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From a health and safety perspective, the pandemic certainly taught us an important lesson: workplace safety and employee well-being cannot be ignored. Not anymore. In fact, with the right processes and culture, businesses can derive tremendous competitive advantage by differentiating themselves with world-class health and safety (H&S) practices.

So, what is one key ingredient that is a “must-have” to drive up H&S performance? It is digital transformation and automation.

It is critical that executive leaders work closely with their Health and Safety (H&S) team to streamline, automate and digitally transform all EHS workflows. It requires a robust integration of people, processes, and systems.

Implementing the right EHS solution will enable the following:

  • Meet evolving regulatory requirements with ease
  • Ensure business continuity and growth
  • Data-driven decision-making around health and safety
  • Better collaboration, documentation, and information sharing
  • Make the workplace safe for employees and the environment
  • Standardize processes, so it is easy for your people to follow through on instructions provided to them
  • Create a risk-based approach to dealing with health and safety issues

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A closer look at macro-level safety data (from 2021) will certainly provide the necessary impetus to act immediately and modernize EHS management:

  • According to SHP Online, there has been a 74% increase in fines and penalties (in the health and safety domain)
  • Over 1.3 million people complained of workplace-related illnesses
  • Over 72,000 employees experience non-fatal injuries at work

How Technology Adoption is Helping

The COVID-19 pandemic has also played a role in accelerating the adoption of technology for EHS management and mitigation of safety hazards.

A few obvious examples of technology adoption include:

Remote Training
Employees had to get used to working remotely and also undergo training through virtual sessions. These include training sessions on new technologies, standard operating procedures, new regulatory requirements, etc.

Data Visibility and Collaboration
Technology has made it easier to gather EHS data from remote locations (like oil drills). H&S leaders are able to have a finger on the pulse of EHS metrics across office locations, factories, and the supply chain. The right EHS tools have empowered employees to record and report illnesses, observations, near misses, and incidents, aiding the safety team in further strengthening workplace safety. Mental health was also a cause for concern – thanks to stress from the pandemic, increased screen time, and uncertainty surrounding the virus.

Using the right EHS Management solution made it possible for safety leaders to deliver better training, drive collaborative efforts around safety management, and build a culture of safety across the organization.

Improved Compliance and Risk Management
By using a next-generation EHS solution, safety leaders are able to gather insights from data, track trends, and create risk mitigation plans with agility. Conducting periodic audits and inspections and using data to feed into the decision-making loop is key to driving continuous improvement.

In short, it helps the safety team move from a reactive to a proactive approach to preventing incidents and managing risk.

EHS Automation Trends for 2022

To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of EHS management, automation is playing a key role. Some key trends we see in this space include:

Trend #1 – Workplace wearables

While wearables like smartwatches and heart rate monitors have been around for a while, we’re now seeing several innovations in the workplace wearables segment. A few examples include:

  • PPEs with sensors, location tracking and smart protection
  • Wristwatches that track hand-arm vibrations
  • Embedded chest devices to measure core body temperature, heart rate, and exertion
  • Time tracking devices for lone workers
  • Room temperature sensors in confined spaces, hot work areas, etc.

Over the next few years, we believe that IoT-enabled devices will play a key role in driving workplace safety efforts through automatic data capture. This data will then be converted into insights to drive CI and prevent safety events ahead of time.

Trend #2 – Going Beyond Incident Management by Tracking Near-misses and Safety Observations

Mobile-ready, cloud-based incident reporting and management software is empowering workers to report hazards even from remote locations.

Recording observations, near-misses, and incidents from onsite with images can help safety managers sitting in the headquarters understand the risks and put in controls or respond quickly to minimize damage. This helps with lowering the cost of administration and increasing employee engagement with incident management.

ComplianceQuest EHS solutions suite offers a centralized portal where employees across multiple departments, projects, and locations can report safety observations swiftly within seconds while they are on their job.

Authorized personnel can access these safety observations, and then triage, investigate and raise a CAPA directly thus ensuring prompt action to mitigate any potential safety threats.

Trend #3 – Data-driven Management Reviews to improve Safety Systems

By performing a comprehensive and effective Management Review, an organization will understand what is and what is not working within the safety management system, where problems are arising, where targets and objectives are or are not being met.

With CQ Management Review Solution, this entire process becomes streamlined providing a formal review and record of the system status, progress towards objectives, and a method to change the safety system (processes, workflows, KPIs, etc.) as the company’s needs change.

This also plays a key role in ensuring that the executive leadership and H&S team are truly working together – towards the same set of EHS goals.

Trend #4 – Remote and Virtual Training

World-class training management is crucial to building a culture of safety. It requires a careful analysis of skills gaps and cultural gaps, and provide the necessary training to all employees.

For instance, an employee in a remote location may have noticed a potential safety flaw several times but would have never reported it because it didn’t become a safety incident. But with the right training, the employee would know that any safety observation must be reported. It also requires an EHS tool that makes it easy for employees – across the organization – to report near-miss or safety observations.

Over the last two years, empowering employees with health and safety training has become virtual, enabling personalization and gamification for greater effectiveness. The use of virtual reality has increased memory retention and is more efficient as it exposes employees to simulations of work hazards without the risk of harm.

Trend #5 – Advanced Analytics and Data-Driven Insights

A next-generation EHS solution, such as ComplianceQuest, adopts a data-first approach towards health and safety management.

H&S teams have at their fingertips real-time data on several EHS metrics, KPIs, etc. They have access to easy-to-read charts, trends reports, and dashboards. ComplianceQuest’s data models are also top-notch, allowing safety leaders to go from data to insights very efficiently.

It also helps identify potential risks, enabling proactive response to prevent future events. Tracking KPIs also improves compliance and establishes a culture of safety that results in improved productivity.

ComplianceQuest’s Future-Ready EHS Solution

ComplianceQuest’s cloud-based EHS solution is a next-generation software solution that helps businesses become future-ready. It is a scalable, flexible solution that equips businesses with the technology needed to automate their EHS processes at their own pace in a cost-effective manner. It provides business and safety leaders with data to analyze safety performance and effect continuous improvement. It helps take a risk-based approach to EHS, improve compliance, and establish a safety culture with total employee involvement.

Its modules include:
Environmental and Sustainability: Identify risks to the environment from your business, manage, track, and analyze environmental and sustainability metrics
Incident Management: Report near misses and incidents with relevant data and images for proactive response and take corrective and preventive action
Management Review: Empowers the management with a tower of data to conduct smart review meetings, assign responsibilities, and track progress for greater workplace safety and sustainability
Risk: Manage operational risks by tracking, evaluating, mitigating, and monitoring health and safety risks
Safety Observations: Gain a holistic view of enterprise-wide potential safety risks and prevent incidents from happening
Supplier: Improve safety across the supply chain by training suppliers, contractors, and vendors
Training: Provide relevant, personalized training for greater employee engagement in making your workplace safer

To know more about the CQ EHS software, request a demo here:
https://www.compliancequest.com/online-demo/

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