Mobile technology in manufacturing and resource extraction industries are typically not thought to go hand in hand. Indeed, most employers discourage personal mobile devices from shop floors and from near any use with heavy equipment and transport. We all clearly understand why: personal consumer mobile applications are sources of distraction, putting safety at risk and productivity as well. While this is undoubtedly true, banning all use of mobile technologies may be holding your company back. Traditional health and safety investments at some point suffer diminished returns, especially if they are not modernized for the new workplace. Worse still, separate software for environmental compliance and yet again for Quality Assurance all threaten to replace manual processes with technical burdens. New social and mobile technology offers the opportunity to drive safety engagement, environmental compliance and quality assurance throughout an entire organization using a unified platform.
Employers should consider the potential that integrated EHSQ platforms enabled with mobile technology hold. Mobile solutions, thoughtfully and carefully applied, can be used in myriad ways to help employees. Think re-imagined processes, not the same process but on a mobile device. Safe zones for using mobile devices, safe practices for their use, and safe lockdowns to prevent their misuse are all undoubtedly necessary “guard rails” to place around mobile technology. Rethinking mobile opportunities for the manufacturing workplace, start by re-imagining processes with an eye toward performance-based, behavior oriented, educational and engaging communication tools. Mobile solutions offer the opportunity to keep employees informed, engaged and more likely to adopt safe behaviors.
Consider these “game-changing” elements of an integrated EHSQ platform enabled with mobile technology:
- Make Everyone a Safety Agent with mobile in the workplace. Safety 2.0 lessons tell us that observations of unsafe behaviors and unsafe equipment are the first (and most often overlooked) opportunities for intervention to reduce workplace incidents. Mobile puts the chance to collaborate on this mission into every workers’ hands.
- Streamline Data Integration with mobile reporting workflow that increases the accuracy of collected data and allow for a leaner environmental team to achieve multiple regulatory reporting requirements.
- Predict and Prevent Incidents using Data Science aligned against these new torrents of available mobile data streams, allowing for benchmarking on leading indicators and prescriptive avoidance of serious incidences. Big Data infrastructure offers up the promise of safety “personalization” that reaches every corner of the shop room floor and every person in the field.
- Deploy Mobile Learning to provide health and safety solutions in small, meaningful and memorable doses. Being able to sustain safety over time implies ongoing efforts. Mobile eLearning modules provide the opportunity to add incremental skills training that have a cumulative effect on company safety performance versus one-time large-scale classroom events. Provide precise interventions of learning, reminders, and assistance by sending the right people the right information in the right place at the right time.
- Gamify Employee Communications and training to make it more enjoyable and engaging. A badge inside a mobile app is likely to mean more than a plaque on a wall.
Don’t take a risk on risk management
When considering adopting an EHSQ integrated platform, be sure it is field tested and battle ready for use of mobile tech within a manufacturing environment. Ensure that it is optimized to capture leading indicators. More than just data capture, does it offer integrated predictive and prescriptive analytics capabilities? Does it streamline across environmental, health & safety, and quality compliance requirements?
The key of course is to think beyond compliance requirements to engaging workers in new and meaningful ways on their stewardship of EHSQ while maintaining high productivity. The right platform for head office and the field offers the opportunity to meaningfully engage in the moments that matter, prevent injuries and save lives, while reducing overhead, driving quality and improving productivity.