Importance of EHS Software, Mobile Applications: Advancing its efforts to eliminate workplace fatalities though technology, the National Safety Council released Tuesday a white paper through its Work to Zero initiative: Managing Risks with EHS Software and Mobile Applications. The report builds on the program’s initial 2020 research and outlines how employers can use environment, health and safety software and mobile applications to enhance their safety operations to prevent serious injuries and fatalities on the job.
“EHS software and mobile applications are a crucial component of any effective risk management strategy and advancements in these powerful, comprehensive tools have made it easier for organizations of all sizes to access and analyze life-saving insights,” said Emily Whitcomb, NSC director of innovation and Work to Zero. “In addition to helping leaders select the best program provider, this report demonstrates how to maximize the benefits of EHS software to help organizations further their unique safety goals and ultimately create safer outcomes for their workers.”
For this white paper, the Work to Zero initiative analyzed more than a dozen academic and industrial publications as well as conducted interviews with software providers for high-risk industries, such as construction and warehousing, to assess the latest trends and benefits of four distinct EHS software categories: risk management and hazard identification, permit management, incident management and safety auditing. In addition, several case studies were conducted with employers that adopted EHS software to further understand the benefits. Compared to utilizing traditional, spreadsheet-based safety tracking, the Work to Zero initiative found organizations that adopt these modules can gain several advantages in preventing workplace injuries and deaths, including:
Generating deeper safety insights – In an EHS management system, data is centralized and acquired from a variety of sources across the enterprise, making it easier for employers to track, monitor and evolve safety practices.
Ensuring compliance with regulations – As a cloud-based system, EHS platforms can help companies stay up to date with regulatory changes and provide custom inspection checklists to ensure workplaces are both safe and lawful.
Accessing cost-savings – In addition to preventing employee injuries, EHS software tools can mitigate costs associated with employee compensation, recruitment, and illness.
Streamlining reporting through mobile technology – EHS software systems can be deployed and accessed on remote devices like smartphones and tablets to enable employers to access audits, incident reports and real-time safety alerts.
Despite the many benefits of EHS software and mobile applications, the Work to Zero initiative uncovered common barriers to widespread EHS software adoption, including challenges large enterprises face with customizing their EHS packages and the limited availability of comprehensive EHS software for smaller organizations. In addition, a certain level of technical expertise is needed to operate these platforms, which is why training is necessary or it’s important to select a software provider that offers technical support and resources. As with any digital change, educating across all levels of the organization is a critical step in technology deployment.
Funded by the McElhattan Foundation, Work to Zero aims to eliminate workplace fatalities through the use of technology. To learn more about creating a safer workplace and the latest in safety innovation, visit nsc.org/worktozero and attend The Future of EHS 2023 beginning on Jan. 31, 2023, in Long Beach, California.