Make the switch from pen, paper, and spreadsheets to a digital system in a smooth way.
Many companies today still refuse to enter the digital era. They stick to keeping physical files and using Excel spreadsheets to drive their quality and safety processes. This has a negative impact on productivity and can lead to serious consequences and risks such as loss of data due to a manipulation error, unusable files, time-consuming edits, and changes. As mentioned in this article, digital transformation is a necessity that applies equally to any company regardless of the sector. Another great example of this can be found in the food processing industry, where a poor safety procedure can have significant business implications. It is crucial to take the big step toward digitizing our safety program no matter what industry we are in.
However important it may be, it is clear that not all companies have the time or manpower to digitize their processes. The digitalization of a safety program can be an overwhelming task for companies of all types and sizes, especially when considering the variety of solutions available on the market. Nevertheless, just like how we use digital services outside of work for a better quality of life, we can also apply digital tools in our organization for better performance and to maintain the safety of the people working on high-risk tasks.
It is clear that the necessity for digital transformation is a reality today and that it will be essential for any company that wants to remain competitive and sustainable. We want to make this procedure easier for you, so we have a step-by-step guide to start digitizing your security processes. If you’re still on the fence about digital transformation, here are three advantages that will make you want to take the next step toward the future of your company.
Three Advantages of a Digitized Safety Program
1. Be in the lead
As mentioned, undergoing digital transformation is no longer a matter of whether your company will make these changes, but rather when it will make them, so transitioning toward digital tools sooner will guarantee your company remains on the cutting edge. Safety and compliance reporting will inevitably move away from spreadsheets.
By resisting change, your company will delay the scalability of your processes. As explained in this article, many companies reported starting the digital transformation processes in 2018, and with the advent of the pandemic and remote work, that process has only accelerated.
If your organization has been sticking with outdated reporting methods, this may cause document loss, faults of blocking procedures, or a general lack of security processes due to mistakes by those involved, which puts the company at risk of fines.
2. Communication and immediate support
The role of lockout tagout program and procedures in an organization is to guard lives and property. These safety systems require reliability and instant communication. The lack of connectivity and communication can generate risky situations, especially in industries where supervisors could be off duty during a lockout tagout procedure or where a piece of machinery could be locked out by an employee who is currently off duty.
By taking advantage of digital tools, workers can advance through a guided digital workflow, and alerts can be sent in real-time so that managers or supervisors are aware of what’s happening. Storing and managing all the data collected can provide detailed information and in-depth reports, helping management and business leaders identify safety problems and address them immediately.
3. Reduce the stress of your audits
Audits are always a cause of stress and nervousness among workers and leaders. But an OSHA audit doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. If your organization is complying with the regulations and keeping a good record of your processes, audit days will be another day at work.
Through a safety audit software solution, your processes, and the work of accessing the necessary information both during and after the audit will be easier. Relying on paper records can make it difficult to access the information necessary to provide compliance or corrective action. In the worst scenario, data can be lost.
Five Steps to Start Digitizing Your Safety Program
It may be that your company is already venturing into the digitalization of its safety program and processes. When undertaking this procedure many aspects need to be taken into consideration, as reflected in this article, but if you don't know where to start, here is a simple step-by-step guide.
Step 1 - Establish a delegation of safety program digitalization
Delegate digital transformation to a team of people responsible for monitoring the digitalization process. They will be responsible for supervising progress and allocating resources to guarantee results in each area.
This team should be composed of a leader from each department who will digitize their processes and resources.
Step 2 - Create a high-level overview of your digitalization process
Identify the main areas and existing processes that fit best for the digitalization method. What is going to be digitalized and in what time frame?
Create a timeline of all the phases to be fulfilled. Avoid rushing the process. The interests of each department must be taken into consideration and all parties must be aligned in terms of time and expectations of compliance and delivery.
Step 3 - Collect all your records and any data you have logged
Go through all incident and safety reports and forms in the same way each of your branch leaders makes a list of all forms for particular tasks, such as lockout/tagout.
At first, it may be tedious, you might struggle knowing where to start and where to locate all the records, but this collection and documentation procedure can save your organization many headaches in the future.
Step 4 - Create a plan with reasonable and scalable goals
Ask yourself “Which goals are reasonable?” and divide them into monthly goals to have a clear set of expectations in the first three months.
Organize each goal into small tasks to be implemented week after week. This will make the process more manageable for the personnel active in the project. You will help your digitalization team stay motivated to succeed in the operation and avoid becoming overwhelmed.
Step 5 - Select digitalization solutions and test them in your delegation
It is time to choose the digital program, software, and solutions that will accompany you in creating a digital safety program. Before selecting, you must ask key questions about each of the options available to you:
- Is there training available for your team?
- Will the solution provider support the implementation?
- Is this solution going to facilitate data entry and access?
Once your team investigates the pros and cons of each solution, narrow your choices down to three and test them in the field with the leaders of the digitalization team.
As your delegation progresses, share with them the victories and challenges of implementing the new system, always keep them involved at every step!
The Path to Creating a Digitalized Safety Program
Creating a positive safety culture is not a piece of cake. As explored in this guide, by digitizing your security processes so that they are easily and quickly accessible to all teams, you will achieve a reduction in incidents and accidents, along with an increase in efficiency and productivity.
Implementing these changes will encourage everyone in the organization to make security a priority and a part of their daily routine and, in the same way, it will allow you to closely monitor the security performance of your company and facilitate continuous improvement.