Extending industrial reach – best practices to gather EHS data

Extending industrial reach – best practices to gather EHS data

Not to mention, data is the modern-day Frankenstein – gone are the days when it was just an asset. With increase in dependencies, it is now showing the signs of liability.

As the fifth industrial revolution progresses, odd bits of machinery are fused with data from real-world systems such as transportation, power plants – man and machine are reconciling together to find new ways of work.

When safety on-job is compromised, organizations are subject to unavoidable quandaries – the natural inclination of ‘passing the buck’ when it comes to accountability does more harm than good.

Leaders in every organization cannot afford to discount the possibility of such breaches, reputational damages and loss of business it will result in. And given the severity that safety fissures are normally present, they need to have a plan in place for when they are confronted with such threats. Seeing things from a hostile actor’s perspective helps define what, and who is at risk. For better systems to manage work permits, incidents and injuries, solutions need to be put in place to keep tabs on industrial activities.

Moving to more technology-based formats to embrace digitization

Collecting data and digitally storing it has become the underlying, real business need and must be determined up front by every organization, along with the anticipated benefits.

Shared understanding across the organization becomes necessary – the belief that these benefits are worth pursuing must be communicated well because these vicissitudes affect many people in the multiple operational areas. As digitization has changed the dynamics of supply and demand, safety software such as Permit to work systems and other EHS software complement the needs of the hour.

Other ways to collect data include using wearables for measuring body temperature, pulse, location, detecting proximities, sudden movements (fall and near-misses) and other data points – to safeguard health and safety of the workers.

To go down the path of collecting data, successful deployment of any software or any means to collect worker data (wearables) requires equal interest from the workers.

This means explaining the worker benefits, instead of company benefits – as resistance to change is hard-wired in our DNA. Like when a company puts its focus on the worker when it considers real-time tracking data, it needs to put front a real, persuasive message across. When they comprehend with the company’s intention of reducing risks and injury, they contribute in keeping themselves safe and healthy. To achieve this, repeating of the same message over and over in unique ways furthers familiarity and consistency.

Assisting industries to achieve their desired goals

But before implementing them, evaluating the potential impact of wearables becomes important as it might aggravate work-related stress. The constant monitoring might create stress – hence it becomes the duty of the employer to remain alert about the on-job whereabouts, train their workforce accordingly and relax the procedures if needed. Software might help, in most of the cases, because although a worker can perceive loss of autonomy and privacy, he/she is aware about injuries that might occur in its absence.

These efforts might go waste if data is collected just for the sake of it – determining insights and information is priority. When an organization knows that the safety software they vouch in provides a bird-eye-view to monitor EHS activities and determines whether the safety efforts are going as planned or are there any deviations, they eliminate ambiguities. They must be aware about the results they are looking in for – be it detailed graphical view of all ongoing permitted work at various locations within your plant/site, or viewing the floor map to see all the standing scaffolds and check their status.

One thing that stands foremost even after implementing the best-of systems in an organization is listening to the employees. Yes, data reveals a lot about the happenstances at a site, there can be instances that require knowing about employee working conditions, their needs, challenges, anxieties and expectations. To better understand the ‘how’s’ and ‘why’s’ of the incidents such as falls, one-to-one conversations with workers are fundamental.

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