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Field safety management software is the foundation of an effective safety management program

By The Fulcrum Team
November 9, 2022

With unsafe working conditions causing thousands of workers deaths and injuries each year, alongside tens of thousands of safety violations, workplaces are rightfully regulated. For a wide range of industries, safety inspections are the frontline tool that make jobs, workers, and sites safer, as well as prevent OSHA fines, lawsuits, and even corporate criminal prosecutions.

But despite workplace safety inspections clearly preventing incidents, injuries, and deaths, implementing an effective, enterprise-wide safety management program is no easy task.

Facing current cross-sector labor shortages and higher wages in an unstable economy, companies are asking safety managers to do more with less, often leading them to hire people with limited safety and work experience.

When unskilled labor meets shrinking resources, however, it creates a vicious cycle that continually jeopardizes safety. Safety inspections often get framed as an annoying formality or time-wasting burden – a dangerous myopia that leads to accepting safety shortcuts, proliferating hazards across sites and jobs, and perpetuating a workforce culture that downplays safety.

New technologies, however, are revolutionizing the safety inspection process with affordable, powerful, and user-friendly digital platforms. These are tools are specifically designed to manage safety inspection programs more efficiently, regardless of size or sector– and in a way that improves wider business outcomes – so that workers or inspectors aren’t pushed to take shortcuts that compromise safety.

As more companies look to digitize their safety programs, an essential question emerges: where to start?

In this blog, we’ll look at why implementing safety management software is easier than you think and how doing it can radically improve safety and business outcomes across your entire organization, even if its implementation is only gradual.

Key pointers to remember before starting

If you’re starting from scratch, it may be overwhelming to do a full-scale safety management software implementation. But if you’re hesitating, there’s a few things to keep in mind.

First, the wider stakes involved. While inspections start from the premise of ensuring safety, their importance quickly widens to encompass broader business outcomes like company reputation, insurance coverage, profit margins, and more. Even the costs of a commonplace concussion, for example, very quickly add up: assuming a 5% profit margin, a concussion will cost a company over $114,000 in direct and indirect costs and require over $2.3 million of additional sales to cover them – a shocking figure for most, if not all, companies.

Secondly, starting a digital inspection program is easier than you think. Leading safety management software providers like Fulcrum are the epitome of cutting-edge technology that’s user-friendly and plug-and-play, great for small to medium-sized companies that may not have the resources or experience to best tackle these challenges.

Finally, there’s incredible value in getting started right away because of the immediate benefits to your safety program right out of the box, even if you’re not sure what the full extent of what you need.

In other words, you don’t have to undertake a massive overhaul of your safety management program all at once to see real results. Integrating safety field inspection software can be approached piecemeal, implementing as few as one singular inspection process to begin with, so you can prove the ROI and effectiveness of using tech for safety and fuel greater appetite for modernization.

Going digital

Field safety inspection software provides the strongest starting point for any safety program. Deployable directly out-of-the-box across teams and processes, field safety inspection software connects the right information to the right people at the right time, delivering the consistent and seamless communication you need to establish and manage a rigorous, data-driven safety inspection program that keeps everyone safe.Field safety management software - woman worker performing inspection

Besides being easier than you think, going digital and integrating software into your safety inspection program offers some truly great advantages from the get-go, including the following are major benefits.

Better safety inspection records

Companies using traditional paper and spreadsheet-based inspection methods may believe they’re saving costs, but they encounter several downsides. These include transcription errors, lost forms, inaccurate data, information gaps, slow remediation, and time wasted compiling data. These issues hinder safety issue identification and compliance efforts.

Conversely, digital platforms establish clear, repeatable processes, accessible in real-time. This fosters consistency, leading to safer work and improved inspections.

Consistent SOPs

If carefully and consistently followed, SOPs are much more likely to produce safe results. Digital platforms enable safety managers to create and share customizable checklists. These checklists provide detailed instructions for safe task execution, worker guidance, or project standardization. This way, safety measures are incorporated directly into task execution rather than as an afterthought, ensuring safety from the start. This reduces overall inspection and remediation time, as well as the time and cost of rework. Similarly, inspectors can be given strict SOPs to make sure that what they are inspecting is both safe and compliant.

Standardizing the same cloud-connected information across your organization, a digital SOP becomes the record of choice from which your entire workforce can perform tasks consistently and accurately, and the key to improving safety outcomes.

Faster onboarding

With these easy-to-follow SOPs, new and inexperienced employees have very clear instructions for how to perform a task and that guide them to required safety standards, regardless of their experience or role.

Managers streamline onboarding by creating custom SOP checklists with step-by-step instructions using drop-down menus. Employees can effortlessly access and follow SOPs on their mobile devices. By showing only the necessary steps based on the immediate task at hand, new hires avoid cognitive overload and confusion, correctly and safety executing the job every time.

Field safety management software - man performing safety inspection on tablet

Value-added multimedia and geolocation

Paper-and-spreadsheet inspection systems can’t include value-added multimedia asset that are critical to creating a complete picture of safety incidents. Digital platforms, on the other hand, allow you to easily upload photos and videos to any records you create. Workers follow visual procedures in SOPs and share multimedia with supervisors for work validation and site conditions. Inspectors can then access and reference these assets when checking sites for safety and compliance. Automatically geotagged digital records indicate where to dispatch remediation teams, strengthening compliance and streamlining processes.

Better analysis, insights, and decisions

Digital inspection software supplies you with a constant stream of safety data, always updated and accessible on mobile devices. Ready availability of all your incident reports and inspections records streamlines the information management for better decision-making.

When aggregated into dashboards, your accurate, timely data can be analyzed to make inspection or remediation decisions on the fly or, with the higher visibility it affords, see trends, and identify the root causes of emerging safety issues.

This one-stop view of the whole inspection process, alongside its individual parts, lets managers develop insights that further drives safety outcomes, like showing you where your team needs additional training to prevent future hazards. By consolidating organization-wide safety data and reporting, digital platforms empower a safety program that’s constantly evolving and improving.

Easier – and more complete – OSHA compliance

Customizing SOPs to incorporate OSHA regulations prior to work commencement simplifies compliance through digitization. This enhances workplace safety and ensures complete, accurate OSHA data is readily available for immediate relay when necessary.

Safety software generates reports meeting OSHA’s scheduled and ad hoc reporting requirements. For instance, after a serious injury, OSHA conducts a rapid response investigation. This investigation examines safety procedures, training, and any safety shortcomings related to the incident. They may review additional SOPs, safety documents, and raw data. A cloud-connected safety platform acts as a repository for your complete safety history, providing immediate access to this information.

Field safety management software - group of workers using tablet to perform inspection

Broader community reporting 

Digital inspection platforms improve safety by broadening its reporting to your entire workforce. Every employee can report safety issues or violations they encounter during their workday using QR code technology on their devices. Automation ensures that safety managers are notified right away so they can immediately kick off remediation.

Platforms simplify safety issue reporting, shifting from “snitching” to proactive commitment. This fosters a culture where safety is a shared responsibility, promoting employee well-being and business success.

More effective remediation and follow-ups

With updated, cloud-connected data, real-time notifications keep decision-makers informed about emerging safety issues, during work or inspections. This speed allows managers to assign and monitor remediation tasks promptly, preventing inefficiencies, injuries, added costs, and delays. Digital tools bridge the gap between issue identification and reporting, promoting timely remediation and collaborative teamwork for a robust safety program.

Making data multi-use 

In addition to advanced dashboards, your inspection data seamlessly integrates into various back-end applications, including business intelligence (BI) platforms. Multi-use data enables leadership to correlate company-wide trends related to safety and compliance. This holistic view empowers managers to optimize safety processes, leading to improved business outcomes like accident reduction and lower insurance rates.

Efficient, instant report generation

Safety managers often produce reports showcasing safety measures, inspection results, and program effectiveness daily. Digital platforms expedite this process by swiftly collecting safety and inspection data and instantly generating various reports in different formats. This eliminates the time-consuming and error-prone data re-entry process from paper to spreadsheet and spreadsheet to report.

Timely and accurate reports are instantly shared with various stakeholders – managers, clients, or regulatory bodies. These reports monitor remediation, verify safety compliance, and audit the overall effectiveness of your safety program.

Field safety management software - engineer performing inspection at a power plant

Every journey starts with one step

Change isn’t just coming – it’s already here. According to McKinsey, the three most important technology trends currently disrupting businesses across all sectors are automation, connectivity, and cloud computing.

Before falling behind the digital curve or compromising safety, remember that you don’t need an overnight overhaul. Integrating Fulcrum’s field safety inspection software allows a gradual approach. You can begin with a single inspection process to showcase the ROI and effectiveness of digital field safety technology.

Ready to take the first step towards digital transformation of your safety program? Try Fulcrum free for 30 days and discover for yourself how a digital field safety inspection platform can reduce accident risk, improve performance, increase compliance, and prove the effectiveness of your safety program. Sign up today!