In burgeoning economies, small and medium businesses are becoming a pillar for growth. As many business owners have their eyes only on financial success, employee health and safety is compromised or overlooked many times. Whereas those that have a well-developed plan for employee safety, they have seen a significant return on investment. Industries run on tight schedules and rely upon swift decision making. It is often difficult to compete with well-established industries for small and medium businesses. According to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) regulation existing in several countries, it is mandatory that all small businesses have an occupational health and safety program. However, in case of India, there is no such statutory compliance stipulated or enforced by the law, except maybe for SMEs based in manufacturing “factory” environment. In fact, regulation of OHS and HSE aspects remains one of the biggest challenges within Indian SMEs which account for 40 percent of the labour workforce.
Incidents can occur in any organization depending upon the type of the industry, it would be wrong to assume that small and medium businesses are immune to accidents. In fact, if there are no safety standards in such industries, incidents are bound to reoccur and even become cyclical. Insufficient safety standards are one of the causes that can lead to such workplace hazards.
There are industries which are still using paper based incident reporting mechanism. And these files are locked in cabinets with years of employee safety information. Resulting in bad reporting mechanism, offering limited scope for job hazard identification. Which can provide useful insights for company in reporting such accidents and allow them to improvise there operational strategy for creating a safe and efficient workplace environment.
Small and medium companies have distinct challenges when it comes to realizing their safety standards. As they don’t have the same amount of “EHS professional resources” available as compared to larger organizations. It is seen that employees of small enterprises are subjected to greater risk compared to larger organizations. Which in turn results in difficulty of controlling workplace related hazards.
Poor OSH management, organizational features of work and employment, economic position etc. are seen as the loop holes in creating and maintaining, a safe and healthy work environment. Other factors like lack of expertise, budgetary constraints, and limited resources are also some of the major factors that play a role in small and medium businesses in maintaining safety culture.
The pace at which the EHS domain is evolving, it will continue to traverse across newer concepts in coming years. Recently, we have seen increased demand of SaaS (Software as a Service) based system in different industries such as oil and gas, pharmaceutical, automotive etc. The reason for this is that such workforce intensive industries already have ample amount of data, all they want now is to derive meaningful insights from this data. Information that can help them understand how they can perform better, manage resources and in the end increase profit.
Small and medium businesses can reap the benefits of such specific insights which businesses, organisations and even core sector industries are looking for by employing an EHS management system which can deliver great results. EHS segments that are managed through this are:
- Incident Management
- Audit Management
- Risk Assessment
- Sustainability Management & many others
Implementing an EHS management software should be seen as a return on investment rather than a budgetary overhead. A software based approach to EHS would enable small and medium businesses to envision a way of conducting business which can fall in sync with the Sustainable Development Goals as identified by UNDP with support of ILO and WHO. In recent times, due to mobile apps and hybrid applications, it is possible to stay informed and updated, even if you are not onsite. Mobile friendly EHS management system allows you to monitor your daily tasks and keep in touch with any important information that you should need redressal or decision. So implementing EHS management system can be the first step for companies to move towards EHS digitalization.
Supported by updated development frameworks and cloud based distribution, EHS management software can enable small and medium businesses to exploit ubiquitous information availability for swifter decision making while expanding their overall vision, for a sustainable and more productive future.