Three Best Ways to Utilize Technology in EHS

Big or small, there’s no doubt that technology affects and challenges the way your business operates more and more every day.  So what separates the strong from the weak?  Success from failure? Throwing it back to ancient Greece, philosopher Heraclitus said, “All is flux, nothing stays still – there is nothing permanent except change.” Evolve, adapt, progress, change!

Today, entire industries can disappear with a wave of new technology, and the most common error businesses can make is thinking they’re immune to that change.  In the EHS world, we’re just on the brink of our technology transformation, but make no mistake it’s coming fast and furious.  Below is the three best ways to utilize technology in EHS:

What is it?  Big Data in a nutshell, is when a data set is so large or complex that traditional data processing applications become inadequate, making it difficult to capture, analyze, share, and maintain security.  As we capture more data of greater complexity, the potential of that data grows in kind.  Take Asset Management for example – most organizations manage assets independent of EHS performance when truly the two are very closely connected.   By making them mutually exclusive, you can leverage and manage this Big Data to glean deeper insights into performance and proactively mitigate risks.  Big Data also has the ability to truly link EHS management with operational management, which is the foundation for many of the safest companies in the world.

Real-time business intelligence (RTBI) is more than a competitive edge in EHS, it’s the difference between lagging and leading indicators to prevent accidents before they happen.  A big part of that is enabling your workforce to record and submit their EHS data anytime, anywhere.  Enter Mobile – Taking things one step further in the tech transformation of centralized EHS software, mobile uses offline capabilities, GPS, and photos to create incident records in the field.  Incidents are logged in the moment while the details are fresh in the involved parties’ memories, and on-site evidence is captured and attached to the record.  Once internet connectivity is restored, the record is synced to your central EHS system, available for analysis and trending.

By nature, social media is closely tied to community, culture, and collaboration.  By virtue of this, there is growing potential for social media to act as a valuable tool in creating or strengthening your organization’s safety culture.  It can be anything from Linked and Twitter, to Flicker or Instagram.  Some tips to keep in mind when embarking on your corporate social media venture are — start small, monitor your progress, and make it easy.

•Beta/control groups are a great way to test the waters across various representative groups, identify the commonalities, and work out the kinks before releasing the social community company-wide.

•Regularly rate your users’ experience through surveys and focus groups in order to identify your challenges and develop strategies for success.  Use analytic tools to measure engagement — percent of employees using, length of time spent using, and engagement through commenting/liking/posting.

•Eliminate roadblocks — make sure that your employees have the appropriate hardware to maximize engagement, provide training and help for those are new to social media, and integrate social media into the day to day work culture instead of an “on your own time” activity.

Visit us again in the coming weeks for more information on technology in the EHS industry.  Up next – we talk about how to align your EHS objectives with your IT department’s priorities.

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