Reliable, fit-for-purpose EHS software is the cornerstone of any organisation’s commitment to environmental, health and safety issues. However, many businesses are reluctant to spend money to secure the very best software available and it’s fair to say that this is a big company-wide decision that can be hard to get agreement on.
As a result, many EHS managers are left with a sub-standard software solution (or even an Excel spreadsheet) to fulfil various aspects of their roles.
While this isn’t surprising – those controlling the purse strings often aren’t always best-positioned to fully appreciate the importance of EHS matters – it is a problem. Incidents keep re-occurring, businesses lose money and some even suffer fines and reputational damage.
Here are some signs your business might be using the wrong EHS software, and some information on what the ‘right’ EHS software would look like instead.
These are signs your EHS software might not be working for you
There are a handful of obvious signs that your business is facing an EHS problem, some of which may be due to the fact that your software solution isn’t up to scratch. For example:
- The frequency or severity of incidents isn’t decreasing.
- The same type of incident keeps reoccurring.
- Your company wide sickness levels is high, incurring considerable lost man hours.
- You are unable to easily check a contractor’s permit to work status.
- Your safety analysis reporting requires manual intervention
- Your business is embroiled in legal matters and potential fines.
- Morale among workers is low.
- You’ve missed out on opportunities to bid for tenders.
- Your insurance costs are going up year on year.
- You’ve suffered reputational damage.
There are also a number of software-specific signs that indicate you might need to find another EHS solution:
- Your EHS software doesn’t sync with your other software solutions.
- Your documents aren’t linking properly.
- You can’t grant access to the appropriate individuals.
- Alerts and notifications don’t exist or aren’t working well.
- Your software isn’t accessible from multiple locations.
- You can’t input data to it while in the field.
- Your software isn’t cloud based or accessible via mobile apps.
So, what does good EHS software look like instead? Well, it should:
- be fit for purpose. For example, risk assessment software should be designed with best practice templates that are ready to complete. It should have a user-definable hierarchy of controls (such as elimination, substitution and separation), and it should allow you to do things such as clone risk assessments, configure pre and post control risk rating, and send automated emails to confirm that risk assessments have been received and read and the appropriate actions have been put in place, then checked again.
- increase visibility in your organisation. Good EHS software should mean that nothing slips through the cracks by ensuring that it’s possible to see who is responsible for specific tasks, as well as providing comprehensive oversight for task statuses and KPIs. The very best solutions will allow employees to report incidents directly in order to inform better practices.
- contribute towards efficiency. The right EHS software will centralise multiple documents such as risk assessments, investigations, asset inspections, training records, supplier information and more, which means you won’t suffer the administrative burden of maintaining and linking all this documents. It will also feature powerful search functions and integrate with other systems so that you’re making the most of your time, as well as reliably provide alerts and notifications so you can navigate risk assessment and other EHS tasks with confidence.
- be intuitive and accessible. Your software solution should make it easy for you and your colleagues to input and export data, turn data into graphs and tables for reporting and presenting purposes, as well as grant you access from anywhere, anytime (including allowing you to input data while in the field, or input data that’s been recorded while you’ve been offline). Ease of use means you achieve greater user adoption, so everyone is on board.
So, do you think you’re using the right EHS software? If not, talk your existing provider about the gaps you’ve identified in the solutions you’re using, or use the tips above to seek a better software solution from another provider.