Sep 24th, 2020
12 mins

This article has been produced and published by SHE Software

In the last two decades, disruption has almost become the norm. Nimble web, cloud, and software companies like Uber, Airbnb, Amazon, Facebook, and Google have quickly spun up products, services, solutions, and apps that have altered multiple market landscapes. In addition, they’ve turned industry giants on their heads. But no amount of agility and innovation could have prepared even the most forward-looking disruptors for what has happened in 2020. We have been quickly forced into looking at the way we work.

What the disruption of the 2020 pandemic means for the future is not completely clear. What is clear is that there will be no return to the former way of working. New processes continue to be put in place, and any company that does not make health and safety investment a top priority is likely to falter.

The British Frozen Food membership spans across many disciplines including food production, logistics, wholesale and retail which have all remained operational during the pandemic.

Simon Brentnall, BFFF’s Head of Health and Safety states, “nobody could have predicted anything on the scale of this pandemic, yet the shelves have remained stocked throughout. The industry has faced many challenges from social distancing to PPE shortages with government guidance changing daily.

It is essential to utilise technology and digital solutions for the management of health and safety, this to ensure your systems remain effective. With the additional burden imposed in managing COVID-19 this innovation provides an extra pair of hands. I would encourage all organisations to explore these innovative solutions with open arms.”

Many companies have not prioritised investment in digitizing health and safety, instead, they choose to “play it safe” and avoid the technology upgrade. What the pandemic has showed us is that sticking to manual, paper-based processes and shying away from risk when it comes to health and safety is the exact opposite of playing it safe. Playing it safe by managing health and safety with pen & paper is no longer an option as that method can increase the chances of COVID-19 transmission between employees. With that in mind, let’s look deeper into why you should be moving to digital solutions for EHS.

Revealing gaps in the health and safety status quo

Organisations have been somewhat hesitant to prioritise investment in health and safety management technology because most believe that everything has been working fine. However, the COVID-19 crisis is highlighting the gaps and, in some cases, increased risks of maintaining the status quo. Just by doing their jobs, many workers face a transmission risk. What the crisis has shown us is that the old way of doing things is not effective in a pandemic or an economic downturn.

Unlike with pre-2020 health and safety digital transformation, which was seen by many organisations as a “nice to have,” there is an urgency associated with today’s crisis. And there are new nuances. The way many employees are working is different. Some are working as normal. Others have different shift times. Still others are either in quarantine or are distracted, waiting for word about a family member’s test results. Maintaining a functional health and safety program is a labyrinth of communication tools, irregular availability, misplaced paperwork, and no single source of truth or centralised management.

New challenges

Companies are facing new health and safety challenges because of the current pandemic. Employee engagement has been hindered by stay-at-home orders and telecommuting. While many health and safety professionals were working from home, they faced an added layer of difficulty to accessing, reporting, and receiving HSE information. Staying connected and promoting a strong HSE culture are not easy when employees are remote working, furloughed, or in quarantine/out sick.

With some offices, factories, and job sites shuttered and others deemed essential, there was, and continues to be, a lack of visibility into health and safety performance across companies. With workforces being more distributed, sharing information with everyone quickly and managing the risk of workplace transmission is critical for a safe return to work.  Engaging frontline workers in health and safety reporting is key – they present the greatest risk of workplace transmission while being the greatest opportunity to help prevent it.

If you add these challenges to the problems with manual or partially digital health and safety processes that existed before the crisis, you can begin to understand why you cannot keep limping along with what you had before the crisis.

The digital transformation imperative

Digital transformation is a proactive and coordinated approach to using software and other technology to make staff feel safe in the workplace. At the core of digital transformation is a consistent flow of high-quality data from the frontline that supports more informed and faster decision-making.

In the health and safety space, digital transformation automates, integrates, and streamlines manual and disparate HSE processes while driving continuous process improvement. Companies can leverage best practice, out-the-box health and safety functionality that is easily configured for their specific needs: forms, picklists, process flow, permissions, reports, dashboards, and more.

The “digitalisation” of health and safety processes also connects office workers with people on the front lines through mobile access and delivers health and safety reporting and compliance from a single source of truth. It enables access to health and safety data and informed decision making from anywhere there is internet access.  Maintenance, enhancements, and upgrades are regular and behind the scenes with no action required by users.

SHE Software’s Global EHS Specialist, Mat Wallis says, “We help many organisations see the great benefits that using EHS technology, like SHE Software’s Assure, brings to creating successful EHS management. In recent times, being able to adapt quickly with communication of new policies and collecting data using new forms has helped our customers to continue to effectively manage EHS during the pandemic.”

EHS tech has always supported and encouraged frontline worker engagement which has had a calming and positive impact during the recent turbulent times. Work practices have had to change almost overnight adding pressure to ensure all employees are aware and kept up to date when changes occur. With tech this is made simple and easy in comparison to the outdated pen and paper methods.”

As you can see, health and safety digital transformation is no longer a “nice to have” or an initiative that can be put off to a later date. Companies that have not adopted health and safety technology and digital platforms really need to add it to their “to-do” lists for now and in the future. It will help them weather crises by keeping everyone safe, engaged, connected, and communicating.

Don’t Return to Work with Manual Process & Dispersed Systems

If you haven’t digitally transformed your health and safety program before, now is the opportunity to try.  See link below to learn more about SHE Software’s health and safety solution, Assure, to help manage the return to work in a digital way.


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