Mobile apps in support of safety have been around for a while but tended to be a bit clunky and not really fit for purpose. With the advent of faster processing and more effective smart phone/tablet technology then organisations are now starting to see major benefits.
As we know with human nature, if something isn’t easy to use, people wont use it so that’s a major focus for the service providers, along with quick fixes and 24/7 support. It has to be easy, it has to work, not just for the organisation tracking issues and trends but for the people inputting the data in the first place. We all know about learned helplessness and it’s easy to stop using technology if it doesn’t work for us.
Positioned as a business intelligence tool it replaces many of the old safety systems that required people sitting down and filling out paperwork that may or may not be acknowledged as useful, spending time waiting for a computer to become free or even having to do it out of hours after shifts etc. Being in real time users can see what’s happening and track the data as an individual or as a team so they have the confidence I knowing that something’s happening with their input and its actually ‘valuable’ or more importantly ‘valued’. Being valued or having input that’s valued is key in engagement strategies. Of course, this drives up more effective reporting and more trends can be considered and shared around the organisation proactively to ensure potential events/ incidents are stopped before they can even happen.
For the safety manager or director there’s the benefits of no more excel spreadsheets that need to be ready for the next meeting, that might or might not be seen as important or more often than not a ‘tick box’ exercise until the next meeting! And how many of ‘us’ struggle with the graphs… no more my friends, technology will do that for us so no more sleepless nights!
More importantly, and to me the crux of this technology, is that safety personnel have more effective time to:
- Have more meaningful conversations (they need to be able to be competent in having effective conversations of course)
- More time to go out and listen to people (not just talk to them)
- More day to day contact builds relationships through engagement which leads to all sorts of business improvement through collaboration
Many of our clients are reporting reductions in lost time incidents and accidents along with the severity rates. I’m not sure its all down to the technology because perhaps by introducing the technology you have a focus on safety already and looking for continuous improvement, but as part of a strategic approach then it has to be an option well worth considering.