Let’s take a moment and think of inventions that have outlived their efficiency to the point that they are barely used, if at all. There are floppy disks, vacuum bags, transistor radios, and analog phones—just to name a few. When we see or hear of someone who still uses any of these, we’re surprised. We might even chuckle a little or talk about how old-fashioned they are.
But when someone opens a spreadsheet in your organization to discuss health and safety, no one bats an eye. Look around your office and you’re likely to see someone using a spreadsheet right now to budget or track content. Spreadsheets are so pervasive and have helped us in many ways with their automatic calculations and pivot tables that no one stops to think about how inefficient they can be for health and safety professionals. This blog covers five of the things spreadsheets can’t do and shares why health and safety software is a more efficient choice.
1. Provide complete visibility over your health and safety program
How much of your health and safety data is spread across multiple Excel files or even in paper documents? How many versions of spreadsheets with that data are stored—and possibly changed—on employee hard drives? You might not even know the answer to that question.
Spreadsheets are great for recording data or performing calculations on it, but they are not a good long-term solution for visibility into a health and safety program. Health and safety software, on the other hand, makes critical health and safety information available in one central, secure place—so you have comprehensive visibility of your data, records, and actions.
2. Create pixel-perfect visualizations that make identifying trends, tracking leading indicators and proactive interventions easy
Sure, you can create basic charts in a spreadsheet, but your options are limited to a few different types. Because spreadsheets weren’t designed to produce graphics, their pie charts, tables, and scatter plots distort data to a certain extent. In addition, they don’t make the process easy. Many of us have spent way too much time struggling to get a z-axis to render correctly on a bar chart.
Health and safety software, by contrast, offers pixel-perfect visualizations that can tell your stories (think business intelligence visualizations). With the right kind of visuals, you can understand your health and data. Not only that, but you can more easily spot trends and patterns and use them for proactive interventions and to make more informed decisions about the future.
3. Update automatically
The spreadsheets everyone is poring over in a planning or reporting meeting are only good until the next data update. After that update, can you even be confident that it will be made across all the other versions of the spreadsheets that exist in your organization? Or even if you trust your team to create new versions after each update, they can’t do it in real-time. By the time all the versions are changed, another modification might be needed.
It’s a whole different ballgame with health and safety software. Update one activity or record, and it is immediately tracked through to any others that the change might affect. You also get dashboards that are updated in real-time, so that everyone stays current on performance, trouble spots, activity progress, interventions, and more.
4. Engage employees and senior management
“My favorite thing about spreadsheets is how easy they make it to engage with health and safety,” said no one in your organization ever.
Treated to health and safety reports generated from historical data, your employees have no access to real-time health and safety information related to their daily tasks. Nor do spreadsheets give them a safety voice. As for senior management, spreadsheets make it difficult for them to track your organization’s safety performance and make recommendations based on their knowledge and experience. Health and safety software enables employees to report incidents, even if they’re on the go, and participate in tracking their progress. Senior management gets unlimited access to performance so they, too, can participate in health and safety program progress.
5. Keep administration costs low
Excel spreadsheets are an administrative burden. Because they were designed for tracking and calculations on a single desktop, they are not easy to maintain. They require people to reenter or reconcile data, fix incorrect records, chase actions, search for information, and update files. Not only are these activities a waste of time for safety professionals—and time is money—but they also affect everyone from entry-level employees to the board.
Think about it: how can anyone follow through on a health and safety program if they spend 80% of their time fixing spreadsheets? Health and safety software removes these time-consuming and costly administration tasks and enables safety professionals to do what they do best. Software gives them more time and tools implement and monitor programs and proactively address possible issues, which in turn saves your organization from bearing the costs of an incident that goes undetected until it’s too late.
Ready to say goodbye to inefficient spreadsheets?
Don’t keep locking your EHS data away in Excel files. Book a demo to see firsthand how you can streamline the way your organization manages EHS.