For PCBUs (Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking), maintaining a safe workplace has never been more important – if you don’t do it, your competitor will. For, as the data shows, firms are increasingly leveraging effective safety management protocols to gain an advantage in the market.
That competitive edge comes out of the expense side of the ledger. That’s where the cost (both indirect and direct) of safety incidents can be paralyzing, ultimately even business-ending. The federal regulator, Safe Work Australia reported that the median payout for a serious worker’s compensation claim stood at AUD$11,500, which was a 39 percent year-over-year increase. Indirect costs also soared: the median time lost for a serious claim jumped 32 percent, in the same time period.
Predictably, median costs in high-impact sectors are even higher. Again, in Australia, the average cost of a construction incident and injury borne by employers, workers, and the community ranged from AUD$3,372 for short absence injuries to AUD$1,689,193 for full permanent incapacity, according to research from the University of New South Wales.
Turns out, worker safety is just good for business. Not only does building an effective safety culture help reduce injuries, improve employee productivity, engagement, and morale, but it also keeps claims and resulting insurance costs under control.
The only problem is safety management isn’t easy – just ask safety managers. Simply ensuring continuing compliance with ever-evolving environmental health and safety (EHS) regulations is a persistent business challenge. Another major business pressure is addressing concern over the risk of an adverse event and reducing the risk of noncompliance.
Luckily, EHS software systems offer clear advantages over manual processes and structures. But what software solution makes sense for you? Here are the key considerations for an integrated risk and safety management system:
- Controls and distributes up-to-date documents. The nuances of safety and risk management policy (both internal and external) generate tons of documentation: not just the policies themselves, but also documented accountabilities, roles, and responsibilities, registers and records, and also safe work method statements and procedures. That documentation must be carefully tracked: tasks, checklists, and corrective actions must be set against it. Providing the evidence of proactive health and safety management protocols requires safety management software that tracks and manages all safety information, including key documents, tasks, checklists, and corrective actions, in one single source of truth.
- Manages every detail of contractors, volunteers, and other external parties. Most jurisdictions have developed stringent health and safety regulations that govern the way owners interface with their labor hires. As such, a safety solution must effectively manage key details of contractors, staff, volunteers, and other external parties, including granular data on competencies, compliances, and site inductions, the verification and tracking of which will usually be mandated by law.
- Ensures compliance, manages breaches easily. Maintaining a compliance posture with all relevant health and safety regulations is a key objective for any Safety team. Effective safety management software can simplify those core compliance management duties, especially with functionality targeting compliance obligations, breaches, and plans – even employee health checks and drug/alcohol testing. Technology should furnish easy-to-access, best-practice, out-of-the-box compliance obligation and breach forms, as well as supplying risk compliance registers as a dashboard template.
- Identifies and controls hazards. Workplace safety risk management is all about identifying, evaluating, and determining the safety risk an organization is exposed to and coming up with policies, processes, and procedures to control those identified hazards. To make the process manageable, safety software must help, providing functionality to make risk assessment, treatment, and reporting easier. Which specific capabilities? Standard hazard workflows are vital; so too is technology that includes thousands (yes, thousands) of standard risks and controls.
- Manage incidents, too. Risk management is important. But what happens when safety risks become full-blown safety incidents? In that eventuality, safety incident functionality (for the reporting and management of all environmental, health and safety events) has to be integrated into the same flexible solution. Cross-listing safety hazard information (whether it be people, assets, or risk data) with the resulting incident – in other words, relating incidents, risks, and hazards to your own organization structures, buildings, sites, equipment, materials, and other assets – gives teams the requisite history and intelligence they need to trigger necessary changes and more easily identify where risk controls failed to achieve desired outcomes. The result: an overall more efficient incident response.
Finally, effective safety management is becoming a competitive differentiator for businesses, especially in high-impact sectors. But achieving the benefits aren’t automatic. That’s why it’s never been more important to find safety management software that effectively manages all of your EHS incidents, risks, and hazards. Don’t just take our word for it, though. See for yourself. Demo our next-gen, safety management system, Noggin Safety today.
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