Mobile EHS software is improving workplace health and safety programs by disseminating critical tasks – like incident reporting – and making EHS a part of everyone’s job. Now every employee has the ability to feed real-time information on workplace risks directly into a centralized location, so the right people are alerted and can take decisive action to improve workplace conditions for themselves and others. 

Organizations holding on to outdated incident reporting methods, like paper systems, spreadsheets, or inflexible legacy software, are missing the opportunity to really engage their people. Under these outdated methods, filling out an incident report is often time-consuming and cumbersome, which creates a barrier to employee participation. 

Employees begin questioning if reporting is worth their time, especially for things like near hits/near misses. And if they do report an incident, it often lacks important details that can only come from more comprehensive in-person observations.

 When that happens, the people with the most useful information are disconnected from the people best able to affect positive changes. As a manager or director of EHS, you lose the ability to find and fix hazards before there is harm to people, property or the environment. 

Similarly, if incidents are reported, but the critical safety information lives in silos, with only a handful of safety professionals seeing the data and having ownership for follow up action, then the lack of transparency and can create the kind of delays and backlogs that confirms an employee’s worst suspicions about the efficacy of reporting.

A game changer

When it comes to EHS management, today's increasingly distributed and mobile workforce requires versatile and easy-to-use solutions to keep actively engaged in their organization’s EHS programs. Mobile devices and applications have opened the doorway to enhanced safety assessments and reporting, and are transforming how modern workplaces administer EHS management best practices.

An immersive mobile experience achieves greater levels of employee engagement by empowering them to play a greater role in managing EHS risks. A good mobile solution helps streamline the entire EHS investigation process by encouraging and facilitating more rapid data collection and real-time data sharing of key incident, hazard and near-miss details. 

Reporting processes that once required multiple discussions and follow-ups can now be completed in minutes. This higher level of visibility means you’re able to submit more accurate incident reports and more quickly respond to critical safety concerns. 

One key concern must be simplicity. While mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have become an increasingly ubiquitous part of our professional and personal lives, the software deployed on them must be simple and easy, or your workers will never use it. 

Programs that are too complicated to implement, train on and use, will actually disincentivizes worker participation and deter data input. Look for mobile solutions that are responsive and intuitive to achieve greater employee engagement. 

More accurate data

In addition to promoting greater engagement among your workforce, mobile applications also foster better data collection. 

For example, today a good incident reporting app will enable employees to use their mobile device camera to capture pictures and instantly upload them with their report. This added information helps tell a more complete story and ensures key details haven’t been missed. The best solutions even use device voice-to-text features so those unable to manually enter the details or uncomfortable with texting can more easily fill in information using audio instead. 

By giving your employees the ability to record important EHS information with a simple and engaging tool whenever and wherever they need it means you get more reliable information and details that drive greater EHS performance.

Speed is often the key determining factor when it comes to accurate data collection. The longer individuals have between an incident occurring and when they report it, the more apt they are to forget important details. 

There when you need it

Another key benefit of today’s mobile reporting solutions is accessibility when an internet connection is limited or absent completely. This can affect those working in remote areas like mines, oil and gas fields, and construction sites, or workers in facilities where wireless signals are blocked or weak. 

Mobile apps help remedy this concern, by allowing users to fill in incident and near miss reports, even when offline. That information is stored and is then automatically submitted once an internet connection is made again. This helps eliminate the redundant re-recording of information or the need to transfer written data into an electronic format. 

The best mobile solutions go beyond incident reporting to provide workers with greater visibility into the EHS management programs from a single app. This means that in addition to being able to more quickly and efficiently report incidents and near miss data, they can also use their mobile device to conduct inspections and behavioral safety observations; perform risk assessments; assign and manage corrective actions; initiate management of change (MOC) requests; access chemical safety data sheets; conduct ergonomic assessments and access safety meeting information when in the field or on the go.

This ability to access more EHS management tools helps ensure all employees stay connected to the information they need to do their jobs safely. 

A fast response to safety incidents demonstrates a higher level of concern, and no tool is able to facilitate this speed better than mobile. This level of speed and connectivity is no longer just nice to have — it's essential to building a stronger safety culture and protecting operational integrity. Having quick and easy access to your EHS information makes your workplace healthier, safer and more environmentally sustainable.