By: Thomas Carson
What’s Next for Safety Professionals?
For some time now I have been a vocal advocate of encouraging safety professionals to broaden their thinking from regulatory compliance to an expanded role in their organizations’ risk management function. I understand that this is not an overnight switch: for most people and most organizations we work with, growing and maturing the safety function is very much a multi-year commitment to what I call a “crawl, walk, then run” process. The good thing is that appropriately chosen software can support this process by helping you identify where you are today, setting goals for where you want to be, and selecting operating activities and metrics that keep you on track.
At the root of all great safety programs is the notion of continuous improvement through inclusive employee engagement: let’s work together to be better tomorrow than we were yesterday. But here is the thing: continuous improvement is not just limited to safety programs. Companies that have the discipline to integrate continuous improvement as part of operating safely find themselves beginning to find continuous improvement opportunities in operations perhaps not at all related to safety – observing for improvement in all areas becomes a habit!
This progression is illustrated in a modified form of the familiar Bradley curve below.
But the opportunities don’t stop here. Modern, well-designed safety software is also a platform for easy adaptation to new technology challenges, such as broader organizational risk management initiatives and ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) reporting.
As a current example, when OSHA released its recent ETS to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace, our customers had the ability to automate compliance, often with no additional costs, using existing functionality.
The point here is that circumstances and situations change, and we need to be able to adapt to those changes. Furthermore, not all change needs to be reactive. Safety professionals and their companies should be able to count on their technology partners to help them proactively plan for moving beyond safety compliance to more comprehensive organizational roles.