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SLC 2019:  Apps Can Enhance Safety Culture

SLC 2019: Apps Can Enhance Safety Culture

“Technology in the EHS space is new and there are growing pains, both on the front line who are trying to use it as well on the front-office side,” explained Steve Bolton of Verdantix.

EHS management is changing its organization identity, according to SLC speaker, Steve Bolton, EHS Research Director at Verdantix

“Technology in the EHS space is new and there are growing pains, both on the front line who are trying to use it as well on the front-office side,” explained Bolton, whose company is an independent research with a focus on innovative technologies.

But it’s part of the solution to improving safety programs he points out. In fact, he goes a step further and says that technology can help ESH become a differentiator for a company.

To explore the EHS industry’s view and status with regard to the adoption of technology his firm did a study.  Of the respondents, 38% reported that digital transformation was a part of their EHS strategy.  Asked which digital technologies they are using this year the breakdown is as follows:

  • EHS software                                                            58%
  • Digital sensors for environmental data                     44%
  • Location tracking wearables                                     43%
  • Vehicle telematics for safety                                     40%
  • Predictive analysis                                                    35%
  • Mobil apps                                                                34%
  • Vital sign monitoring wearable                                  22%
  • Drones                                                                      13%

Given the results of the survey, Bolten sees an opportunity to increase the use of apps with regard to safety.  He sees an easy transition from the apps that people on their smartphones to the application at work.  An average person has 80 apps on their phone and 175 billion apps are downloaded yearly. And people spend over 3 hours a day getting media from mobile apps.

“Mobile adoption is increasing, and we are finding that loyalty is much higher when an employer is adept at using technology and includes technology as part of a regular workflow,” says Bolten. The issue of loyalty and satisfaction with job is especially important during the current economic situation of very low employment and can be used to attract and retain talent.

To help companies analyze and adapt apps as an integral part of their safety strategy he offers three stages of deployment

  1. Identify EHS program gaps that mobile apps can fill
  2. Re-evaluate infrastructure and collaboration for mobile app deployment
  3. Push EHS into the next generation through best practices of app deployment

In the area of best practices, he advised companies to make sure that the technology is being implemented to improve safety, not as a way to monitor or audit employees.

“Technology can both allow us to get to the root causes of some of the known safety issues and also identify problems that were not seen before,” said Bolton.

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