People who are not in the safety world do not understand how difficult “everyday safety” is. I’m sure everyone reading this can relate.
I’ve always described “everyday safety” as the multitude of meetings, incidents, reports, corrective actions, root cause analysis, trainings, employee engagement, OSHA compliance, third-party audits, unannounced inspections, corporate safety visits, etc., etc., etc. And the data. And the reports. And the trend analysis…
For almost two decades I was in a business where operational safety was the most important thing we worked on every day. It was very difficult to keep up with all those day-to-day activities and requirements. But the impact on the lives of our employees and their families was always a constant reminder that our mission was to stay diligent, and keep them safe, in everything we did.
While it can be overwhelming to manage everyday safety at times (okay, pretty much all the time) there are some great tools and strategies available that can help.
Get the Right Tools
If your company has not come into the technology age, digitizing your safety programs, then that is priority #1. It is simply too difficult to maintain safety documentation, process consistency, training requirements, OSHA compliance and more, as well as the cumbersome chore of compiling all that data and turning it in to actionable information.
If that’s you, I would encourage you to get online and find a safety technology partner. That’s the first critical step to improving everyday safety, and improve the outcomes for your employees and your company.
However, if you have adopted a safety technology platform, then the next steps are to make sure you’re using it to make your everyday safety activities sustainable, measurable, and effective.
Sustaining Safety: Frontline Workers are the Key
For a safety program to be successful, it needs to be well received by the people doing the work, and thus sustainable. It’s critical that you understand how that technology will fit with your workforce, so you need to ask some questions:
- What safety activities do you regularly perform and are they easy to perform with your technology solution?
- What is the technology capability of your workforce, particularly your frontline workers?
- Will your technology partner be able to support them (not just you) with training and follow up?
Many a manager, me included, has signed up for a technology solution at some point in their career that simply didn’t work. Too difficult to navigate. Too cumbersome to operate. Too confusing for frontline workers to use. Painful. If that has happened (or is happening to you) don’t let that deter you. There are fantastic solutions out there that are easy to implement, easy to train, and easy to support and sustain. And even easy on your budget (whatever is left of it this year…).
The key is to get the right technology partner, who not only has a great software solution, but is committed to the customer experience. And not only during onboarding, but for the duration of the relationship…every day.
You Can’t Measure What You Don’t Manage (Yes, I Meant to Say It That Way)
So once you’ve got a technology system in place that works for your needs and workforce, the next step is to make sure you have identified the most important activities in your safety program.
So for instance, your organization might decide that pre-shift inspections, near miss reporting, and a weekly safety audit are the three most important regular activities to perform. (Along with all training and compliance requirements of course). Start with your critical few, and build from there. That’s another key to a great everyday safety program—to make sure the things you put in place are sustainable, completed accurately and consistently.
Another functionality that’s critical about your safety technology choice is that it allows for easy assignment, tracking, and measuring of those activities.
- Were they completed on time?
- What were the key pieces of data that were measured in each of the reports?
- Is management being automatically notified by the software, if any of those reports have not been completed, or have actionable items?
A great technology solution will help ensure these measurable activities happen on a regular basis, and also help you continue to manage the onslaught of activities of everyday safety. Now that your employees and supervisors are performing those activities and their timely completion, it’s time to measure the results, and effect change in the organization.
Let the Data Drive
And finally, now that you have implemented and are managing a sustainable program with measurable activities, it’s time to make sure you get the information you need to ensure your program is effective.
All that data needs to become information. It’s critical that you can analyze all those measurable data points. And don’t spend the time entering the data into Excel or Google Sheets–let the software do it for you. Spend that time sharing it with your team. Management, peers, and frontline workers—all of them.
Especially the frontline workers. They’re the ones who can identify (and correct) the issues, and move the numbers. They want to know what the issues are. They want to get better and address the unsafe practices. They want to celebrate the wins as well. Top performers, injury trends, reporting and training compliance, all of it.
All of that stuff that used to be overwhelming, now at the tip of your finger, being completed by an engaged team, and easy to share across your organization.
“Everyday safety” can be manageable. It’s a lot of work, no question. But with the right safety technology software, you can do it.
Digitize your safety program, and optimize your safety program’s “everyday safety” activities with iReportSource. Schedule a demo tailored to your need to learn more about iReportSource today.
This post was written by Tom Murray, President and COO of iReportSource. As a purpose-driven leader, Tom is an advocate and champion of employee safety and understanding where technology can help organizations continuously improve each day.