Delegating safety to employees
User-friendly software engages the frontline
We sat down with Matthew Elson, CEO of SHE Softwares to discuss implementing safety regulations and a positive safety culture for workers. Below is excerpts from that conversation.
How does your Assure software reinforce a positive and inclusive safety culture?
Health and safety software isn’t like accounting software. For a successful implementation, every person in the organization should interact with the software. Assure was designed after the “consumer software revolution” to be user-friendly and engaging. Users can access content tailored to their skills and context online or via an app. By making the content relevant to day-to-day activities, using Assure and being aware of health and safety becomes part of the daily job.
How does Assure support OSHA compliance?
Compliance is difficult to achieve without a solution that systematically maintains records and has workflows and reminders to conduct compliance-related activities. Assure provides these tools giving our clients in one central location. Assure can automatically generate OSHA 300s and 301s, reducing manual entry and administrative burden.
What are configurable templates? Is this customization?
We do not customize Assure. For each customer we use configuration tools to meet their particular requirements, but every customer sits on the same underlying codebase. This means that we can put all of our development effort into a single solution to the benefit of all of our customers.
Assure comes with best practice templates based on our customer implementations and thousands of conversations with health and safety professionals. These templates provide a great starting point to adapt the templates to a customer’s specific needs using configuration tools built into our solution. In relation to forms, these might include the option to add/adapt fields, determine what is mandatory, or design picklists so that the form matches the language and approach of their organization.
Do safety officers feel threatened by technology that delegates functions to the frontline?
In our experience, most safety officers’ aspiration is to engage their organizations more fully in safety activities. They would rather be spending their time training, coaching and supporting their organizations rather than behind a desk working on paperwork. So it is not so much about making them redundant as empowering them to take more value-added roles.
Do employees welcome or resist taking on these frontline safety responsibilities?
Certainly it can be true that health and safety has the reputation of being a compliance burden rather than a positive force for change. The key to changing this perception is demonstrating to employees how health and safety can make a positive contribution to their day-to-day activities and not be perceived as a distraction. This is why we designed our software to be intuitive, user-friendly presenting content that is relevant to each employee’s context.
Data is reported in user configurable dashboards. What does a dashboard display?
Most customers will use a dashboard that displays instant information in various ways – for example, over time, by location, incident type/cause. Each dashboard is fully interactive to allow users to drill-down into their information and draw insights about underlying causes, so that they can appropriate actions.
Senior management wants to have a quick overview of health and safety performance and activities to assure themselves at glance that their organizations are compliant. This could include completion of audits, safety conversations, tracking of actions to completion and ensuring that risks assessments and job safety analysis are current and have been reviewed.
The audit trail notes the user, date and time. Do users complain that this is an invasion of their privacy, or that they are being watched by Big Brother?
No, maintaining an audit trail, though not a legal requirement, is still fundamental to the ability to demonstrate that an organization has been taking all appropriate measures to manage health and safety. Customers have not reported that this is an issue with their employees.
How do safety departments decide how many users should be empowered with the mobile app?
Ideally, an entire organization will be empowered to use their EHS management software. Assure’s Portal enables an entire organization to be involved with the EHS program without needing everyone to have a license. The Assure Portal provides a simple and efficient platform to engage employees, suppliers and contractors in health and safety activities. Everyone can report events, complete inspections and view EHS information in one central place. It promotes and enables a positive two-way dialogue with the workforce to reinforce the value of safety activities.
Licenses are reserved for supervisors and managers who require more sophisticated reporting and interact more deeply with the solution.
How can safety departments sell upper management on the ROI?
The ROI is partially based on time saved across a variety of activities, and partially on improved safety performance and therefore a reduction in the cost of accidents and, through having a more complete picture, a better ability to defend claims.
What’s an example of replicating consumer approaches?
My Starbucks app knows when I approach my local store, understands my preferences and makes it easy for me to order and pay. Traditionally, corporate software is menu driven – I need to know where I want to go and follow a sequence of steps to get there. We are designing Assure the other way around so as to push relevant content to each user based on an understanding of their context and needs.
Safety pros want employees more engaged, but do you think all employees want more safety work?
Actually, Assure is all about reducing “safety work” and making it more relevant. In particular it takes out a lot of cumbersome process with paper forms and manipulating excel spreadsheets. Because Assure is so simple to use it becomes part of day-to-day operations and does not seem to be any kind of burden.