How do you find the software you need in the EHS software maze?
The issue of environment, health and safety (EHS) software is often post dated with the comment: ‘do we really need it’. EHS software, like most applications isn’t a necessity, but it will make your life and the world of compliance much easier. Finding the right application, however, is the stumbling block for many, according to Billy O’Brien CMIOSH, Co-founder of Engage EHS.
Administration goes with the role of a health and safety professional. Tracking paperwork, however, is often difficult, complex and laborious. Documents get mislaid and spreadsheets are not kept up-to-date, for example. How can you be sure a incident report was filled in at a certain time and place, if all you have to go on is what is written down. The beauty of EHS software is it can automate many health and safety tasks with accurate data to fulfill compliancy requirements.
Justifying investment in EHS software
EHS software can not only improve compliance assurance, it can also enhance accountability and visibility to ensure corrective and preventitive actions are taken on time. A EHS database improves collaboration across the organisation and ensure data doesn’t get siloed and forgotten.
EHS professionals are continuously being required to do more with less. A 360 degree understanding of compliance obligations and operational risk factors allow for efficient allocation of resources to proactively address risks before they happen, thus reducing fines and incidents and protecting the organisation’s reputation, for example. EHS applications can also streamline reporting and get rid of the potential for incomplete reporting knitted together from numerous spreadsheets.
With these benefits on offer it is no surprise that the EHS software market is on an upward curve. The global market for EHS software is forecast to grow from $1.2bn in 2019 to $2bn in 2024 according to a new report from independent research firm Verandtix. This growth is partly down to stricter laws and regulations regarding safety in the work environment.
Finding EHS software that suits your needs
The drivers for deploying EHS software can be numerous. You may have recently had a costly compliance issue, or need to get on top of new regulations. Whatever the reason, you need to ensure you get the right application for the job.
It is important to remember here, that you aren’t just looking for a software application, you are looking for a partner that understands your organisation’s compliance and risk requirements. Remember the solution you choose will play a critical role in your organisation and its digital transformation going forward.
No one organisation is the same, so it is important you choose an EHS system that suits your needs and one that your empoyees will use. The top evaluation criteria for EHS software purchasing decisions in a recent Verdantix survey were user interface quality (45%), ease of integration (37%), ability to configure workflows and forms (30%), and out-of-the-box workflows, analytics and metrics (28%).
Here are five tips to help you in your selection process:
- Make a list of your key requirements and project scope so that you are clear on what you want your EHS solution to achieve from the beginning and use it as a template for conversation with vendors. This should include all the required featues you need such as user personalization, reporting and analytics, risk training matrix and incident reporting. In training management modules you will require course completion tracking and certification storage, for example. Mobile EHS applications make it much easier for employees to report incicidents and allow health and safety professionals to work from anywhere;
- EHS software is of little use if it sits in a silo. Make sure it can integrate with your current tools so that you can creae a robust foundation for your EHS strategy going forward;
- Your EHS solution should drive both productivity and cultural change. So it is imperative you choose a solution that your employees like and will actually enjoy using;
- Choose a EHS solution that will grow with your organisation’s requirements. Look for a feature-rich solution that has a solid development roadmap;
- Finally, make sure you fully understand the costs involved from the beginning. This will ensure you avoid being oversold, mislead or run into hidden integration costs.
Engaging your employees
Once you have chosen the EHS solution that is right for you, the next big step is deploying it and engaging employees. If you have had meaningful communication with your employees from the start of the selecton process and you’ve taken their feedback into consideration, this should not be a major issue.
Promoting a culture where employees are activley involved in health and safety makes for a safer working environment and one where incidents and near-misses will actually be reported.
Complex and difficult procedures will act as a deterrent to engagement. Apps, for example, enable employees to quickly and easily take a photo of a hazard, submitting their report quickly and easily. By seeing their report in the app feed they have a sense of achievement.
And the key take-away
Purchasing EHS software can be a daunting task, but you can reduce the risks involved by carefully mapping out your requirements and working with a strong technology partner.
Whatever size your business, one thing is sure. When you start your EHS software journey you will never look back and wonder why it has taken you so to make the technological leap.
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