Is it time to move beyond the cutting edge technology invented by the ancient Egyptians (paper), share-point or an intranet to manage HSEQ compliance?

We think so and have been advising our clients for some time to consider it.

Not all clients realize the benefits of a software solution.

So with the benefit of 20+ years of hindsight, here’s the 4 top reasons you should seriously consider it.

1. Passive v. Active Compliance

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Well done. You have just drafted your HSEQ procedures. Now the hard part, getting personnel to (a) read it (b) do what they have been allocated or (c) care.

Your Monitoring procedure requires all site managers to conduct a monthly site safety inspection. At the end of the month it appears only 30% have completed this task. Now for the tail-chasing merry-go-round of phone calls, emails and follow up calls as we spend the rest of week trying to get the rest of the team to do it. Efficient? No.  Costly? Yes.

Rinse and repeat for the rest of your compliance tasks (e.g. ensuring competencies and licenses have not expired) across multiple sites – and surprise, surprise – external auditors identify some gaps.

​Most software options include functionality to enable you to map out all compliance requirements, assign responsibility, upload evidence, report on completion and auto-escalate when not completed on time. Active, transparent, accountable. And we might just be able to get back to what keeps our people safe!

2. Most Management Systems are Fragmented

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Software can provide a single repository for all your HSEQ compliance documents, forms and records.

In contrast, your management system is probably fragmented, with procedures, outputs and records stored in different mediums (various word documents, spreadsheets, paper) and locations (head office, regional offices, work site, back seat of the site manager’s car, share drives, memory sticks and hardcopy).

I will probably get thrown out of the external auditors’ guild for letting you in on this secret – you are providing the low hanging fruit for your Certification Auditors! It’s all too easy for us to request a sample of evidence (monthly site safety inspections, inductions, expired licenses, calibration, equipment checks etc) and BINGO – a non-conformance.

Certification Auditors know this before they arrive at your site (I should know – I am one!). Write another procedure to address the non-conformance. Rinse and repeat.

3. Get Value Out of Data & Information 

In a good HSEQ system we gather data, records and information (accident/incident reports, corrective action and improvement, monitoring results, audit results, training records, process measurements etc.).

Well done. Then what do we do with it? Spend a day or more manually calculating performance for monthly management reporting. Efficient? No. Costly? Yes. Timely? Well it was a month ago.

Most software solutions provide a level of live data (i.e. dashboard management where you can see who has been injured, where and when) and functionality to report virtually instantly across a range of data.

​Know how much defects and re-work have cost the company before the manager asks? Now you’re a HSEQ superstar!

4. Focus on the Risk 

Why are we all spending so much time “administering” the system? Paperwork upon more paperwork. Days per month on document control.

In many cases, the administrative burden takes our focus, time and effort away from what’s really important – keeping your people safe, mitigating your environmental impact and providing a product/ service that is fit for purpose.

Clearly ISO is moving in the same direction.

​“The risk-based thinking applied in this International Standard has enabled some reduction in prescriptive requirements and their replacement by performance-based requirements. There is greater flexibility than in ISO 9001:2008 in the requirements for processes, documented information and organizational responsibilities” (ISO 9001:2015, Annex A.4). 

Drowning in documentation and administrative effort? Costly? Yes. Efficient? No.

Or workflows that automate, standardise and generate evidence of compliance? Transparent, accountable, seamless, timely and cost efficient? Yes.

Evaluating Software

In a previous blog (http://www.irmsystems.com.au/blog/archives/10-2013) we identified considerations in evaluating software options.

​Foremost amongst these is the need to evaluate the level of training and support offered with the product.

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