The 80-20 inversion: how we waste time and money when we don’t have automated systems

Tracking and analyzing near-misses and at-risk behaviours should be central to any preventive health and safety management system. In 2003 ConocoPhillips Marine conducted a study that indicated that for every workplace fatality, there were at least 300,000 at-risk behaviours – basically, activities inconsistent with health and safety rules – and about 3,000 near misses. This applies across organizations of any size and is the basis of the classic Safety Pyramid. And the same essential dynamic also applies in any Quality Management System (QMS), except instead of lost time and fatalities, we’re looking at defects, recalls, rework, and huge brand damage. However, too often businesses fail to track recordable injuries, lost time and fatalities, and in the QMS sphere they fail to track the same kinds of proactive data. 

But tracking near misses, at-risk behaviours, and potential quality issues can be a challenging and exhaustive task for any business, especially when a health and safety program is based on paper documents or disparate, siloed software systems, like spreadsheet programs, word processors, and shared network drives.

Organizations that leverage proven, web-based health and safety software solutions, conversely, benefit from the 80-20 inversion, a dynamic that unlocks frozen time and resources and fosters a greater capacity to track and manage at-risk behaviors and near misses, thereby reducing illnesses, minimizing injuries, saving lives and, quite critically, minimizing costs. Working with standard tools, safety and quality personnel on average spend 80% of their time and resources on data collection and only 20% of time and resources assessing that data. The latter part is key, given only thorough analysis will help health and safety experts identify trends and proactively minimize hazards. 

Companies that shift to a robust, streamlined EHS or quality management solution move to 20% data collection and 80% assessment and prevention. With such systems, data only has to be entered into the system only once in a web form, freeing time and resources to analyze data, identify trends, and implement preventive activities and mechanisms. The net benefit is more time spent on analysis, evaluation, and implementing corrective/preventive actions.

This is, quite simply, the core of a proactive EHS/Quality management system and what every organization ought to be doing to minimize the impact on their bottom lines.

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