How Digitization Can Boost Your Organization’s Safety Culture?
Blog | January 16th, 2024

How Digitization Can Boost Your Organization’s Safety Culture?

A few months back, we published a whitepaper on the tangible and intangible business benefits of implementing an EHS system. In this paper, we highlight the following:

  • Why every organization must implement an EHS system and embrace the power of digital transformation for better safety
  • Why the EHS department cannot be viewed as only a cost center and why proactive safety management is critical for better risk management
  • The cost of poor safety and why it must be avoided at all costs!
  • The role of a data and AI-powered EHS solution

In this blog, we delve into one of the topics we touched upon in this paper: Why inculcating an org-wide safety culture is critical?  And, how can digitization catalyze that?

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The Need for a Better Safety Culture

Let’s first try and understand what culture means from an organizational perspective. We asked ChatGPT this exact question, and the answer is clear and concise:

Culture, from an organization or workplace perspective, refers to the shared values, beliefs, and norms that influence the behavior and practices of an organization's members. It shapes the work environment, guiding how employees interact with each other and with clients, as well as affecting decision-making and organizational strategies.

Our next question to ChatGPT was: what is safety culture?

Safety Culture in an organization is the collective mindset, practices, and attitudes towards safety that are embedded in its daily operations. It reflects the priority given to safety, where safe behavior is encouraged, and all members are actively involved in preventing accidents and hazards, ensuring a commitment to safety at every level of the organization.

As per the American Society of Safety Professionals, effective implementation of OSH (Occupational Safety & Health) programs enables the following:

Reduction in the number of workplace injuries and illnesses: Safety leaders believe that one can see a reduction of 20% or more in the number of injuries annually when a proactive H&S strategy is planned and implemented. And better safety culture is at the heart of it.

Overall, it is clear that safety leaders, with help from their company’s leadership team, must plan a coordinated effort to implement a better safety culture, and set up systems and processes for health and safety management. Additionally, the question is how do you get all your people - full-time employees, contractors, suppliers, and anyone else involved - to embrace safe behaviors?

We wrote in one of our earlier posts on the importance of ‘Safe People, Safe Place, Safe Processes’.This is a mantra that must be truly ingrained in all your people.

It is also paramount that the following aspects are taken care of:

  • Build a dedicated EHS team, with an experienced safety leader at the helm
  • Draft a safety policy, in consultation with various teams
  • Involve the entire organization and all business/functional heads to adopt a safety-first approach in every process, every place, everything that is to be done
  • Implement a next-generation EHS solution to automate safety workflows
  • Capture key safety metrics and drive data-driven decision-making
  • Drive continuous improvement, with a data-driven approach
  • Showcase (with data) how better safety enable better business and financial performance
  • Continuously audit and inspect work sites and processes to drive enhancements
  • Emphasize on the role of safety training and safety communication
  • Reinforce good safety practices; Reward, recognize, and incentivize people to follow ‘safe behaviors’

The Role of Digitization

Digital transformation of safety management is not just a trend but a strategic approach to ensure a robust, proactive, and sustainable safety culture. By integrating digital tools into safety protocols, companies can significantly enhance the effectiveness of their safety measures, thereby safeguarding their most valuable asset — their employees.

Every organization needs a ‘Safety Strategy’, followed by a set of ‘Safety Protocols’, followed by ‘Safety Processes’ for each of these protocols. The true ‘coming together’ of people, safety processes, and safety systems holds the key to a better safety culture.

The shift towards digital safety management is driven by the need for real-time monitoring, predictive analytics, and streamlined communication across all levels of an organization. This approach not only addresses the immediate safety concerns but also lays a foundation for a long-term, safety-first mindset that permeates through every aspect of the organization's operations.

Digitization plays a pivotal role in elevating and scaling the safety culture across all locations of an organization.

Key aspects include:

  • Real-time Data and Analytics: A modern EHS software provides access to real-time data and analytics, enabling organizations to identify potential safety hazards before they lead to incidents. This proactive approach to safety management helps in mitigating risks and preventing accidents.
  • Standardized Safety Protocols Across Locations: Digitization allows for the standardization of safety protocols across different locations. This ensures consistency in safety practices, regardless of geographical or operational differences.
  • Enhanced Training and Awareness: Digital platforms offer innovative ways for training and spreading awareness about safety practices. Interactive modules and virtual reality simulations can make safety training more engaging and effective.
  • Improved Communication: Digitization fosters better communication channels. Quick and efficient dissemination of safety-related information is possible, ensuring that all employees are updated about any changes in safety protocols or emerging risks.
  • Incident Tracking and Reporting: Digital solutions streamline incident reporting and tracking. This not only helps in addressing the current issues more efficiently but also aids in analyzing trends and preventing future incidents.
  • Compliance Management: With ever-changing safety regulations and OSHA requirements, digital tools help in staying compliant with local and international safety standards, thereby reducing legal risks and ensuring operational integrity.
  • Employee Engagement and Seamless Reporting of Incidents ‘Anytime, Anywhere’: Modern EHS tools enable employees to easily report safety concerns and provide feedback. This empowers employees, making them an integral part of the safety culture.

In conclusion, the integration of digital tools into safety management is crucial for developing and maintaining a robust safety culture. It ensures that safety practices are not only consistent and compliant but also adaptable and responsive to the evolving workplace dynamics.

By embracing digitization, organizations can reinforce their commitment to safety, fostering a culture where every employee plays a vital role in maintaining a safe and healthy work environment.

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