With the HSE estimating that the annual cost of workplace injuries averages a staggering £18.8 billion for UK businesses and an ever-growing concern for our environmental impact, the need for businesses to prioritise environmental, health, and safety (EHS) practices has never been more crucial. To address these pressing challenges, many forward-thinking businesses have turned to EHS technology, with 36% of organisations now utilising commercial EHS software.
EHS technology is a broad term that refers to a range of digital tools, software applications, and data-driven solutions to manage and enhance environmental, health, and safety practices within an organisation.
These tools help organisations to streamline and improve EHS processes, by tracking and analysing data on incidents, automating reporting, reducing serious injuries and fatalities (SIFs) and Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART) and helping organisations to comply with existing health and safety regulations. Effectively managing health and safety risks establishes a workplace where employees feel safe to work, are engaged and can be productive, meaning this technology can also have far-reaching business benefits.
This technology is sometimes also referred to as:
- HSSE: Health, safety, security, environment
- QSE: Quality, safety, environment
- QHSE: Quality, health, security, environment
What Does EHS Mean?
EHS is important because it safeguards human health, wellbeing and the planet, and understanding what it really means is crucial for organisations aiming to create a positive and productive environment for their employees.
- Environment – Focuses on tracking and managing an organisation’s environmental impact, such as reducing pollution, promoting sustainable practices, streamlining processes and monitoring waste management.
- Health – Focuses on the overall wellbeing of employees, including physical, mental, and social wellbeing. Businesses are expected to identify and manage risks, recognise trends and create a supportive work environment.
- Safety – Focuses on protecting employers, employees and the public from harm or danger. Good safety practices involve the implementation of PPE, training, and procedures to prevent accidents, injuries, and illnesses and complying with safety regulations.
Why is EHS Software Management Important?
Employers have a duty of care to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of their workers and environment.
With an EHS system in place, organisations can easily track, identify, manage, and report on health and safety issues in the workplace. This visibility allows for incidents to be monitored and reduced while building a safe work environment that complies with critical legislation.
How Can Technology Improve EHS Performance?
The use of EHS technology can benefit businesses in a number of ways, including:
Reducing Workplace Incidents, Accidents, Injuries and Illnesses
EHS management software facilitates the shift from reactive to predictive safety management by utilising data to detect trends and isolate problem areas. Data collected can be used to identify workplace hazards and near misses and then identify their root causes so that corrective and preventative action (CAPA) plans can fix them and prevent reoccurrence.
After a health and safety incident, organisations need to investigate, conducting Root Cause Analysis (RCA). EHS software can aid this by providing a dedicated workflow for investigations as well as providing in-depth data, such as the exact time and location that an incident occurred.
Aiding Decision Making
By utilising analytics and reporting tools, organisations can identify trends and prioritise safety initiatives. This allows for informed decisions to be made when allocating resources. For example, if users are regularly slipping, tripping or falling in the same area, an investigation should be done into why this is happening. This may be because of a slippery floor surface, inadequate lighting, or obstacles in the pathway.
Once the root causes are identified, organisations can take targeted actions to address these issues and improve safety conditions. This might involve implementing non-slip flooring, enhancing lighting in the area, or implementing better signage to warn of potential hazards.
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Managing EHS Compliance
Having an EHS software in place makes it easy for organisations to identify and comply with the relevant regulations while being able to prove it through reporting, inspections and audits. This is critical in avoiding legal consequences, company fines and reputational damage.
Adding Personal Safety to the EHS Technology Stack
Nexus, is a cutting-edge EHS software solution that allows customers to onboard and manage users, report on incidents, and connect staff with Peoplesafe’s 24/7 Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) in one easy-to-navigate, scalable and resilient platform.
Companies that utilise the Nexus platform can fulfil their EHS goals and proactively manage the risks to their people, this is supported through various functions:
Objective, Real-time Incident Data
Nexus provides incident data in both written format – via the ARC Controllers report – and audio through the alarm recording. This real-time data capture eliminates reliance on individual recollections when investigating the incident, ensuring accuracy of documentation. This is especially valuable during critical incidents where prompt, reliable information is crucial.
Nexus offers a range of insightful reports, empowering organisations to utilise actionable data for improved safety and security. This includes a ‘People Report’ which offers a detailed list of employees by profile role, app/device assignments, and contact information status, allowing management to act on the number of users not protected and take steps to ensure that they are.
Dashboards can be created to spot trends in incident data. Alarms are categorised into various types, such as fall detection, SOS activation, and expired timers, enabling organisations to identify and respond to specific risk areas effectively.
Reports can also be utilised to view overall usage trends, inactive users, battery performance and location information, among other valuable data points.
Effective Incident Management
Nexus seamlessly integrates with the Peoplesafe Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) and Lighthouse software, offering critical support during live incidents, not just post-incident reporting. When an alarm call is answered by an Alarm Controller, a two-way communication channel is opened.
The Alarm Controller has access to the user’s Nexus profile during an incident, providing information including GPS coordinates, risk profile, personal information (e.g., medical conditions), additional data (e.g., voice memos), and Escalation Plan. This comprehensive information facilitates effective incident management.
Once an incident is successfully resolved, Nexus generates a report for Manager and Administrator profiles to view. This report, combined with the audio recording from the alarm call, fills the gap in incident management between pre-incident preparation and post-incident analysis, offering organisations access to more reliable data.
By combining real-time incident management with detailed reporting, Nexus offers organisations a powerful tool for enhancing safety, ensuring compliance, and risk mitigation.
Wider Business Benefits of EHS Technology
As well as directly supporting the health and safety of your organisation, EHS technology can bring even more benefits:
EHS technology can automate processes, such as reporting, reducing the administrative burden of compliance and incident management. For example, after any alarm is raised using the Peoplesafe service, nominated contacts will receive a detailed report of the alarm, including actions taken by the Alarm Controller to protect the user’s safety. Scheduled reports can also be set up, providing an automated overview of employee safety. This frees up employee time to focus on other tasks, improves efficiency and can reduce overall staffing costs.
Improved Employee Morale
EHS technology can help to create a safer and healthier workplace where employees feel secure, which can have a positive impact on employee morale. A study by Gallup found that employees who had high morale and were engaged in their work increased profitability by 21%. Additionally, high morale can increase job satisfaction and retention, reduce stress and further enhance productivity.
Employee Recruitment and Retention
In a competitive job market, attracting and retaining top talent is a challenge for many organisations. EHS technology can help with employee recruitment and retention by signalling a commitment to employee wellbeing and a safe work environment. It can also attract individuals who are environmentally conscious and aligned with the company’s values, making a prospective job more appealing for workers.
Demonstrating a commitment to environmental and safety standards can enhance a company’s reputation in the eyes of customers, investors, and the public. A positive reputation can lead to increased customer loyalty and investor confidence. In fact, when choosing between products of equal price and quality, 65% of consumers prefer to buy from brands that treat their employees well.