As regulatory agencies continue to enforce stricter regulations, it is apparent that worksite safety is a necessity rather than an option. A lack of priority for worker training and safety programs can lead to a negative impact on work culture, detract quality talent and impede business. This is especially important for companies in industries where worksites or equipment can pose a danger if misused, unmaintained or dilapidated. As these companies grow they need to implement scalable processes that not only streamline daily workflows for efficiency, but also ensure safe worksite conditions for workers.
Paper-based collection methods can hinder an organization’s ability to operate effectively. The problems compound when multiple jobsites must be accounted for. Paper processes can also subject the organization to significant risk as the slower, more error-prone method exposes them to situations of penalties for noncompliance or worse, preventable injuries. Mobile data collection solutions, however, allow managers to access and act on error-free inspection reports in real time, turning a company’s safety process from reactive to proactive.
The Business of Worker Safety
While the health of employees is a top priority for job site safety, there are also financial implications organizations must consider. In 2014, job site injuries resulted in more than 340,000 lost employee workdays. Each of those workdays incurs costs that impact an organization’s bottom line—in more ways than one. Not only will the productivity and morale of the team be affected, but for each worksite incident, companies must be prepared for other financial implications. Some of these may include workers’ compensation, incident investigation and remediation, potential liability and legal fees, and even the possibility of regulatory fines. In fact, fines for penalties alone are enough to significantly reduce a company’s profitability. On August 1, 2016, OSHA increased penalties for serious violations to $12,600 per incident and willful/repeated violations to $126,000. As internal costs and fines for violations continue to increase, it will become nearly impossible for businesses to operate in the black without clearly defined safety processes that eliminate the potential for—what could be—a crippling situation.
The Importance of Time
Many of these direct and indirect costs associated with worksite injuries can be eliminated through proactive and timely safety procedures. However, current processes are not sufficient. With a paper-based method, it could take up to 5 days to enter a report into a system that would then notify the appropriate parties. In those 5 days, the vulnerability could turn from a risk to an incident simply because the reporting, alerting and remedying were delayed. Had this hazard been recorded right away using an effective software solution, the appropriate parties could be notified immediately, and the enterprise could avoid the negative impacts of a worksite injury.
The Importance of Accuracy
Simply put, timely reporting prevents accidents but timeliness is not enough. While site supervisors must be immediately apprised of threats so they can quickly inform their workforce to mitigate risk, the accuracy of the information is equally as important. When using paper-based methods, concerns can be misrepresented through incomplete forms and inaccurate reporting of the worksite condition. If potential hazards are not communicated to employees it can result in significant fines from various regulatory agencies. Even the simplest mistake on an inspection report could cost a company over $100,000 in fines.
Data capture and workflow facilitated through a mobile solution significantly reduces errors in inspection reporting. By using a technology solution that includes pictures and conditional logic to ensure data accuracy backed by an alert process, site managers are quickly made aware of expanding dangers. Moreover, they can communicate in real time and take the appropriate actions needed to mitigate threats. By eliminating errors in the process, organizations significantly reduce the chance for missed hazards and threatening incidents at their worksites.
The Importance of Scalable Processes
When inspection reporting is optimized for usability and meets the company’s unique business requirements, it allows companies to operate to—and even beyond—standard safety regulations. Since unannounced safety audits are increasing, having excellent worksite conditions will safeguard against the threat of a surprise audit. Discussing hazardous situations during safety meetings is necessary, but deploying additional safety procedures to reduce risk of a potential harm is proactive and builds trust among employees.
Making all safety procedures and risks—even temporary ones—actionable or avoidable allows site managers to operate efficiently. Updating a mobile form to accommodate temporary changes in the steps to inspect the site is much simpler than updating a paper form. Additional fields can be added quickly, and with built-in conditional logic, site managers confirm important information is documented during the inspection. Having the ability to align forms to the current process and also to accommodate for extraneous events enables the organization to be as agile and responsive as it can be in preventing worksite injury.
By implementing a timely, accurate and scalable reporting process, your employees can focus on the work they were hired to do versus spending company time and money rectifying preventable situations. In doing so, considerable fines and other financial and productivity impacts can be avoided.