In today’s information world, health, safety and industrial hygiene professionals are continually confronted with the challenge to gather, review and act wisely based on various types of data.Safety management softwareis one tool available that can help safety professionals consolidate this data and improve the safety decision-making process.

This article will explore how safety management software can assist in the data collection and data analysis needs of the environmental, health and safety (EHS) manager.

Data collection, data analysis & decision-making

EHS professionals need to review and analyze data in multiple areas to achieve regulatory compliance and improve safe practices in the workplace. Most organizations keep track of this data in some way from pen and pencil to spreadsheets to software systems. Safety management software that is affordable, easy to use, and can track your safety data needs is available in the marketplace for organizations from large to small and everywhere in between.

EHS professionals can use a wide variety of data sets to understand safety throughout the organization. Common safety data sets include: incidents; inspections and action item follow up; and training data. Other data areas might include behavior-based safety, near misses, hazard tracking, industrial hygiene monitoring and job hazard analysis.

The next sections focus on the common data sets and how they can assist in regulatory compliance and improving the safety and health of the workforce.

Incident data

Most organizations track incident and injury data, focusing most often on OSHA recordkeeping when an employee injury occurs. Most organizations are required to track and record employee injuries on the OSHA recordkeeping logs, the 300, 301 and 300A. This incident data includes: who, what, where and how of the injury/illness for each injury/illness occurring and also details about any missed days away from work or restricted duty imposed on the injured employee. Almost all states also require that the employer file a First Report of Injury for any workers’ compensation claim. Organizations with multiple locations need to be able to generate OSHA logs for each location.

Safety management software can take incident data and automatically generate OSHA recordkeeping and state First Report of Injury forms, allowing organizations to improve regulatory compliance and to save time and effort.

Safety management software can also allow organizations to more easily push deeper into incident data to find out powerful analytics in minutes. Need to know the most often occurring type of your employee injuries: slip, trips and falls versus vehicle collisions? Safety software can tell you. Is there a workforce group that has more incidents than others? A shift or time of day that is more dangerous? Determining the root cause of incidents? These are all common questions that incident safety data can help your organization answer.

Inspection data

Most organizations conduct a wide variety of inspections on an ongoing basis. Oil and gas organizations, for example, may conduct daily rig inspections, and construction companies may conduct daily site inspections. EHS professionals, front-line employees or supervisors may conduct these daily inspections. EHS professionals generally also conduct more in-depth weekly, monthly or annual inspections. EHS professionals may also conduct monthly or quarterly environmental inspections for sites with wastewater or storm water run-off. These wastewater inspections are often required by state Departments of Environmental Protection.

While organizations generally conduct these inspections, many organizations find it difficult to perform trend analysis based on the results of these inspections and to ensure that all open items from these inspections are closed out in a timely manner.

Safety management software can take the inspection checklist items results and automatically provide detailed trend analysis on the areas of deficiencies or areas of compliances across a single job site or multiple locations or sites. Safety management software can also alert and notify key managers and employees of open inspection action items that require follow up.

Finally, advances in mobile technology make it easier than ever for organizations to conduct inspections in the field without using paper. With safety management software, key team members can conduct inspections on a wide variety of mobile devices including iPhones and tablets. For organizations or team members without Internet access, an offline mobile application can allow team members to conduct inspections in the field and synch the inspection data to the software when Internet access available. This process allows for real-time analytics and no duplication of data entry.

Training data

Most organizations conduct extensive training of employees, supervisors and managers. Employees require an ever-increasing array of training in a wide variety of areas including environmental, health and safety issues to perform their job in a safe manner. For example, OSHA requires that employees be trained on emergency action plans and emergency evacuation training.

Much of the OSHA training regulations also require refresher training on an annual basis or sooner if conditions or job positions change. Safety and training managers need to be able to determine what employees are overdue or upcoming for required (re)-training to ensure all employees are in compliance. Safety and training managers also need to be aware of employees who change positions and/or work on a seasonal basis so that training can be tracked and adjusted to meet their needs.

Safety management software can easily track employee training, including conducted training and required re-training. Email notifications can alert employees, supervisors, managers and safety professionals of upcoming or overdue training. Scheduling tools make it easy to schedule groups or individual training. With the appropriate permissions, EHS managers and other managers can view an employee’s entire training history as well as their incident/injury history. Trend reports can allow key managers to quickly view overdue training or employees who are not in compliance with required training.

In conclusion, safety management software can offer a wide variety of tools and options to allow EHS professionals to use data and data analytics to improve the safety of the workplace.