OSHA Digitizing Reporting of Injuries and Illnesses – Incident Reporting – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had planned on requiring businesses across the U.S. to submit workplace illness and injury reports digitally, however this proposed rule has now been rescinded by OSHA. Unfortunately it would seem to be the case that many businesses have yet to make the shift to managing their EHS data digitally. This would have put them at risk of significant fines. Most of these companies, workflows such as safety meetings, safety inspections and accident reports documented on paper forms or spreadsheets and mailed to OSHA are still the norm. It’s a time-consuming and error-prone process that also delays accident and incident reporting to both business managers and OSHA.
It would seem inevitable that companies will make the shift to managing their EHS data digitally as there are huge benefits in terms of efficiency and compliance. With non-compliance fines starting at over $10,000, it’s a problem that companies can’t afford to ignore. But compliance isn’t just a legal mandate; observing safety rules also creates a safer, healthier workplace culture for all—which equates to more productive and happier employees.
But digital transformation can seem like a huge undertaking. Truth is, it doesn’t have to be an all-in approach. Today, out-of-the-box digital tools and processes take the hard work out of meeting OSHA’s new reporting requirements and move companies up the digital transformation maturity ladder, at a pace that works for them, with no coding.
If you’re looking to move away from manual, paper-intensive EHS workflows and achieve OSHA compliance, while implementing good employer safety practices, following are five things to consider.
- Focus on Flexibility First
EHS compliance checklists can vary across industry and even from facility-to-facility. As such, businesses need the flexibility to create checklists specific to their needs. Cloud-based EHS apps provide out-of-the-box, fully-customizable compliance checklists and forms digitized for use on any smart phone or tablet.
Building forms that can be used to report incidents, hazards and near-misses that can be easily used by employees or contractors to report these events will improve employee engagement and reduce the total case incident rate (TCIR)
- Future-Proof Your Compliance
As regulations change, apps that allow for no-code updates through the building of flexible forms to gather the required information with changes rolled out to all devices automatically, helps give safety managers the confidence that they are collecting the right information, at the right juncture.
- Managing Safety
Using Cloud based safety software that can capture incidents, hazards and near misses and also manage the auditing / inspection requirements and training management will help create a safety culture within the organization. A key requirement to managing safety is being able to measure it, therefore the ability for users to be able to easily build their own dashboards within these software applications is pivotal. Applications that have rigid reporting or that don’t allow users to build their own dashboards limit the organizations ability to manage employee safety and compliance.
Fostering a culture of safety starts at the top. To this end, executive management must commit to providing the resources, tools, training (OHSA offers a number of programs to help businesses do their work safely), and guidance needed to help employees work safely. With the right tone and commitment set at the top, credibility and momentum for such a culture will trickle down throughout the organization.
- Enable that Culture with the Right Technology
Top-down leadership is the first step towards cultivating a workplace safety culture, but the onus doesn’t have to be all on the C-suite. Companies must invest in the right tools and technology that enable that culture. Why?
Legacy paper-based processes add complexity to the tracking and management of regulations and fail to scale as companies grow. Not only are these workflows a burden and a liability, their very unwieldiness stymies the adoption of an EHS culture—staff are over-extended, bogged down in manual, tedious processes when their time could be better utilized elsewhere to help prevent incidents.
Bespoke solutions used to be the answer but lack the flexibility to scale with the business or adopt to the changing regulatory environment, without the need for costly programming help. The impact? The business remains bound by a rigid structure, opening it up to non-compliance and an inability to adapt to changing working practices.
Today’s technology applications offer advanced solutions that can help support and sustain a culture of EHS excellence. Digital EHS apps include ready-baked software that enables instant compliance (no need to build your own system) across the various needs of the business, while being flexible enough to keep pace with change in a streamlined, seamless and non-impactful way.
- Use Data to Inform Business Decisions and Health of Your Business
A critical yet often overlooked best practice for changing the way your business approaches environmental health and safety is learning from the data at its fingertips. Improvements in accuracy and speed of reporting brought about by digitized workflows help paint a more complete and detailed picture of what is happening in the field. Using real-time data rather than sifting through mounds of paper, companies can extract, analyze, share and apply those data insights to prevent future problems and improve working conditions. On the financial front, that represents a potentially huge savings in terms of insurance, lost man-hours, and of course avoiding giant fines from OSHA. A key requirement to managing safety is being able to measure it, therefore the ability for users to be able to easily build their own dashboards within these software applications is pivotal. Applications that have rigid reporting or that don’t allow users to build their own dashboards limit the organizations ability to manage employee safety and compliance.
In conclusion, although compliance with OSHA’s new digital reporting regulations has been deferred, organizations should embrace to modernize key business processes. In addition to risk-mitigation, digitizing your EHS workflow brings a multitude of benefits that can drive business transformation and modernization, improving workplace safety and compliance.
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Asset Inspection Management Software
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