Auditing is an essential component of effective environmental, health and safety program management. Organizations that regularly review their existing EHSQ audits can quickly pinpoint and address dangerous deficiencies and thereby continuously improve workplace safety and environmental compliance, while those that struggle with internal evaluation risk leaving employees and their communities exposed to overlooked hazards.
Unfortunately, more than 21 percent of businesses worldwide fall into the second group, according to researchers from Bloomberg BNA. Of the approximate 80 percent that attest to conducting audits, only a mere 35 percent of these enterprises adhere to annual facility review timetables. This leads us to ask the question - How can businesses improve their safety assessment procedures and more effectively protect workers?
EHSQ innovators believe mobile auditing software is the answer. Such solutions give firms of all sizes the ability to quickly assess shop floor safety protocols and build robust data caches that can be used for continuous improvement efforts. These transformative benefits have driven many EHSQ teams to adopt mobile auditing software.
In fact, an estimated 57 percent of EHSQ decision-makers were expected to roll out such solutions in 2018, analysts for Verdantix discovered. Companies that are yet to get onboard must seriously consider implementing the technology to unlock the full potential of adopting robust and consistent auditing protocols that reduce the likelihood of injury in the workplace and ensure EHSQ compliance.
Understanding the Auditing Equation
Businesses that maintain less-than-ideal auditing workflows do not, in most cases, do this out of negligence. The act of thoroughly vetting existing EHSQ procedures is a time-intensive task, as evidenced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's auditing template, which asks EHSQ teams to evaluate protocols pertaining to seven key operational variables:
- Management leadership.
- Worker participation.
- Hazard identification and assessment.
- Hazard prevention and control.
- Education and training.
- Program evaluation and improvement.
- Communication and coordination for host employers, contractors and staffing agencies.
Personnel must address multiple action items related to each of these elements and offer up proof of implementation. In most cases, this work is done manually, as almost 60 percent of organizations use paper forms or spreadsheets to conduct EHSQ audits, Bloomberg BNA found. This method not only takes considerable time but also complicates the post-review data collation process. Information stored in spreadsheets or paper-based forms can be difficult to organize, creating roadblocks to effective data analysis, collaboration, and decision making.
In addition to consuming valuable time, this traditional auditing methodology has quickly become untenable for enterprises looking to comply with government and oversight agencies, many of which have rolled out digital data submission tools, and facilitate EHSQ operations that keep workers safe and function as "profit-and-loss centers," EHS Today reported.
Part II of this series will highlight the latest innovative solutions as an alternative to traditional auditing tools. The prominent business benefits of using a mobile audit platform to maintain workplace safety will be elaborated more comprehensively.
Read Part II of this blog here - Click Here