There’s no doubt that technology is driving change in how businesses operate.  And it seems to be happening at a pace that is difficult to keep up with at times.  Does anyone fully realize the impact that Cloud technology, 5G technology, Nanotechnology, Robotics or Artificial Intelligence will have on how we conduct business in the future?  Managing this digital transformation can seem daunting or overwhelming at times.  

Advancements in digital technology are happening in all facets of business, and EHS Management is no exception.  Leaders in this field are quickly learning how to integrate these new technologies into their business operations and laggards are waiting to be convinced about the power of this new technology.

It’s hard for me to admit, but as the co-owner and founder of Safety Reports, I wasn’t exactly a leader when it comes to safety technology.  That seems like an odd thing to say being that we were one of the first to market back in 2011 with a mobile inspection app.  I just knew that using paper, pen and clipboard to document safety inspections was inefficient.  The advantage of using technology to me, at the time, was based on improving efficiency by allowing safety data to be transmitted in real-time.  What I didn’t know then, was the true power that this technology brings to industry.

When I say power, I mean data and analytics.  Mobile applications allow safety professionals to easily collect and assimilate data for analytical purposes.  Simply collecting data is not enough.  Unless you are using the data to help improve performance, you are not achieving the full benefits of using this technology.

Let’s say your data shows most safety violations are related to housekeeping, which is not uncommon for many organizations.  But what if the data allows you to see specific areas of your worksite, or specific job tasks where poor housekeeping is an issue?  What if you could analyze that data and identify specific shifts or times of the day where housekeeping is at it’s worst?  This data would help you zero in on the cause and allow you to implement changes that target the specific problem.

Leaders can recognize and appreciate the value that data and analytics bring to their safety program.  Laggards wait until some external force pushes them in that direction.  Those external forces may be OSHA citations, high Experience Mod Rates (EMR), losing on safety when bidding jobs, or simply peer pressure.  

If you haven’t embraced safety technology at your organization, maybe it’s time you did.  The technology is there for the taking and it’s easier and more cost-effective than ever these days.