ultimate Guide to choose the right OHS management software

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right OHS Management Software

What is this guide about?

Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) software has become a vital part of the IT package for many businesses. But what exactly is it and how can you choose the best OHS management software for your organisation? To answer these questions, we have created our Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right OHS Management Software.

This guide covers a wide range of topics, including how to how to switch from paper to software, how to use software to improve employee safety, and how to choose the right OHS solution for your business. Whether you are planning to pursue a health and safety accreditation for your business or are simply tired sifting through piles of paper, our guide will provide you with everything you need to know about choosing the right OHS management software.

Contents

1. What is OHS Management Software?
2. Why is OHS Management Software important?
3. Paper to software: Why should you change?
4. Build vs Buy: Which is right for your organization?
5. How to choose the right OHS management software
6. Taking your next steps

1. What is OHS Management Software?

OHS Management Software is the backbone of a company’s safety management system. It offers a systemic approach to managing health and safety and helps ensure that a business complies will all current Health and Safety legislation. The software should be able to cover the complete spectrum of an organization’s OHS process.

Some of the key elements covered by leading OHS Management Software include:

  • Health and safety workplace policy
  • The process for accident and ill-health prevention
  • Procedures and resources for developing the OHS policy

2. Why is OHS Management Software important?

Organizations without OHS Management Software may lack a structured system for health and safety and can feel as though they are fighting an uphill battle against ever-changing rules and regulations. OHS management software helps a business minimize risk to their employees and reduce the likelihood of an incident. This protects the business and its reputation, by helping to ensure that day-to-day operations run smoothly.

But preventing accidents and reducing risk is only one small part of what OHS management software can do. OHS management software also promotes business efficiency by enabling long-term health and safety planning, including training requirements and resource needs. This lowers costs and helps keep businesses aware of the latest legislation.

OHS management software can also help organisations communicate health and safety requirements to all of their employees. This helps the business avoid expensive fines that can result from failing to comply with health and safety laws. Recently, businesses in tenders have been required to have a certified OHS management system in place, making them essential for general business.

3. Paper to software: Why should you change?

Many businesses are starting to adopt OHS management software to modernize and streamline their health and safety processes. If you are still managing your health and safety management processes with paper, here are five reasons to consider making the change to OHS management software.

Better compliance

Many health and safety duties are time-sensitive and it may cause problems if employees forget to check written tasks or reports. Unlike paper-based systems, OHS management software can give automated prompts and reminders to employees. It can also keep your organization updated on the latest legislative changes, and ensure complete regulatory compliance.

Less clutter

Paper-based OHS management systems may not be viable for many medium and large businesses. They take up valuable office space and documents are difficult to sort through. This hampers an organization’s efforts to increase levels of efficiency. Online or cloud-based OHS management systems let you store limitless files without the need for physical filing cabinets. This can be especially useful for smaller businesses with premises where space is at a premium.

Improved collaboration

Digital documentation makes it easier to identify the origin of a document and track any changes made. Files are easier to sort and manage compared with paper documents that can be lost or misplaced. This makes collaboration easier and reduces the time spent looking for specific files or documents.

Improved security

Software systems reduce the chances of documents being lost or destroyed. They also make it easier to have inspections, and for staff to have offsite meetings, work remotely or work from home, without any risk of documents being lost.

Lower costs

OHS management software lets you restrict access to certain documents, or make them available at will, as you see fit. While data loss is still possible, making a back-up on hard drives is simpler and cheaper than backing up paper documents. While there are initial costs of implementing an OHS management software system, organizations will likely see a return on their investment in terms of reduced storage costs.

4. Build vs Buy: Which is right for your organization?

You’ve decided that your organization needs OHS management software but with many different options available, which should you choose?

Your main options are:

  • Build a software solution yourself (in-house)
  • Bring one in (buy software or use a cloud-based solution)
  • Adopt a hybrid approach

To understand which approach could suit your organization, it’s important to understand the differences between managing your own software in-house and buying software or using a cloud-based OHS management system. In this guide, we’ll be exploring the advantages and disadvantages of each option and then offering some tips for choosing the right OHS solution for your business.

Cloud-based OHS management systems

Cloud-based OHS management systems offer a number of benefits and disadvantages compared with in-house software solutions.

Advantages

Cloud-based OHS management systems can help:

  • Minimize capital expenditure
    Cloud OHS management systems allow access to recourses without large capital expenditures. They are great for startups where cash flow is tight. The pricing model is ‘pay for what you use’.
  • Disaster recovery
    Cloud-based backups minimize the risk that sensitive health and safety data is lost.
  • Immediate capacity
    If you need to sudden increase or decrease the amount of data you store, cloud-based options excel at providing flexibility and are highly scalable.

Disadvantages

Cloud-based OHS management software isn’t always superior to building in-house OHS solutions. Examples of drawbacks include:

  • Skyrocketing fees
    Startups and small organizations may be tempted to sign up for cloud-based OHS management software services and then find that the fees skyrocket as their usage increases.
  • Poor performance
    With data stored in the cloud, the speed of the service is dependent on internet connection speeds and the location of the servers where the data is stored.
  • Cybersecurity issues
    Cloud-based OHSB management solutions may expose organizations to cybersecurity issues that in-house IT software wouldn’t.

In-house OHS management software

Developing your own OHS management software has a range of advantages and disadvantages compared with using a cloud-based solution.

Advantages

Developing OHS management software in-house typically offers the following benefits:

  • Higher security
    In-house software can help shield a company from the risk of cybersecurity threats that using a cloud-based service may expose them to. In some cases, cyber-security attacks may lead to a breach of data. In-house software carries a lower risk as most variables are within the company’s control.
  • Improved performance and reliability
    If properly set up, in-house software can offer better performance and reliability that public or shared cloud-based solutions. This is because many cloud service providers operate their service via dispersed locations, creating latency issues that users are often forced to pay exorbitant fees to avoid. Organizations that own their own infrastructure and develop their own OHS management software have complete control over their OHS management: they can implement new features, make fixes, or initiate changes without being reliant on a cloud provider.
  • Lower costs
    While in-house software has a high initial development cost that cloud-based OHS management software, it may prove to be more cost-effective over time, if managed correctly. It depends on the monthly cost. For some large organizations, the monthly cost of using a cloud-based solution (say AU$30,000) may exceed the cost of developing software in house. On the other hand, some companies, especially startups, with limited data requirements will find that cloud-storage offers the best value.

Disadvantages

Developing OHS management software in-house may have the following drawbacks:

  • High set-up costs
    Developing in-house OHS management software requires a significant up-front investment, compared with using cloud-based software.
  • Lack of scalability
    While cloud services operate on a ‘pay-what-you-use’ model and are easy to scale, in-house management software will require further investment if your data requirements increase.

5. How to choose the right OHS management software

You’ll likely hear many differing opinions as to whether it’s better to build a software solution yourself or bring one in. Ultimately, your choice will be guided by the following five essential considerations.

These are:

  • Connected processes
  • GDPR procedures
  • Mobile capabilities
  • Transparency
  • Engaging your workforce

We’ll look at each of these areas to help you weigh up which approach would best suit your organization. You’ll want to use these considerations to decide which OHS management software would work for you.

Connected processes

If you’re interested in making your work life a lot easier, you may be interested in buying OHS management software that uses a ‘connected processes’ model. This model helps ensure that all staff can track changes made to any of your health and safety documents. You can see the origin of documents and view any changes or updates made and the date they were made. This connected system makes safety management far simpler and helps keep all staff up to date on the latest changes. OHS management software built around a connected system ensures that your company is always in compliance with the latest OHS legislation.

GDPR procedures

If your organization operates in any markets where the EU’s GDPR must be implemented, you’ll likely already know how important this is for health and safety. Your HR department and IT experts have probably already been sent on courses so that they know how to comply with GDPR. If this is a consideration for your business, bringing in OHS management software can help ensure that you comply with GDPR rules at all times.

Mobile capabilities

If you want your staff to have access to your OHS documents in an easy-to-use way, buying OHS management software can help. The latest software packages offer specialised apps that offer your staff a secure way to view and manage documents on the go, whether they are meeting remotely, working from home or having an off-site meeting. If mobile capabilities are important for your business, bringing in OHS management software may be more economical than trying to develop your own mobile app in-house.

Transparency

When choosing the right OHS management software for your business, you need to be aware of transparency. If you are keen to buy software, look carefully at the pricing model used by the company and check for hidden costs. For example, some cloud-based models may charge you based on the number of admins you have, dramatically increasing your monthly costs. You’ll want to carefully examine pricing when weighing up whether to develop your own software in-house or bring one in. Investing in OHS management software solution can be nerve-racking, so you must have complete clarity on the costs before you start transforming your health and safety management system with a software or cloud-based solution.Transparency of your data is another consideration. Many businesses worry about control and access to their data, making is a significant factor in choosing to implement OSH management software. If bringing in software, look at the safeguards in place to ensure that your data remains secure and protected at all times. If data security is a high priority, it may make sense to develop your own OHS management software in-house.

Engaging your workforce

If you want to make health and safety a priority in your organization, it is vital that your employees feel engaged. They must find it as easy as possible to report incidents or hazards and management must feel comfortable conducting regular safety checks and tasks. One reason to bring in an OHS management software solution is that it helps foster a positive safety culture within your business.With a comprehensive software solution, employees feel like participants in safety procedures, not passive observers. They feel empowered to make a difference but highlighting unsafe aspects of your business and helping you to improve. How? Some software solutions offer a mobile app that lets users submit incident reports and observations. This eliminates paper-based reporting and helps boost engagement among employees who feel more comfortable using a social-media style app.

6. Taking your next steps

These five important considerations should help you find the best OHS management software solution for your organization. Making radical changes to your health and safety system can be daunting, but with the right approach, you can confidently choose the right solution.

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