Are you someone who is trying to make sure that your business is compliant with all the latest health and safety rules?
Have you considered there may be an app for that?
With the ‘app era‘ officially in full swing, there’s never been an easier time for Australian businesses to comply with the latest regulatory requirements, especially if they have the right app at the ready!
However, a plethora of choices means that choosing the right health and safety app isn’t always straightforward. You have to make sure that you select the right application for your needs and understand exactly what you’re getting yourself into before you sign up for a free trial!
In this post, we’ll explore everything you need to know to choose the right health and safety app for your organization.
Today, we’ll be discussing the following topics:
- What are Health and Safety apps?
- The Benefits of Health and Safety Apps
- What to consider when choosing a Health and Safety App
If you’re ready to find out more, then when not grab a coffee, clear your schedule, and get started?
What Are Health and Safety Apps?
So that we all start off on the same page, it is first worth considering what a health and safety app actually is: What does it look like? Who uses one? And why?
Health and Safety apps are usually part of a suite of programs that collectively make up occupational health and safety management system software packages. These packages are popular with businesses and organizations that want to streamline and optimize their health and safety processes. The software helps to manage, allocate and automate a range of tasks such as filing incident reports, scheduling maintenance, checking compliance, and more.
Why apps? Well, the developers behind these software packages want to make their software as accessible as possible. As apps are specifically designed to be downloaded onto mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets, they are the perfect way to make management software more accessible. Apps essentially put the power of the management software into the hands of the people who need it most; the members or staff and contractors!
Health and safety apps offer members of staff all the benefits of the health and safety management system software, but with the convenience of having it on a mobile device! In other words, it makes the system as accessible as possible for every staff member, third-party contractor or visitor so that they can capture relevant data or review health and safety information contained in the system.
The Benefits of Health and Safety Apps
Using a health and safety app comes with many exciting benefits! Apps are versatile enough to be used by any business, regardless of its organizational structure, size or type. You’ll find businesses in almost every sector, from agriculture and forestry to mining, construction, transport, and warehousing that use health and safety apps. So what are the main benefits of health and safety apps?
There are three main benefits:
Maximize onsite efficiency
Ease of use
Maximize onsite efficiency
Having a health and safety app put the power of your entire health and safety management system into the palms of your workers’ hands! As the system is cloud-based, your staff can access it via their app on ANY mobile device with an internet connection. This lets them access, review and capture data in the field, no matter where they are.
Whether your staff members need to report a hazard in the bush, complete an audit from the bottom of a lift shaft or even file an incident report from the depths of a mine shaft, a health and safety app lets them do just that! This means that they can maximize their onsite efficiency and complete more within the same time frame, compared with using a health and safety management system that’s only accessible from a computer.
But the latest range of health and safety apps take efficiency one step further. They recognize that there may be times and places where internet connections aren’t available – you know, down a mine shaft, out in the bush, or otherwise ‘off-the-grid’. To address this, the apps feature offline functionality. This means that your staff can still use the app to file an incident report or log a hazard even if they don’t have an internet connection. The data is saved locally to their mobile device and is then uploaded to the cloud when they get back online, helping to maximize their productivity!
The second benefit of health and safety apps is that they offer real-time access to all your staff, workers, visitors and contractors. This is possible because, as we mentioned, the software is cloud-based and can be accessed and updated in real-time from any device with an internet connection. This ensures that vital health and safety information is available in real-time to all required staff.
To understand why this is helpful, consider a scenario where a member of staff is conducting a site risk assessment at an open-air mine. Without a health and safety app, they would have to complete a paper-based form and then submit the form when they returned to your main premises. Far from ideal, is it?
With a health and safety app, the worker can complete the risk assessment via the app, and it will automatically upload to the system as soon as they regain internet connectivity. This not only saves valuable time but the system can automatically share the data from the risk assessment with all relevant staff members as soon as it’s uploaded! This helps keep the entire organization in the loop about the latest developments as they occur.
Ease of use
The third and arguably most important benefit of health and safety apps is ease of use. Many organizations tick all the boxes in terms of meeting their health and safety obligations but still have a less than ideal uptake rate! One of the main reasons is that following health and safety procedures is just too complicated for staff. Health and safety apps simplified ANY process and make it much more likely that staff members participate actively in their health and safety obligations.
Firstly, health and safety apps are designed to work on ANY mobile device regardless of its operating system. So whether your staff prefers iOS, Android, Windows, or Linux, they can easily download the health and safety app on their preferred mobile device. This means that they can take the app with them whether they go and access it on the move.
Secondly, apps can be configured to bring up specific forms using either QR codes or NFC (Near-Field Communication) tags. This takes the hassle out of mundane, yet critically important, tasks such as filing an incident report or conducting a risk assessment. For example, you can put up special signs around your premises that promote the type of action you want to focus on. These signs contain special NFC interactive labels that allow you to attach dynamic information to any information point or physical object on your premises. In conjunction with the app, this provides instant easy access to staff, visitors or contractors.
Let’s say you want to improve incident reporting. You can put up NFC signs that read, ‘Incident Reporting: To report an incident from this point, tap here with your NFC enabled device or scan this QR code’. Your workers simply take their mobile device and open the app and then tap or scan the sign. This brings up the correct form which they complete and they then hit ‘send’ and the form is automatically uploaded to the system.
This approach not only improves engagement rates but it minimizes admin errors and creates a timelier, more accurate record of what’s happening on your premises.
What to consider when choosing a Health and Safety App
Selecting health and safety apps is not an easy task. Although most leading health and safety management software is designed to be used by any business regardless of size, type or structure, you still need to consider which app is most suitable for the specific needs and requirements of your business. The application will be an investment, and so appropriate research must be conducted to ensure that the correct decision is made.
Here are three simple areas to consider when choosing a health and safety app for your organization.
Look for key features that suit your needs
Begin by conducting a ‘self-study’ of your business or organization and determining your specific needs. Draw up a list of things that are important to you such as push notifications, electronic signing, GPS tracking, and offline functionality. To a large extent, these needs will be determined by your industry. If you’re in mining or construction and your workers are frequently working remotely without internet access, then offline functionality (where the app can still work without an internet connection) will likely be a higher priority than if you were in, say, warehousing, where your workers could be almost guaranteed to have a fast, stable internet connection throughout most of their working day.
Once you’ve drawn up a list of your needs, you can start comparing different health and safety management system software and seeing which ones meet your needs. This process ensures that you choose an app that offers easy mobile access for everyone who needs it across your entire business.
Look at app ratings
The second way that you can choose the best health and safety application for your organization is by reviewing the rating the app has gained on an app store such as Google Play or the Apple store, or by looking at review sites.
Almost every digital App Store has the ability to review and leave feedback for specific apps. You can identify what users of the app really think about the health and safety app and get a sense of how it holds up in the real world. It is also wise to review the written feedback from users because this provides real testimony.
For instance, if a software company claims that their health and safety app lets you manage health and safety compliance on-site with mobile access, take a look at the review and see what real users think. Do they find it easy to use? Are health and safety forms easy to access via the app? Do the app’s features like push notifications or offline monitoring work? How often is the app updated? This approach helps you cut through the sales hype in marketing literature and find out how real-world users find the app in practice.
Ask for recommendations
Unlike highly sensitive data such as that related to sales, health and safety obligations fall equally on ALL businesses and organisations and other companies are willing to offer recommendations based on their own unbiased experiences. You can search online or approach contacts for their suggestions. Many companies and stakeholders will share their knowledge because they will once have been in your position. They understand that finding the right health and safety app that offers proper system benefits and help you meet your compliance obligations is no mean feat. They’ll be happy to share.
In summary, health and safety apps offer a range of exciting benefits but it can be tough to choose the right app for your organisation. Finding an app that offers the right resources and meets your requirements is not easy. But it can be done!
We’ve offered you a simple guide to the best features to look for and a fool-proof plan for matching the software offerings with the needs of your organization. With time, care and enough research, you’ll find the right health and safety app for your needs.
Whatever stage of the process you are at, whether you currently have a health and safety app in place or are looking to shift from a paper-based system to an electronic one, we can help!
Contact us today to find out how Beakon software can help your organization achieve its goals for a safe and secure workplace!