At ComplianceQuest, we recently published a whitepaper titled ‘Safety Control Tower: Diving from 50,000 Feet to 5 Feet in a Jiffy’. The paper focused on the role of data-driven safety management, highlighting the need for the following:
- Data at the core of the entire safety management lifecycle
- A digitalized way to track open action items to completion (essentially, connecting people, processes, and systems)
- The role of collaborative health and safety management to make sure various stakeholders truly come together to proactively address safety concerns
The most important aspect to note here, however, is the need for a robust document management system. Without an EDMS in place, it is impossible to ensure enterprise-wide data visibility.
Documentation in Safety Management is an essential aspect that helps to communicate safety policy and all associated activities with all stakeholders – including employees and regulatory bodies. This helps all employees to be aligned with the safety goals and participate in safety management through a proactive approach to safety processes.
While providing an authoritative foundation for safety management in an organization, a robust document management process also ensures that SOPs are followed on an ongoing basis.
Safety Management System (SMS) documentation includes a wide range of documents and records, covering the following aspects:
- Safety management processes, procedures, and specific templates, including reporting forms
- Assigning responsibilities, accountability, and authority to ensure the management of safety
- Delineating the safety management organizational structure
- Safety management metrics – leading and lagging indicators
- Checklists for specific teams
- Risky tasks that require a Permit to Work
- Management Review documentation
- Risk Control documentation, etc.
It should also provide guidelines for records management, such as document access, handling, storage, retrieval, and preservation.
Key Components of Safety Documentation
Some of the important components of safety documentation include:
- The Environment, Health, and Safety Policy: This delineates the company’s EHS policy, clearly establishing objectives, roles, and responsibilities for safety processes. This should be a dynamic document that changes along with changes in the organization in terms of processes, procedures, equipment, etc. If you have fewer than five employees you don’t have to write it down.
- Risk Assessments: Identifying risks, evaluating them, prioritizing them, and implementing controls are important for improving safety in the organization. The entire risk assessment process should be documented to demonstrate the organization’s preparedness for any safety risks.
- Accident/Incident Records: Businesses must record every incident, event, near miss, and observation.
- Health and Safety Related Posters: All employees must be made aware of the safety policies and regulations either through written communication or clearly displayed posters.
- Audit and Inspection Reports: Audit and inspections form an important part of safety management. They help identify potential risks and to mitigate them in a timely fashion through controls. Documenting the audits, the reports, and the follow-up action taken to demonstrate the company’s commitment to safety.
Document Management System for Meeting Regulatory Requirements
Documenting safety processes can be a challenging task as it requires time and effort, something that can be in short supply in the rush to meet productivity goals. Further, for companies compliant with the US-based Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Act, OSHA Document Retention Compliance can be challenging. OSHA is driving towards digitization of safety management documentation, especially submitting OSHA Form 300A for injury and illness recordkeeping. The documents should be easily accessible and produced whenever required by the regulatory body for inspection and verification.
Another challenge is that some documents need to be retained only for a certain period of time. For instance, OSHA 300 Log, annual summary, and OSHA Incident Report forms must be retained for five years based on NAICS codes. Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) documents need to be retained for a year at least, or until the validation and certification of a new log.
The number of documents and records an organization needs to create, maintain, update, archive, and remove will vary based on how vast and complex the operations are. For businesses with offices and operations across geographies, complying with local regulatory requirements will be an added requirement that needs to be reviewed and kept up to date.
A simple file management system is not enough to handle such a complex process and instead needs a cloud-based document management system.
ComplianceQuest’s Document Management System for Safety
ComplianceQuest’s cloud-based EHS software is integrated with a document management system that empowers safety leaders and managers with tools for efficient safety document management. It facilitates managing the entire document lifecycle, gaining complete visibility, and providing a single source of truth across all locations for more effective safety-related decision-making.
The automation of safety document management improves compliance and provides easy access to all documents with ease. A centralized repository of documents helps with creating, modifying, reviewing, approving, storing, organizing, accessing, and sharing documents globally in a controlled manner. Each document can be tracked from the time of creation to obsolescence with analytics, graphical dashboards, integrated collaboration, and workflow tools.
Some of the benefits of the ComplianceQuest Safety Document Management include:
- Improved Productivity and Efficiency: A workflow-driven process supported by secure digital capabilities helps to simplify creating and updating documents using the right templates. The entire document review/approval process can be streamlined and operational efficiency increased through improved access to the correct version of the required documents, in a faster and more cost-effectively manner.
- Improved Audit, Regulatory and Organizational Compliance: Align document management with standards such as ISO 9001, GxP and integrate it with other processes such as audits, CAPA escalations, non-conformance, change control, and incidents.
- Improve Collaboration: Eliminate separate legacy document silos with a single enterprise-wide system. With a cloud-based platform, it’s easy to collaborate and share information using tools such as Microsoft, Google, and BOX when creating, reviewing and updating documents. Provide privileged access to authorized employees to track changes in real-time and respond instantly with sign-offs and approvals.
- Up-to-Date Employee Training: Keep your team updated with the latest policies and SOPs as soon as they’re effective. With easily accessible documents and workflow capabilities tightly coupled with CQ’s Training functionality, ensure employees are notified when CAPA-driven processes or work instructions change, and effortlessly track all appropriate reviews. Easily respond to audits with detailed data on who has been trained on new/updated documents.
- Implement Best Practices: For businesses with operations across geographies, a cloud-based document management system ensures that all facilities have access to the most recent set of approved safety procedures. Best practices are easily shared and standardized across the organization and new operations are consistently onboarded.
To know more about ComplianceQuest’s Document Management for Safety, visit: https://www.compliancequest.com/document-management/
Request a demo here: https://www.compliancequest.com/online-demo/