This post was most recently updated on January 28th, 2019
Environment, health and safety (EHS) is a discipline and speciality that studies and implements practical aspects of environmental protection and safety at work. In simple terms, it is what organizations must do to make sure that their activities do not cause harm to anyone. The question now is, how can you choose the best EHS management software?
An old adage says, every company adheres to – “Safety First”. Safety is the first thing employees and customers consider when doing business with any firm. Serious negative concerns about a business’s practice in this regard could mean the end of them. Thus, it is imperative that each company pay attention to how they are operating from a safety perspective.
The labor sector of each of the world’s states has pressured their governments to create policies to ensure that their lives are given topmost priority. Gone are the days when coal miners are made to work inside pitch dark tunnels for 18 hours a day. The labor’s push ensured the passing of legislation that would make it a criminal offence to neglect the safety of their workers.
What is EHS Management Software?
EHS stands for “Environment, Health and Safety”. Adequately large companies often have a group of people working towards the promotion of these three tenets. Generally speaking, this means ensuring that the company is taking care of its employees enough so they are motivated to work and boost the retention rate. On a legal standpoint, they have to make sure that the company is not violating any of the safeguarding policies imposed by the government. Furthermore, they hold the responsibility of balancing out the costs of the measures they make to remain in line with the business’s outlook.
Managing EHS can be a challenge. Depending on the size of the company, it may involve maintaining and creating huge sizes of data and statistics necessary for processing EHS related metrics. And with an often overly convoluted legal framework that the company has to adhere to, they are often left with a ton of work. A ton more than they can actually handle.
This is where EHS software comes in. EHS management software pertains to a type of software geared towards simplification of EHS for businesses and ultimately reducing costs. It usually features a way to record incidents, reports and other important information. Advanced versions of the software have features such as risk analyses, forecasts, and decision making support capabilities.
Choosing the best EHS Software
The market is currently flooded with EHS Management Software. There are many options to choose from and each one of them promising features that you may or may not need. The price points of this software wildly vary too. To make sure that you get the most of your buck when choosing the product, take careful note of these factors:
1. Learning Curve
As with any products, every EHS software will need some time to be learned. Since most of these software systems generally have the same functions and features, the learning curve should be one of the most important factors to set each one of them apart.
The average time it takes to learn products such as there is a few weeks. High-end versions of these products often targeted to younger employees, tend to emulate the similar look and feel of popular applications and websites. The additional costs of these high-end products can be offset by not needing to undergo employee training.
The learning curve will also largely depend on how well it fits the business requirements of your company. If for instance, if the software is generally built for a service company which has a lot of employees working on the field, then it would probably have features such as GPS tracking and ways to directly report to the main office of accidents and emergency situations. This will not help you if you are an accounting firm and whose most common accidents are paper cuts and coffee burns. It takes time to master any form of the computer application system and it does not help if you have to rummage through plenty of features that you would never have to use.
To slice the time it takes to learn any system, most companies often offer to train their customers. You have to take note of how long they will be sticking around, how much additional costs they will be charging you and how easily you can request for training. Additionally, having a crew of trainers ready to help you means that the company has confidence in their product and are willing to hear directly from their customers even after they have had their products sold.
Products of this nature are usually a “one glove fits all” kind of service. The only way to get an EHS management software specifically made for your business is to have your own internal software development team. Not every company can afford or see the value of having that team. So, most are stuck with using software that is for general use.
At the minimum, the purchased system has to be able to do all the functions that you need. Secondly, the system should allow for easy modification should your business have specific needs that could only be catered with such.
Another concern that you have to be wary of is security. There are many security companies that offer software testing and they award certifications to software systems. If your business can afford it, it is good to choose software which has a security certification or two.
As with any expense, the cost of buying anything for a healthy company should be scrutinized. A good way to ensure that you are getting a fair value for the product is if the product can reduce the payroll cost. Automating functions should mean having to use less manpower and that saved salary cost should at least match the price of the software system.
I suggest you look out for discounts that this type of industry offers. Often times, if you order on a subscription basis, you can save a hefty amount on the licensing. If you have a large enough company, you can also often receive offers to reduce the cost by buying in bundles with other products that the selling company offers.