Paperwork can be laborious. Ensuring both your organisation and workforce are legally compliant is complicated enough, without the added stress of trawling through reams of documentation to find the information you need.
Even relatively straightforward tasks like submitting incident reports or scheduling mandatory training courses become huge time sinks that divert your attention away from more important concerns. In fact, according to data collated by the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE), over 30 million working days were lost in 2017 alone due to health and safety issues, costing the UK economy billions.
How Can Organisations Streamline Health and Safety Management?
Fortunately, the development of health and safety (H&S) software has drastically streamlined the way businesses approach health and safety management.
Whether you work in the construction industry managing complex projects on a day-to-day basis, or a large-scale enterprise with a head count that numbers in the thousands, these tools have become increasingly valuable. Not only as a means of saving time and money, but as a way of mitigating legal complications that might arise further down the line.
However, finding the right health and safety software can be tricky.
With this in mind, here are five key features you should look for when deciding which health and safety software is right for you.
The 5 Key Features of Health and Safety Software
1. Audit Tracking and Visibility
Having a clearly defined audit trail is a crucial part of health and safety management in any organisation. Should things go wrong, transparency and consistency are key, enabling you to conclusively prove that your organisation did everything possible to minimise risk and neutralise hazards within your workplace. The problem is, traditional paper filing systems and Excel spreadsheets can be tricky to navigate, making it difficult to locate important documents when you need it.
However, if all your company records are stored within a single database, accessing them becomes far less time-consuming and stressful. While individual contractors will be able to peruse health and safety policy, medical records, training certificates etc. at their leisure. And, since only the most conscientious individuals are likely to keep every slip of paper they receive during the term of their employment, this can be rather useful when it comes to keeping your contractors up to speed.
As well as centralising company documentation, the best health and safety software packages allow you to automate the distribution of information amongst your staff.
In the past, if one of your contractors needs to renew a specific training certificate, it’d be up to either the principal contractor or the individual contractor to remember the expiration date and update their records accordingly. The downside of this approach, of course, is that it’s easy to lose track; particularly if you’re responsible for a large workforce or the certificate in question only comes up for review every few years.
Pop the information into a health and safety software database, however, and an automatic reminder will be sent out well in advance. This enables businesses to adopt a more proactive approach to potentially disruptive compliance issues, nipping them in the bud before they become a serious problem.
3. Ease of Use
Some might be put off by this comparatively modern approach to health and safety – it’s easy to forget in the digital age that not everyone possesses a level of computer literacy comparable to a seasoned software developer. As such, finding a straightforward, easy-to-use H&S management system is paramount.
That doesn’t mean compromising on functionality; it’s pointless opting for something simple if it lacks the features you require. But nor should you need a PhD in computer science to set up automated reminders or a basic email chain.
Ideally, your service provider will be one that offers advice and support for as long as you’re using the software. Sophisticated as modern health and safety software is, even experienced users will need a helping hand every once in a while.
4. Document Management
If you’re responsible for multiple sub-contractors, you’ll know that every individual needs to have the right certification in order to begin or continue working on a project. It’s a legal requirement. However, organising, storing, and maintaining all this documentation can be extremely difficult – not to mention inefficient – without dedicated health and safety software to manage it all.
The amount of time spent on administration decreases significantly once documentation is stored within a single, widely accessible database. This is true when creating new records and updating existing ones — something which, as an integral part of your company’s health and safety policy, can actually help reduce insurance costs.
Finally, from the individual contractor’s perspective, H&S software simplifies the process of getting in touch with the principal contractor.
This is particularly important when it comes to submitting certain types of documentation, such as mandatory training certificates or medical records, that could easily become lost in a sea of paperwork using traditional filing methods. This is more common than you'd think and could leave your company staring down the barrel of a costly civil suit or your contractor out of work.
Guarantee H&S Compliance in Your Organisation
Transitioning to an online, cloud-based software package is the easiest way to streamline health and safety management within your organisation. More than a secure dashboard for storing important company records, modern software solutions can help keep your company compliant, productive, and safe.