How can organizations embed a culture where acting safely is part of the day-to-day activity?In our latest white paper, ‘Best behavior: how technology can enhance behavioral safety in the workplace’ our team discusses implementing behavioral safety programs (BSPs) in the workplace. BSPs are a common answer to the question on how to get employees thinking safely. Even as more organizations implement BSPs, frequently these programs fail to live up to organizations’ expectations.
The priority for organizations is to ensure that the basic foundations of EHS management are in place – namely good employee engagement, committed leadership, the right tools, all supported by robust policies and procedures.
- Increasing employee engagement through user-friendly systems & apps
Technology offers an opportunity to address the common issue of poor engagement. For example, a form available electronically – ideally via an app on a tablet or phone – is much more likely to be completed. This is all the truer if that form is responsive, adapting the information to be gathered to the situation as defined in the responses to the initial questions.
The rapid response offered by technology can also reduce the required size of the initial employee form, so improving reporting. If an app generates an immediate alert so that a fuller investigation (in fact really a more complete data capture) can be conducted straight away, say by the local supervisor, then the number of fields in the employee form can be reduced. As an added benefit, the alert generated can be tailored to data in the employee form by routing to the right party and with the right priority.
- Helping move towards being predictive through data analytical tools
A robust database, combined with sound reporting and data analytical tools (commonly called Business Intelligence), provides an opportunity to spot trends and learn lessons. Meanwhile, communications tools mean that lessons learnt can be rapidly disseminated (for example, creating an action to conduct a toolbox talk) and the person making the initial submission can be updated on progress.
Such a solution improves reporting; facilitates learning; is efficient; and provides visibility about compliance. Importantly, by reducing burden and providing feedback, it supports employee and management engagement – so increasing reporting and the general effectiveness of EHS management, a virtuous circle.
- Guiding operations and helping streamline day-to-day management
Tools that allow collaboration in creating risk assessments and job safety analyzes make those documents more thorough and relevant. Furthermore, electronic document management can ensure documents are standardized, published and kept current – including by modifying them to reflect new insights derived from the approach described above to spotting incident trends and patterns.
New functionality in the EHS space can push relevant content to workers depending on their circumstances (location, activity and so on), for example alerting them to a hazard or providing guidance on a job they are about to start.
- Empowering positive safety behaviors throughout the workforce
Good foundations in incident reporting and investigation and in the design of the EHS management system – specifically making content accessible and relevant and showing employees that reported incidents are investigated and actions taken – make employees more likely to engage.
The final element supporting desired employee engagement is committed leadership – leaders who are accessible and who are visibly demonstrating their commitment to safety. Once again, it is easier to show good consistent leadership when technology presents relevant information to guide what needs to happen (for example an action to complete a toolbox talk) and makes that process simple and efficient.
Interested in learning more about how technology can help the development of a safety culture and support behavioral safety? Read our latest white paper ‘Best behavior: how technology can enhance behavioral safety in the workplace’ in full: