Key Accounts Director, Informa

Author Bio ▼

Angela Coffill has been working within our health and safety portfolio for several years and has developed a passion for the sector. She has extensive exhibition and digital advertising knowledge with more than a decade’s experience in the media industries.
August 18, 2017

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Angela Asks: Dan Joyce from SafetyCulture

In the first of our series of blogs speaking to Safety and Health Expo exhibitors and visitors, business development manager and product champion, Angela Coffill, speaks to SafetyCulture.

The Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) software market seems to be on the up and I was keen to discover more. So I met with Dan Joyce from SafetyCulture who gave an interesting insight into why it is growing so rapidly.

Dan confirmed the EHS software market is forecast to grow at 11% YOY from 2016-2020.  So, what is underpinning this continued growth in EHS software spend?

As well as the growing demand from the public for corporate accountability and the associated public backlash that can result from non-compliance, Dan believes more complex products and fragmented supply chains means manufacturers are at risk of losing control.

Staying compliant

As a result, manufacturers need to continuously improve their testing and inspection capabilities to stay compliant with quality and H&S standards. Pen, paper and a clip board just won’t cut it anymore. Also the constant drip feed of new regulations and updates pose complexity challenges, especially for international operators. But Dan says the good news is the EHS software buying community is now largely comfortable using third-party and cloud-based EHS software to help manage compliance, and even improve business processes.

Dan has also experienced a shift in companies’ attitudes towards safety, from one of compliance box ticking to a genuine cultural embrace of safe work practices. The phrase ‘behavioural safety’ has actually become a real thing which he believes has been enabled by technology.

Thinking about technology from a much wider cultural perspective – it has altered behaviours. Look at wearable technology such as Fitbits, and how they encourage us to be more active, or the little telematics boxes that can sit in your car monitoring and analysing driving behaviour.

Technology is allowing people to be more aware of their actions, how many steps you’ve done, how fast you’re driving. ‘Behavioural safety’ in EHS refers to the shift in our behaviours that can result from empowering workforces to conduct their own inspections and incident reports.

Embracing technology

Dan mentioned how embracing mobile apps and technology enables companies to democratise health and safety. I asked what he means. With the increase in usage of mobile apps by companies, they’re able to empower their workforce to report incidents, faulty machinery etc – rather than just the health and safety manager having responsibility.

The right software downloaded onto company mobile phones or tablets allows companies to monitor significantly more data, and get a real sense of what’s working and not working across their operations, as opposed to the old fashioned tick sheet and tests conducted by one person.

Everyone can have their input to give a much truer reflection of what’s happening, and flag issues up in real time. It’s becoming a much more holistic and caring safety culture, which is deeper routed, further reinforcing how far health and safety has come.

SafetyCulture recently undertook some research and out of 450 responses who used the iAuditor app to manage safety, they reported 23% fewer safety incidents, which goes to back up the importance of this cultural shift in how companies manage safety as having a direct, positive effect on their workforces.

Predicting the future

Technology is rapidly growing in all aspects of our lives, so I asked Dan what challenges he predicts for the future of the health and safety industry, and what the future implications may be. His answer I found really interesting: ‘how companies can best utilise sensors and the IoT’. Not being a tech savvy person myself, I had to ask, what was IoT? Turns out its actually quite simple, the ‘internet of things’ – hooking in everyday items to the internet.

Dan predicts there will one day be a sensor on your fridge that will recognise when you are out of milk and automatically add one to your shopping cart for your next scheduled internet shop!

So, how will this transfer into health and safety? Well, we’ll be able to embed little sensors in vehicles, tools, fridges, safety vests and all types of places and things, providing real time monitoring of proximity, temperature and other data, instantly notifying us if something is faulty, danger is impending, or simply providing statistics around usage of different assets.

The trends and insights that can result from all of this data will offer companies a lot more insight into what is actually happening within the company and its workers. This insight could prove to be invaluable to reduce the amount of fatalities within high risk environments and will be interesting to see how companies across the board come to grips with these types of things and integrate them as standard practise.

I’ve really enjoyed this conversation with Dan about his take on technology and health and safety, but couldn’t leave before asking what he thinks about Brexit and the impact it could have (if any!) on the industry. His answer, which I’m sure a lot of companies are thinking about, is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and whether UK data privacy laws will mirror the EUs laws.

However it’s worth noting that he imagines common sense will prevail and that EU regulations will be grandfathered over into the UK post-Brexit. So that doesn’t cause a concern!


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