Learn how effective data management can transform your EHS program

Category: Health & Safety
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Learn how effective data management can transform your EHS program

There’s very few professions that require more data points than EHS. With the sheer volume of information you need to collect, collate, and analyse it can feel like an impossible task to make sense of it all. 

Have you ever caught yourself wondering, ‘Have I got all the data?’, ‘Is the data up to date?’, ‘Are people capturing all the information they should be?’, ‘Am I missing something?’, and ‘Where on earth did my day go!?’. If you have experienced the chaos (and let’s be honest, we all have) it’s time to slow down and explore ways to improve your data management. 

By putting the right systems and EHS software in place your chaos can turn into calm. Not only is this great for your sanity and wellbeing, it will have an immediate positive impact on your EHS program. With data that’s complete, clear, and contained within one system you’ll gain the best 360 degree view of your safety performance and be empowered to make the best decisions for your workforce. 

In this article, we explore the risks of poorly managed data and provide some practical tips to help you significantly improve your data management.

How has the role of data changed in EHS?

We all talk about data, and as technology continues to deeply embed itself in our daily lives the role of data changes too. 

Originally, EHS programs used data for recording incidents and tracking compliance. However, we’ve moved beyond this and data has become a cornerstone to gaining insights that direct EHS strategies. It’s likely that as an EHS professional you’re looking at and analysing data everyday. Whether you’re using a data analytics dashboard, spreadsheets, or manually tracking incidents and hazards, data is used to guide your safety recommendations, policies, training programs, safety protocols, safety culture, and ultimately make sure your people return home safe. 

Data also supports your risk assessment efforts, helping you to identify workplace hazards, evaluate the likelihood and impact of potential incidents, and develop strategies to mitigate them. During incident management, real-time data allows you to respond quickly and handle emergencies more effectively. For compliance tracking, it helps your organisation adhere to regulatory standards, ensuring you’re always up-to-date with evolving EHS regulations. Lastly, data analytics can reveal trends and patterns in safety incidents, helping you implement preventive measures. 

Needless to say, the stakes are high. Without access to the right data you significantly open up risks to your organisation – decision-making is hindered and the chances of overlooking critical hazards increases, leading to potential non-compliance and critical safety failures.

While the importance of data isn’t lost on EHS Leaders their behaviours don’t always follow – with the vast majority still focusing on purchasing multiple solutions. While each solution may purport to collect the “best” data for its niche, too many solutions lead to data silos and information breakdown. 

The 2024 Global EHS Readiness Report offers a useful look at how EHS programs use data. While it shows how some organisations leverage data to improve their EHS efforts, leading to fewer accidents and better compliance, it also highlights areas where data use could be improved. For instance, many organisations still rely on outdated methods for data collection and analysis, causing gaps in safety measures and inefficiencies in compliance management.

How can poorly managed data hinder EHS programs?

Incomplete data or data held in multiple pieces of software create a number of challenges for EHS professionals. From creating a delay in time-sensitive insights and actions, to complete blindspots of critical information, poor data management can lead to sub-optimal safety outcomes. This is largely due to the following:

  • Data Silos: Data silos happen when information is stored in separate, unconnected systems, making it hard to get a clear picture of safety performance. This fragmented view can make it tough to spot systemic problems or put effective safety strategies in place.
  • Inconsistent Data Quality: Inconsistent data entry standards and outdated collection methods can complicate data analysis and application. When data isn’t accurate, serious hazards might go unaddressed.
  • Lack of Access to Real-Time Data: Safety managers only work with outdated information. This limits their ability to make timely decisions and delays incident response, increasing the risk of injury and property damage.

Why high quality data is critical for effective EHS programs

The need to improve data quality isn’t new. In an article from 2021, published by ISHN in relation to choosing systems that fit your orgranisation, it was stated that “to get the full value of your investment you need to be able to rely on your data to make data driven decisions.” 

This advice was derived from their observations, below:

“One of the main reasons we see data accuracy problems in EHS data is because companies implement technologies beyond their current program. Setting up your EHS platform to meet your current capabilities is critical to allow for effective use of your system. This does not mean that we shouldn’t always be striving to improve and build a better more robust program. However, it does mean that when you are implementing a new technology the priority should be to implement something that matches your current capabilities.”

  • Accurate data means the information is free from errors and truly reflects workplace conditions and incidents.
  • Timely data ensures the information is up-to-date, enabling quick action and decision-making.
  • Comprehensive data covers all relevant aspects of EHS, offering a complete view of safety and health performance, including both quantitative metrics and qualitative insights.

Reliable data is essential for informed decision-making in EHS. Safety professionals can identify risk areas, allocate resources more effectively, and implement targeted safety interventions using accurate and timely information. Data-driven decision-making can lead to customised training programs that address specific safety gaps identified through incident data analysis. Additionally, precise compliance data helps organisations stay ahead of regulatory changes, adapting practices to ensure ongoing compliance and minimise legal risks.

For example, a manufacturing company can analyse incident and near-miss data to spot a pattern of equipment-related injuries. By studying this data, they can pinpoint the causes and implement specific engineering controls and worker training programs, thereby reducing similar incidents significantly. However, to make data a strategic asset rather than a challenge, organisations should implement modern technology.

How HSI Donesafe can support data-driven EHS success

HSI Donesafe offers state-of-the-art software designed to enhance data-driven EHS programs. The single-source platform handles various aspects of EHS data management, providing tools that streamline the collection, analysis, and reporting of safety-related data. These tools are tailored to meet the diverse needs of different industries, ensuring you can efficiently manage your organisation’s unique EHS data requirements. 

A key feature of HSI Donesafe is data centralisation. This centralisation is crucial for eliminating data silos and providing a comprehensive view of an organisation’s EHS performance. By integrating different data sources, HSI’s software gives safety professionals a complete picture of their EHS landscape, simplifies data management and offers actionable insights to drive strategic decisions. For instance, it enables organisations to identify patterns in safety incidents, assess the effectiveness of safety interventions, and measure compliance across various departments or locations.

HSI Donesafe’s solutions empower organisations in their risk management and data-driven decision-making processes. The software’s advanced analytics capabilities turn raw data into meaningful insights. By leveraging these insights, organisations can make informed decisions that improve their safety and compliance posture, ultimately leading to a safer and more compliant workplace.

Effective management and use of high-quality data are critical for success in EHS programs. Data is not just for record-keeping; it’s a strategic asset that drives informed decision-making and proactive risk management.

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