SLC 2019 Q&A: Best Practices in Mobile Safety Apps

July 19, 2019
How do you leverage safety technology to collect data and analytics?

Companies increasingly are looking to data and analytics to improve their safety performance.

As the industrial wearables market expands at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.2%, industry players continue to introduce new technology, which includes mobile apps and software.

Steve Bolton, Verdantix EHS research director, will discuss mobile safety apps and their role in the EHS industry at the 2019 Safety Leadership Conference from Nov. 5-7 in Dallas.

Learn more about the session titled, “How Best Practices in Mobile Safety Apps Can Enhance Your Safety Culture," in the Safety Technology Track, through EHS Today's Q&A with Bolton.

EHS Today: Can you offer us a short description of your presentation and describe how it relates to safety leadership?

Bolton: My presentation, “Best Practices in Deploying Mobile EHS Apps to Enhance a Firm's Safety Culture,” will help attendees compare their EHS program needs with the capabilities of mobile apps; prepare their firms to handle and analyze the data collected by mobile apps; and promote worker engagement through EHS mobile apps to prevent incidents and enhance a firm's safety culture. The market is demonstrating its escalating interest in mobile EHS apps—87% of 411 EHS decision-makers responding to Verdantix's 2018 global survey indicated that they will use mobile EHS apps during 2019, which is a significant increase from 57% in the 2017 survey. Derived from interviews with EHS practitioners and vendors, this presentation will share research findings regarding best practices in deploying mobile EHS apps.

Why is the topic of your presentation of interest to you and why is it important to SLC attendees?

Bolton: As an independent research firm, Verdantix has surveyed, interviewed and collaborated with numerous corporate decision-makers and vendors regarding how technology can most effectively support firms' internal EHS programs. One of the most promising technologies today is mobile EHS apps, in terms of collecting workplace safety data, alerting workers about hazards, being adopted by frontline employees and reaching lone workers in the field. Verdantix wants to help corporate EHS managers enhance the success potential for mobile EHS apps within their programs and we think those managers can learn from their peers in other firms and among technology vendors.

What are the takeaways you hope to leave with attendees?

Bolton: As outcomes of this session, attendees will: better understand how mobile EHS apps can support their health and safety objectives; be aware of the reams of data generated by mobile EHS apps and the importance of proactively planning their data management and analysis; prepare for the necessary management of change (MOC) among workers and business units; and appreciate the value of positive worker engagement when introducing a mobile EHS app into the workplace.

Please share an example of a personal or professional experience you’ve had related to safety leadership or the topic of your presentation.

Bolton: On the professional side, Verdantix has heard from various corporate managers and vendors about mobile EHS apps’ potential benefits, pitfalls and everything in between. We think that it’s important to collect, digest and present these considerations to a broad audience so that practitioners can gain insight from one another.

What do you think are some of the most pressing EHS and risk management issues facing corporate leaders and safety professionals in 2019 and beyond?

Bolton: I think that some of the most critical EHS issues include: how managers should view EHS technology as a potential tool within their larger programs and not simply rush to integrate technologies because they are new; how the EHS function increasingly should reach across business units to collaborate on reducing risk and help enhance managers’ intra-organizational influence; and the importance for managers to broaden their conception of internal and external stakeholders so that they can be most effective in their roles.

Please provide any additional insight or comments about your topic of discussion.

Bolton: Verdantix has found that a multifaceted approach to deploying mobile EHS apps—including identifying program gaps that mobile apps can help fill, evaluating a firm’s existing IT and communications infrastructure, developing a plan for worker education and engagement, and collaborating with the individuals who will use the apps—can foster successful implementation and generate business value for a firm.

About the Author

Stefanie Valentic

Stefanie Valentic was formerly managing editor of EHS Today, and is currently editorial director of Waste360.

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