Why should your organization leave manual processes behind? Let’s take a trip back to 1970s cinema to demonstrate. A 1973 movie called The Paper Chase told the story of James Hart, a first-year law student at Harvard, who had a demanding and arrogant professor called Charles W. Kingsfield, Jr. At a point in the movie, Hart and another student must find a secure room in the law library to get Kingsfield’s handwritten notes to prove a point for an assignment.
Hart and the other student went to a lot of trouble to find the paper document to complete the assignment. Today, thanks to software and the internet, no one at Harvard Law School has to work like Hart to complete an assignment. So, why should health and safety professionals still have to work with manual processes and paper?
This question is especially relevant in the U.S. right now – with OSHA announcing that it is expanding inspections to reduce job-size hazards related to COVID-19, so this is no time to be chasing paper. This blog looks at three additional reasons why you should leave manual health and safety processes behind.
1. Automated processes save time and money
You probably know this manual process drill—typically someone completes a form and the information in that form must be entered into a spreadsheet or a homegrown database. Nothing about this is in real-time. Entering data into a spreadsheet or siloed database is just not a good long-term solution for visibility into health and safety issues, procedures, processes, or incident.
Spreadsheets can proliferate as copies that are then altered, so no one is sure if the data they’re seeing is correct. This can lead to incomplete reporting and costly mistakes. Data in silos or papers that are filed away are difficult to access when they are needed and can be overlooked, which can adversely impact health and safety programs. Incidents might not be addressed properly, and that can increase them. But the most frustrating thing about manual processes and paper-based health and safety is that they are historical data.
Today, you can’t make sound judgments based only on past data. Health and safety technology provides the real-time information your organization needs. Real-time data visualizations can highlight hotspots that indicate a problem. You can quickly and easily assign follow-up actions to mitigate risk and reduce incidents, leading to cost savings and increased productivity. You also save time because health and safety processes are automated, you can see potential issues faster, and you can head-off future incidents sooner.
2. Automated processes significantly reduce errors and increase accuracy
No matter how well an organization manages safety, if its processes are largely manual, there will be human errors. Mistakes can’t be predicted or eliminated completely, which means that you could end up making decisions based on the wrong data, causing a ripple effect throughout your organization.
By contrast, health and safety automation improves the flow, quality and consistency of data. With health and safety technology, employees have the power to report unwanted events immediately, which delivers more consistent and higher quality data. When health and safety technology includes business intelligence and analytics, easy-to-understand dashboards improve understanding in real-time.
But that’s not all. With manual processes, a trend can be easily overlooked or can be perceived as a bigger problem than it is. Health and safety technology provides trend analysis for determining if the trend is an outlier of it requires investigation. You also have the ability to create and track health and safety key performance indicators (KPIs), using the leading metrics to drive decisions about how to improve. Summary reports and metrics presented in easy to understand, real-time dashboards can predict where preventative interventions will be most effective.
3. Automated processes reduce your risk
Siloed data, manual data input, error-prone spreadsheets, and paper chases increase your risk of serious health and safety incidents and violations due to a lack of compliance visibility. There is no real way to avoid this as long as your health and safety processes are stuck on manual. You simply can’t make insightful decisions based on all your data and have prevent a major incident or to demonstrate compliance to an auditor.
Health and safety technology will reduce risk at your organization. It enables leadership, facilitates engagement, and drives informed decisions with at the source reporting, data analysis, and business intelligence tools. To drive complete engagement across the workforce, every employee has the tools they need to make better decisions and decrease the risk of harm to workers and the company.
On top of all that, health and safety technology provides you with an audit trail to show regulatory bodies the processes you’ve put in place to keep your employees safe. With COVID-19, health and safety is more important than ever. Now that OSHA is increasing in-person inspections at all types of workplaces and issuing fines for incomplete COVID-19 recordkeeping, you will need that audit trail.
Ready to stop shuffling paper?
Talk to us about how our health and safety management software solution enables you to leave manual processes behind. We’ll give you all the details about how it provides the data, information flow, and insights needed to promote a proactive health safety culture and pass inspections with flying colors.