Maintaining an efficient and safe EH&S strategy within a single-site operation is difficult enough, but being tasked with overseeing a business estate that spans several locations opens a wave of challenges for safety directors and EH&S professionals.
The primary health and safety issue for multi-site operations is the ability to maintain a consistent approach across the board. Despite everyone working for the same organization and towards a common goal, a disconnect in procedures and processes often proliferates when people are situated in separate buildings.
Similarly, the systems used to monitor and report EH&S incident rates may differ, with one building relying on a modern safety management platform and another having fallen into the trap of reverting to a more manual, paper-based affair.
Joining up such disparate systems is inherently difficult and provides a muddied picture of the overall EH&S operation. Worse still, it can have a drastic negative effect on accident frequency rates.
The holy grail of multi-site EH&S visibility
Ask any EH&S professional working in a multi-site environment what they yearn for, and it’ll include at least one (if not all) of the following:
• complete visibility of all incidents that take place at every location;
• the ability to create and track subsequent actions;
• a decrease in accident frequency rates;
• reduced timescales when it comes to following up incidents and risk assessments;
• far better and more consistent incident reporting;
• EH&S engagement from every member of staff;
• reporting of all near-misses.
Consider an airport operator. Such businesses handle millions of passengers and thousands of tons of freight every year, and their operations are often spread across multiple airports, including property assets. That means thousands of jobs, multiple working locations and a multitude of potential incidents to account for.
Those at board level will usually task the safety chiefs of such organizations with measuring EH&S performance across the entire business estate. They’ll be expected to clearly demonstrate improved safety incident management and potential risk in every department throughout every building.
That’s quite a task. So how do they achieve it?
The solution lies in the implementation of a single, unified incident and risk management application. And, providing it takes advantage of cloud technology, the distribution and – most importantly – acceptance of such a system is far easier to achieve than cumbersome platforms of old.
So, how do modern risk management systems decrease accident frequency rates in multi-site businesses? It’s quite simple: they provide increased visibility across the estate by providing tools for three key areas:
The right people need to be notified about near-misses, hazards and incidents. A centralized system that features mobile apps for smartphone and tablets empowers multi-site staff to report incidents in a common format, enabling EH&S teams tasked with overseeing every building to gain increased visibility without rifling through disparate, complex reporting (some of which may even arrive in paper form).
Risks and hazards need to be identified quickly. If a multi-site business employs different ways of reporting risk depending on location, the status of the EH&S operation is anything but clear.
A unified system increases visibility of all sites, enabling EH&S teams to identify common risks and plan for remedial action that can be administered company-wide.
3. Actions and remediation
Quick, controlled response to risk is vital, and group-wide systems that enable teams to address incidents, non-conformance and ad-hoc safety concerns will help any business decrease the frequency of accidents.
When an organization is spread far and wide, the ability to assign remedial tasks to specific employees and initiate instant, automated action alerts creates a unified EH&S operation that simply isn’t possible with disparate systems and rules.
The ability to decrease accident frequency rates across every site within a large business estate is only possible if all members of staff engage with a singular EH&S system. Thankfully, if it’s easy to access, mobile and approachable, they’ll do just that.