While data is being sold on the promise of being the new oil – organizations are still at struggle to come in terms with its capture and handling.
Health and safety which was largely limited to be an organizational pursuit has shifted its focus to people-centric technologies now. Whether it is incident management or maintenance of vendor-contractor-supplier data.
The future role of data within environmental, occupational, health and safety will be defined under three distinct heads (though there will be more):
- Preventive compliance data stream
- Performance and anticipatory management
- Predictive data stream
The happenstance of all the three enlisted data streams are being currently tested in the wild. Oil and gas, process safety and automotive sectors being the principal domains. While pharma and biotechnology along with electronics being the emerging domains that will reap benefits.
A recent environmental setback due to excessive CFC emissions from China originated from rogue industries. These showed up on the global monitoring data, however, to track down the culprits and to shut them down was a whole different ballgame altogether.
Increasingly as we move towards meeting global man-made climate change goals, international monitoring networks would be required to ease liabilities and develop mutual confidence. Although the idea is still far-fetched, simple monitoring and reporting mechanisms like the AQI (Air Quality Index) go on to show the strength of data capture.
Industrial networks of same sort have already been envisioned but not taken much further. Oil and gas stations (offshore and onshore) follow strict monitoring guideline. But an industrial network of collaborative data sharing organizations would mean more effective studies on the effects of industrial intervention into modern day climate.
Similarly, local industrial areas can convert there individual EHS efforts into combined knowledge and create a performance platform of sorts – report, aggregate and initiate steps to de-escalate environmental damage.
The current industrial practice of isolated parameter vigilance will have to give way to combined efforts. If not at industry level, then the pollution monitoring and control agencies will have to get together and implement such a scheme in environmentally sensitive areas like near waterways, ecologically sensitive zones and even urban cities.
There is need of making our learning last longer and good data capture and relay mechanisms can precisely enable that. However, with great data comes the need of better process engines.
Therefore, the need of collaborative efforts becomes more accentuated as it seems more efficient and better secured.
Future role of data in EHS has efficiency written all over it and software systems deployed in collaborative monitoring efforts seems to be the most likely manner in which, more and more sense can be made of the global heating or climate change.