Published On: Thu, Nov 8th, 2018

How Mobile Audit Software Can Make Safety Management More Effective

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an average of 14 people die due to work-related injuries every day.

photo David Peña via pixabay

Some 2.9 million non-fatal workplace injuries annual result in a median of eight days of recovery time per worker. The total cost of injuries at work, fatal and non-fatal, was estimated to be $142.5 billion in 2015, with 99 million lost production days.

It’s humbling to read statistics like this, but it underscores the fact that health and safety management is of paramount importance to employees and organizations. Accidents can and will happen, but every effort should be made to minimize risk and prevent your organization from becoming a contributor to the grim numbers.

In this article, we’ll show you how audit software plays an integral role in meeting safety regulations and maintaining a safe working environment. First, let’s discuss the essential elements of health and safety management

Safety management is, for the most part, common sense — though not every worker is blessed with it. When you take a practical approach to tasks, behavior, and attitude in the workplace, you eliminate a large percentage of incidents. However, there is a certain amount of due diligence involved, a commitment to controlling and continually improving health and safety.

A tried-and-tested way of carrying out due diligence making necessary improvements is the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) method, which works as follows:

  • Plan — Assess current or new processes, figure out how they can be improved and draw up a plan
  • Do — Put the plan into action
  • Check — Measure performance and investigate the causes of accidents and incidents
  • Act — Review performance and take action on lessons learned

Safety managers must ensure that all assets (facilities and equipment) and processes are in line with current industry regulations. Using PDCA can guarantee this is the case. But the four-step method is only achievable through regular and thorough reporting, which is where mobile audit apps come in.

How mobile audit software improves safety management

Paper is no longer the best method for continuous improvement in a fast-moving workplace. It’s too clunky and laborious. Completing a form in pen is time-consuming, while handwriting both slows down data transfer and runs the risk of being misread or misinterpreted. Then there’s the tedious transfer of forms via fax, entered into a spreadsheet, or handed over when an inspector returns to the office. All of these methods slow the data gathered in safety audits to a crawl, and inspection results are days-old before they can be acted upon.

Mobile audit apps make things a whole lot simpler, not least because you can access them from your smartphone at any time and from any location. Data can be entered and reviewed in real-time, transforming a process that takes days on paper into one that takes minutes.

In the case of a failed safety inspection, the time saved using mobile audit software can mean the difference between life and death.

While efficiency is the most significant benefit mobile apps possess in improving safety management effectiveness, their features extend beyond time-saving. They provide insight and oversight in all the key areas required to maintain a safe workplace, including asset inspections, process audits, site visits, and incident reporting.

Here are six such features:

#1: Dynamic form creation

Apps allow forms to adjust to who you are, where you are, and what you’re doing. Forms can be pre-populated with predefined answers based on information such as name, date, time, and location. This helps to streamline processes and cut down on human errors in audits and inspections.

#2: Real-time feedback

Data is sent in real-time so that the necessary personnel has access to the information they need to make decisions and implement next steps while the inspector is still in the field. When equipment has failed or an inspection exposes hazards in the environment, this instant feedback process ensures safety and prevents downtime.

#3: Supplemented data

Pictures can be added to mobile audit software reports via a device’s camera and marked up to highlight specific details for further inspection or clarification. If something is hard to put into words, an image can help tell the story.

#4: Automated workflow procedures

While paper must be sent and passed onto the necessary parties, mobile apps are fully integrated so that everyone is kept in the loop. The right personnel can be alerted instantly upon the completion of a form, while follow-up workflows can be triggered based on the results of an inspection or audit. This process ensures there are no delays.

#5: Faster analysis

Data instantly aggregates into a business intelligence dashboard or your current IT infrastructure for quick and easy analysis. No need to input data from forms into a spreadsheet or photocopy audits for review — apps put everything in one place where it can be compared to historical data to implement improvements.

#6: Digital footprint

Mobile apps offer accountability, making it easy to see when previous audits/inspections were carried out and by whom. Findings are synced to a central cloud database and documented instantly. Every aspect of a report can be tracked without the risk of losing data.

Some final thoughts

Given the risks, employees face in the workplace and the damage injuries can cause to individuals and organizations, employers should put forth every effort to ensure continuous improvement. Increase the effectiveness of your own safety management by following the PDCA method and embrace mobile apps for more efficient processes.

Form.com is developed for speed and accuracy in reporting for greater compliance and to keep workers safe on the job. Request a demo today to see how it works for your organization.

Author: Alex Brown


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