While there has been significant progress in the OSHA recordable injury rate which between 1992 and 2020 dropped from 8.9 injuries per 100 workers to 2.7 injuries per 100 workers, a nearly 70% decrease, the same drop wasn’t true for the workplace fatality rate.
In the same period, the workplace fatality rate (preventable fatalities) dropped only 17%, with 4,113 preventable fatalities occurring in the workplace in 2020. There were 4,764 total fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2020, an 11% decrease from 5,333 in 2019.
Those statistics, cited by the National Safety Council, is what drove the organization to create an initiative called Work to Zero, whose goal is toeliminate workplace fatality risk through the use of technology.
Last month NSC released research from its whitepaper, Managing Risks with EHS Software and Mobile Applications. The report builds on the program's initial 2020 research and outlines how employers can use Environment, Health and Safety software and mobile applications to enhance their safety operations to prevent serious injuries and fatalities on the job.
The research assesses the latest trends and benefits of four distinct EHS software categories: risk management and hazard identification, permit management, incident management, and safety auditing.
The report concludes that organizations that adopt these modules can gain several advantages in preventing workplace injuries and deaths, including:
- Generating deeper safety insights – In an EHS management system, data is centralized and acquired from a variety of sources across the enterprise, making it easier for employers to track, monitor and evolve safety practices.
- Ensuring compliance with regulations – As a cloud-based system, EHS platforms can help companies stay up to date with regulatory changes and provide custom inspection checklists to ensure workplaces are both safe and lawful.
- Accessing cost-savings – In addition to preventing employee injuries, EHS software tools can mitigate costs associated with employee compensation, recruitment, and illness.
- Streamlining reporting through mobile technology – EHS software systems can be deployed and accessed on remote devices like smartphones and tablets to enable employers to access audits, incident reports and real-time safety alerts.
Implementing the EHS software and mobile applications, might not be as easy as it looks given the common barriers the report found, which include challenges large enterprises face with customizing their EHS packages and the limited availability of comprehensive EHS software for smaller organizations. In addition, a certain level of technical expertise is needed to operate these platforms, which is why training is necessary or it's important to select a software provider that offers technical support and resources. As with any digital change, educating across all levels of the organization is a critical step in technology deployment.