paperless workflow

Why keeping safety documentation up-to-date and accessible is a must

There are a number of benefits to keeping strong workplace safety documentation in place as a business. Not only does safety documentation ensure that you can demonstrate compliance with health and safety legislation, it can also save you and your team a great deal of time and frustration.

 

 

A key challenge facing business owners and managers

 

There is one main problem facing many organisations when it comes to safety documentation. It is challenging for businesses to keep track of documents as the business grows and evolves, or as staff change over time.

 

Documentation might be stored in different locations at different points in time. A variety of hard and soft copies of documentation might be in circulation at any one given time, current or older version. Regular reviews and updates of documents might fall off the radar. And communication of updated versions might fail to flow downstream to the staff that need the information the most.

 

All of this means that when it comes time to access or review such documentation, the business spends more time trying to figure out the state of things, and less actually working on improvements to documentation and systems for the sake of everyone’s health and safety! And no one wants that.

 

Should a serious incident or injury occur, you will be required to provide evidence to a safety regulator that you have effective health and safety workplace systems in place. At this point, your ability to supply documentation becomes very important. It can show that you comply with relevant safety legislation, and that you are actively doing what you can to make things safer for your people.

 

Needless to say, copies of documents, stored in a folder, in head office, on that dusty shelf, that no one ever really uses anymore, isn’t doing anyone any favours. This is especially true if you are working across multiple sites. If you have documentation, you need to make sure its current, accessible, and digestible.

 

 

Make documentation easy to access for your workers

 

So, we know that simply having documentation is not enough. People must first know it exists and be able to use it!

 

Regardless of the type and extent of health and safety documentation that you have available in your workplace, keeping it readily accessible to your workers is of paramount importance. If your workforce or any other interested party can’t access the documentation, no one wins.

 

On the other hand, if people can, and do, access relevant and current safety documentation this supports your legislative compliance. Additionally, easy access to documentation for workers, supervisors and managers will improve workplace efficiency.

 

When you roll out standardised and consistent training on the relevant workplace safety procedures, your ability to streamline and tighten your operations and output improves. So not only should you think about making the documentation accessible, but also think about how you communicate it. Training sessions, team meetings, or a quick stand up meeting at the beginning of every month.

 

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A best practice approach to WHS documentation management

 

Consistent with Australian and International Standards, best practice for managing safety documentation is with version control and periodic reviews. Documentation should be established with a revision period in mind (e.g. two or three times yearly) and should be marked with dates or version numbers for tracking purposes and ease of administration.

 

It’s important to remember that whilst periodic reviews should occur on a regular basis appropriate to your needs, they should also occur when major changes occur in your organisation. Such changes might be new business operations, unexpected periods of growth, shifts in staffing or job functions, or changes in management.

 

During such periods of change, safety considerations are commonly forgotten. But when big changes occur in your business, it is more than likely there will be flow on effects to your safety management system.

 

It’s at times like these that workplace health and safety should always be on the agenda. Current systems, processes, and documentation must be reviewed to ensure that safety stays on track and in accordance with your goals and legislative duties.

 

Finally, it is a good practice to ensure that safety documentation is stored in a safe and secure manner to prevent modification without organisational-level visibility. This speaks to the legislative duty that any business owner or person in charge must be aware of safety practices in their organisation.

 

 

Secure online storage for easy access and history of evidence

 

A secure, easy-to-use solution for better safety documentation management is utilising the Documents Module in Safety Champion Software. This module enables any organisation to easily upload, review and update their safety documentation. Plus it makes documentation super easy to access.

 

You can set up a revision period and keep version control, under control by saving new versions of documentation and archiving old versions. Email reminders will let you know when your documents are up for review. This is incredibly useful when it comes to health and safety legislative compliance.

 

Furthermore, this module allows different documentation types to be shared with specific groups in your organisation, or with everyone. You can ensure that safety documents are shared with users based on their level of seniority in the business, their job role or their function.

 

Plus, being a cloud-based software, your team can access these important documents from any location or work site, via any electronic device including a laptop, tablet or smart phone device. This means that when your team needs the information, they can get it. No need to slow down productivity, and no need to wait for HR to get back to their desk.

 

Read more about our Documents Module

 

But possibly one of the best features of Safety Champion – and one you won’t find in alternative software products on the market – is the fact that Safety Champion assigns safety tasks to a team or a group in your organisation and not to a person. This means, that if the person responsible for a safety tasks moves to another role or leaves the business, your safety tasks keep ticking along.

 

The system architecture keeps everything in place for you so that you never need to worry about safety tasks – like reviewing documentation – being forgotten again.

 

Get the OHS information you need any time, anywhere.

 

 

Total peace of mind with Safety Champion

 

Safety Champion’s Documents Module allows any business owner, people manager, team leader or human resources representative the peace of mind they are after.

 

Imagine being able to update that document, load it into the system, and feel confident knowing that your team, wherever they are – a suburb away on site, interstate, or even in another country – have most up-to-date and accurate safety information possible.

 

Safety Champion really is the easy and efficient way to manage safety documentation.

 

If you are keen to learn more, reach out to us and one of our customer experience team members will be in touch soon.

 

 

4 reasons why bringing safety online is smarter sooner rather than later.

So, you’re thinking about bringing your safety program online. Fantastic! Of course, we’re going to say that, being a cloud-based safety software business. But our safety consultant brains also say the same, regardless of which safety software you choose to bring on board.

 

Why? Because whether it’s Safety Champion Software or another, online safety software systems can keep your safety program humming. And as health and safety consultants, we see this. One of the most common issues we hear from the businesses that we work with, is requests for ways, that they can keep their safety program on track.

 

 

After identifying what good safety practices look like for a business, the challenge is often how does the business establish a way to ensure that the relevant people perform the assigned activities, when scheduled?

– Craig Salter

Action OHS Consulting Director & Safety Champion Founder

 

 

Seriously, your safety program can see real and lasting benefits from streamlining your safety procedures with a cloud-based safety system to keep everything scheduled, ticking along, and improving at the same time.

 

 

 

Here’s a 4 reasons why it’s good for your business to bring safety online sooner rather than later:

The sooner you start, the sooner you can capture your data.

We hear it all the time these days. Data-driven approaches, actionable insights, meaningful data analytics… these are all terms that float around our professional circles daily, regardless of your line of work. But seriously, data – more specifically, the data you collect in your own organisation, that aligns with your own challenges, your own needs – can really help you improve your safety program. Imagine if you could see trends in the types of incidents that were reported over the last 6 months at a simple click of a button. Or if you could see which department was lagging in terms of tasks completed over the last quarter, or you could see which task were generally harder to complete, so you could contextualise some training to assist.

These kinds of insights can be pivotal to ensure you are spending time, money and resources in the right areas – the areas that will really help increase the safety of your people.

The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll save money.

Let’s cut straight to the chase. Think about the number of hours you or your people spend trying to keep safety on track; reminding people to perform that safety task; following up on the paperwork for that reported incident or corrective action; chasing up the last time your workers completed that training, looking through the filing cabinet for the record of that certification; or, preparing reports for departments, regions or the organisation, etc., etc. Well, all that time means money. And all that time could be used for more important things like “doing safety” rather than “doing admin”.

Online safety software – when it’s done right – with save you a crazy amount of time as automated reminder emails are sent to the relevant stakeholders to remind them of upcoming task, whilst at the same time escalating notifications to management if tasks are not completed; all records are a click away and can be accessed in no time, ready for easy download; pre-programmed workflows allow real-time visibility of the status of your safety program to management, ensuring that your safety program is managed both now and in the future; or, reporting is always available, in real-time and most importantly accurate– nothing forgotten. Given our software generally offers a payback period of between 6 and 10 months, it’s clear that online safety software will save you time, concern, worry and importantly money.

 

Furthermore, as a manager, how do you monitor implementation, without creating unnecessary administration, or moving down a pathway of micro-management?’

– Craig Salter

Action OHS Consulting Director & Safety Champion Founder

 

 

The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll know what’s going on.

We don’t mean to scare people when we say this, but as a business owner or person in charge, you have a legal duty to provide a safe workplace for your people and anyone who visits your workplace. And when reviewing the legislation more closely, it’s clear that you must have current knowledge of the safety hazards in your workplace; and be able to demonstrate what you are actively doing to mitigating the risk associated with those hazards.

So, safety software doesn’t only make sure that things tick along, it gives business owners and managers clear, real-time oversight of the whole safety program, whenever, wherever. So, since it’s a legal requirement that you know what’s going on, should the Safety Regulator come knocking, a cloud-based safety software system is just the thing to give you a one-stop-shop to: direct, review and oversee your entire safety program.

The sooner you start, the sooner your people will thank you.

Trust us. They will thank you. They are sick and tired of trying to get people enthused about completing safety tasks, following the procedures, or keeping up with their owning training and documentation. They are also over how hard it is to let the right people know that there is a safety hazard that really needs to be addressed, and today. “Who do I tell? Where is the form again?”. “Why should I bother telling them, last time they did nothing”.

Thankfully, online safety software systems have been designed to make things easier, faster, communicate more broadly, and be more streamlined for everyone involved. It’s easier for the people behind your safety program, for you, and for the people that your safety program is there to protect – all workers and visitors! Safety Champion, for one, is a system we made specifically to simplify the process so that it will no longer be a chore to get involved in safety, it will be something that simply becomes ‘what you do’ – business as usual! Just imagine.

 

So, if after reading this, you want to get an online safety management software system up and running sooner rather than later, contact us. We’d love to take you through ours – we’re darn confident it’ll help.

Five benefits of going paperless with your health and safety practices!

  1. Access your files anywhere, anytime

You wouldn’t be the first business in the world to struggle with keeping your OHS or WHS files in any order, let alone perfect order. Taming your documents is a hassle…even for us health and safety professionals in our own workplace! However, implementing a cloud-based software system has helped us solve that. Not only can you see and download the documents, registers or records you need, when you need it – but all of your files, even if you are working across multiple workplace locations will be in one place, yep, up there in the sky. Shifting to a paperless way of working definitively makes accessing data easy, making reporting and decisions based on your data and trends so much easier!

 

  1. Demonstrate your compliance

Our clients always talk about how good it is to be able to “prove” their compliance regarding health and safety legislation – simply and effectively. This is not only good for dealing with the health and safety inspector, but also to prospective clients and building confidence with staff members. Nowadays it is vital to be able to demonstrate your businesses professionalism and commitment to supporting the health and wellbeing of your people – software is a very effective and highly visible way to demonstrate this commitment!

 

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  1. Make things easier for your people

You’ve probably seen and read all the talk these days about ‘employee engagement’ and ‘employee wellbeing’. There’s a clear trend that people really scrutinize businesses before they jump on board, to make sure it’s the kind of place they want to work. And what is the kind of place where people want to work? Well, an efficient workplace with easy, streamlined processes that actually make their day-to-day work easier! They expect businesses that embrace technology and know that the ones that do have built these efficiencies. So, help them out – toss away the paper and use OHS software!

 

 

  1. Look after your bottom line

It’s not just the cost of paper, ink and machine maintenance you are saving by going paperless. But think about the cost of time. If you have people running around trying to find lost paperwork, put messy files in order, chase up staff by phone or email to submit their reports… this is money, I repeat this is money! Read more about the cost to your business here. So, take some relief, know that if you put the right OHS software in place you will reduce administration and resourcing, as the OHS software will send automated emails to remind people to complete health and safety tasks and automatically save all that data in the appropriate registers ready for you to use, when you want it! Time is money. This software saves time. Do the math.

 

  1. Make your workplace safer!

Ok so this is the best benefit yet. Shifting to an easy-to-use, cloud-based software means that implementing your health and safety practices in the workplace will actually happen! And what this means, is that your people will become safer and healthier and happier for it. And, after all, that’s what health and safety is all about… looking after your people.

 

Word of warning! This being said, not all software systems are made the same – so keep your eyes open. Before you start to look, clearly define what you need. Don’t be caught out by the cheeky salesperson and/or cheapest product. If you go don’t that path, you may be kissing efficiency and simplicity goodbye.

What on earth did we do before MYOB, Xero or Quickbooks?

It wasn’t actually so long ago that many small to medium sized businesses were still shuffling invoices and receipts around a desk, and filing them away in cumbersome binders waiting for tax time. But thinking about it now, how on earth did we do that?! Where would your business be now without the convenience and ease of software like MYOB, Xero or Quickbooks?

 

Whilst accounting has now become that much easier to handle in the workplace – even for the lay person – the same will soon be true for health and safety management. In the very near future it will be difficult to believe that once upon a time we were still manually recording health and safety checks, hand writing incident reports and maintaining registers in messy shared spreadsheets. The beautiful thing is that this ‘easier way of the future’ for health and safety is actually already here.

 

More and more businesses are starting to pick up on this. One of our clients who recently rolled over to our cloud-based health and safety software, reported immediate improvements to workplace safety culture. They told us that the software assisted them to think about incident prevention often and early, and before any unfortunate accidents might occur.

 

What other benefits do users of OHS or WHS software software find? And why do businesses need it? Well, here are the four main benefits that we are hearing from our clients:

 

  1. It allows for greater oversight by management.
  2. It produces accurate and consistent reporting and information.
  3. It makes information and reporting easily accessible.
  4. It promotes a safety-first culture, which ultimately keeps us safer!

 

So, just as MYOB changed the way accounting was done by providing a user-friendly product that simplified the complexity of accounting, OHS or WHS Software or Safety Management Software Systems (however you like to call it!) like Safety Champion do the same for health and safety management.

So, why not take a product tour today? Or read more about the benefits of going paperless.

 

How to tame your documents…

For many businesses, document management is hard. Ensuring that documents are controlled so obsolete documents and superseded versions are not in circulation or being used can be difficult. While workplaces print our forms to allow easy access by workers when in need, these need to be removed when a document is updated. Whist on the surface, there may appear to be minimal consequence if an incorrect OHS document is referred to; should the OHS document be a work instruction, the result may be dire.

 

Documents are the guide for OHS implementation (i.e. the checklist template, the meeting agenda); whereas, Records demonstrate implementation of your OHS System into your workplace (i.e. the completed checklist, the meeting minutes).

 

If you are looking into way to tame your OHS documents, the following provides some nice direction on where to start:

  • Undertake sweep of documents that have been printed – are only the current versions available? Moving forward, can you look to review available OHS documents when undertaking workplace inspections?
  • Plan. Identify where you intend to store your OHS documents. Aim to store OHS documents in a secure location that can be accessible by all required stakeholders. This may be via an intranet and/or for a smaller business a Google Drive or Drop Box. Where ever you decide to store your documents, you should ensure that there are restrictions on who can edit or delete the document.
  • Develop a register of all OHS documents that have been developed for use within your organisation. Whilst Excel is a good start – ensure that those who can access and edit this document is controlled.
  • Determine who, or which department within your workplace will be responsible for maintaining, authorising and updating each OHS document. These responsibilities may be assigned as a whole or by individual document. List the person or department on the “OHS Documents Register“.
  • On each individual OHS document, (generally within the document footer,) as a minimum record the:
    • Document title
    • Date
    • Page number, and
    • Version number.
  • Make sure that you record all the information that you just included in the footer of your OHS document into the “OHS Documents Register“.
  • And finally, on the “OHS Document Register“, keep notes of all the changes that have been made to each OHS document.

The “OHS Documents Register” will be your key for clarity and managing the whole document management process – so, make sure you back it up!

This all said, if you are reading this thinking that “it’s all a little hard”, maybe cursing and perhaps of the opinion that the chances of an “OHS Document Register” being maintained is a crazy suggestion for us to make, then here’s an alternative idea for your consideration…Safety Champion. Safety Champion Software has a Document Management module that can do all of this for you. In addition, it will archive soft copies of obsolete OHS documents so they are can’t be accessed, but are never lost. Yes, it’s web-based, paperless and accessible on all your devices, but more importantly it will save you a stack of time and establish an efficient document management process, that will ensure your workers have access to your most current OHS document every day and every time. it is document Management made easy.

How to tame your records…

For literally every business out there, records management is the bane of everyone’s existence. Regardless of whether you are filing the “old school way” (i.e. shelves and shelves of paperwork, or folders in archive boxes), or you’ve moved into the “now” and you’re all cool and all about digital (i.e. scanned copies stored on internal computer drives), records management can be a headache.

 

Records demonstrate implementation of your OHS System into your workplace (i.e. the completed checklist, the meeting minutes); where as, Documents are the guide for OHS implementation (i.e. the checklist template, the meeting agenda)

 

When it comes to OHS records, the legislation actually requests that you to hang on to some for up to 30 years. Yep, 30 years! This said, there are other OHS records that the legislation requires you to hold onto for what may seem forever (i.e. the length of time a piece of equipment is at the workplace)! Nervous? Don’t be. Just get organised.

Yes, you can store records in folders. The challenge with this is finding them when needed, or identifying trends – once filed, often the OHS records is never to be seen again. These days, with the ease that we use computers, paper-based records appear harder to locate. Perhaps the level of “hardness” is at where it has always been, the ease of access via a computer has just shone a spotlight on it.

This said, when looking to establish a plan for managing your OHS records let’s get one thing straight. It is crucial that OHS records are not stored on employees personal computer drives or on an employees computer. Why? It is simple, if the employee leaves or their computer is lost, it is likely the OHS records will go missing also.

If you are a smaller business, Google Drive or Drop Box will support secure control of your documents; depending on your settings, deleted documents are archived not lost. Don’t be restricted to these two, there are a number of options out there for you to consider.

If however you are reading this and thinking, wouldn’t it be great if…

 

“When I store an OHS record, the saving of the record would then schedule the next occasion that the task is to be completed”

 

…then your thinking has aligned with ours. That’s exactly what we created with Safety Champion. Safety Champion offers a simple OHS Software solution for records management. Of course it’s web-based, paperless, and available on all devices. It will allow you to save all of your OHS records neatly in the cloud, to ensure that they can be easily access when the need arises. Great for management visibility of your OHS program, and amazing for OHS or compliance audits.

Go paperless with your OHS practices

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, finding a lost document will cost a company $122 on average. It is also estimated that 7.5% of all company documents are lost completely. So, let’s assume your company works with 1,000 documents a year – a modest figure. On average, that’s 20 documents a week, 4 documents per working day. That would mean, about 75 of those documents are doomed to be lost. And if you or your workers go about trying to find those documents, that’s a cost to your company of around $9,150 per year!

 

Ok, ok… agreed, it’s very unlikely that you or your workers will be actively looking behind cupboards with a magnifying glass (think Scooby-Doo) for every lost file. However, investigating paper filing and the potential monetary cost associated with this, allows you to consider methods that your workplace could operate more effectively and efficiently.

 

These days, business is all about streamlining processes and systems to increase productivity. We use more software, apps, devices, and access the internet more often than ever before. Our workers are tech-savvy and some of them almost demand that their employers keep up with new technology and innovative solutions that make their work life easier. And our workers, when it really comes down to it, are our business.

 

We use more software, apps, devices, and access the internet more often than ever before.

 

So, keep them happy, engaged and effective in this rapidly tech-focused world! Think about making the switch to paperless in all aspects of your business. Think about the slow hard copy filing processes, the off-site storage costs (a side note; retention periods for important documentation are long, if not becoming longer), the paper, ink and toner bill, and of course the environment! We promise you that the digital solutions to the old paper ways will be out there, regardless of what business you are in.

 

Cloud-based OHS Software to help you manage your occupational health and safety duties is one such example of a product that is already available to integrate into your business. It will streamline those messy paper trails. It will file and store all the records you need to keep safe in the cloud. It will make monitoring procedure and reporting just so much easier. And it will likely make your employees happy as it makes fulfilling their OHS duties that much easier.

 

If you are not there already, it really is time to consider going paperless. So, contact us to shift your OHS practices from the old hard copy ways to a simple, streamlined, cloud-based OHS Software solution.