Understanding Safety Software Solutions

Understanding Safety Software Solutions

There is a wide spectrum of options. What do you need to know to protect your team?

In 1935, British mathematician and eventual computer pioneer Alan Turing developed the theory for software. While only an idea at the time, it would lead to the online platforms and applications that we use every day, integral components to modern life and work. 

This includes occupational health and safety, a field that benefits from both tactile safety measures such as PPE and fall prevention, as well as digital, intangible protocols like health and safety software. The people and employees are the most valuable resource within an organization and must be protected. In 2020, nearly 5,000 Americans died on the job, with employees in transportation and material moving roles and construction and extraction occupations making up almost half of those deaths. 

Employee safety impacts everyone and therefore should be a top priority for everyone within the organization, involving all departments and positions.  

A Wide Range of Solutions 

As you will see below, occupational health and safety software can provide a range of different features and benefits. Despite the many variations of this software, the primary objective always remains the same — to protect your people, property and organization according to your local OSHA legislation and regulations. Let’s review the various types of safety software: 

Health and safety training software. A major component of a successful and effective work safety program is regular training and educational sessions or workshops for team members. Health and training software manages the education and training of important safety procedures, policies and protocols, including interactive modules and virtual simulations for training, tracking and monitoring of employee training progress, as well as integration with compliance and employee monitoring software.  

Compliance management software. Compliance management software ensures that your workplace and its activities are aligned with local occupational health and safety legislation and other legal requirements. Ensuring adherence to regulatory requirements, this software can help you track regulatory and legislative changes as well as improve collaboration amongst staff through new, staff-wide safety practices and protocols. Failing to comply will put your people in danger and put your company at risk of heavy fines from the OSHA — in 2022, OSHA fined a roofing contractor $1.3 million for repeated failure to comply with safety regulations and having a long history of safety violations. 

Incident reporting and documentation software. Incident reporting software streamlines the notification of incidents to the employer and employees through digital reporting forms and templates. Leveraging other media such as images and video and audio recordings, incident reporting software will identify areas where improvements can be made so that certain accidents do not take place again. The analytics and reporting features allow the employer to identify potential safety risk and how to mitigate it.  

Employee safety apps. Unlike other safety software, employee safety apps do not require the need for any additional devices or hardware. Smartphone apps can satisfy every societal need, including the right to be safe and healthy while at work. Employee safety apps provide a more diverse selection of safety features that include GPS tracking and real-time location monitoring, panic buttons and emergency alerts, as well as incident reporting and OHS resource access. Additionally, safety apps can provide a reliable channel for communication, including two-way messaging and safety check-ins where the employee confirms their safety with the employer — if a check-in is missed, the employer or emergency contact is notified.

Reduced error. Much of the functions included in workplace safety software are automated, reducing and eliminating the likelihood of human error. When administrative or managerial steps are taken manually, the chances of a mistake are higher. An automated system will help eliminate this problem, allowing employees to focus on their work and allowing the organization to focus human resources on other pressing priorities. 

Finding the best fit 

Whether it’s a focus on consistent compliance or on accessible safety reports, make sure your safety objectives are clearly outlined before researching safety software solutions for your employees. The more specific the OHS objective, helping you look for what exactly your team needs to stay safe. 

The first step is to perform a hazard assessment so that all occupational hazards are documented, identifying safety needs that can be addressed with a software solution. The second step is to conduct a thorough consultation with your employees — on all levels of the organization — so that they can provide their valuable experiences and perspectives to how safety can be improved. The third and final step is to choose two or three software solutions and implement a trial run with some members of the team; most safety solutions offer free software testing for a certain time period so that you can determine if it's addressing your safety challenges. 

In the end, find a safety software system, platform or app that everyone is comfortable using and more importantly, see the value in using while at work — especially if it requires some additional steps to the work day. Having your safety program and its protocols organized under one software platform will make sure that you and your team are as prepared as possible for what lies down the road. 

It’s worth it 

Whether it’s a focus on health and safety training, safety legislation and regulations compliance, incident reporting and documentation or overall employee safety, there is a safety software option for almost any need or challenge you might be facing.  

No matter what you choose, find and implement an employee protection software that everyone is on board with and clearly understands how it will help protect them while at work. Prioritizing employee safety and providing a tool that will protect them, demonstrates that the employer cares about their people and that is always appreciated. 

This article originally appeared in the September 2023 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

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