectively work from home, often we think about the laptops, mobile phones, printers and other technology that is required. However, they’re not the only essentials that need to be considered. The infrastructure needed whilst employees work remotely includes the need to effectively manage risk and keeping you on the right track when it comes to safety and compliance too.

  • Be sure to put safety first

It goes without saying that employee safety should be the main concern of any business at the moment. This is likely to mean that employees will need to work from home in order to stop the spread of Coronavirus. It’s essential that measures are taken to keep everyone safe and well and that any incidents are tracked. A safety management software can help you record incidents and work out the associated costs too.

  • Find effective ways to communicate hours worked

Before your people start working from home, it’s a good idea to discuss how hours will be tracked and whether employees will need to record their hours of work (for example, in relation to annualised wages).

  • Use a task tracker to keep on top of things

Managing employees is hard enough when they’re in the office, so with remote work becoming more prevalent this is only becoming harder. Using a task tracker can be a great way to give your business flexible tools to allocate tasks, manage progress and keep projects on track.

How can companies manage their contractors effectively?

Casual employees and contractors are harder to manage in these uncertain times. They don’t have sick entitlement under the National Employment Standards, but it’s up to your business how you handle your contractors who may become sick from coronavirus or need to self-isolate.

Ensuring that you help your contractors manage their workload, keep on top of business admin and continue to work, could be essential to their livelihoods and also essential to running your business and keeping the economy afloat on whole.

Here’s how you can manage contractors effectively during the coronavirus outbreak.

  • Read the workplace laws

First things first, it’s a good idea to refresh your memory on what contractors are entitled to and how your business should handle contractors by law. Knowing what people are entitled to will help you negotiate their work from home terms with full transparency.

  • Assess whether they can work remotely

Ideally, contractors would be able to work remotely, however we all know that in many industries this simply isn’t possible. Assess whether their work can be completed remotely whilst they may be self-isolating and consider using software that allows you to task manage if they are going to be working remotely.

  • Deal with contractors transparently and effectively

Keep on top of everything with software that allows your contractors to login and supply any relevant information you may need whilst they work away from a manager. Reducing data entry and keeping on top of contractor work should be a priority in order to ensure time is not wasted.

Managing a workforce in the face of a pandemic isn’t going to be easy, but with some smart thinking and effective tools, your business can get through this phase. For more information, take a look at the official government guidelines on Covid-19.

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!

Related posts

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!

Related posts

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!

Related posts

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