How to Go Digital with Your QHSE

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HSE digitalization

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Going digital with QHSE means one thing for organisations: process digitisation. Process digitisation, put simply, is the moving away from the pen-and-paper method of doing things towards an online, real-time way of sharing information to ensure transparent collaboration, timely updated progress and risk assessment, quality control, and ultimately, more reliable outcomes.
Implementing this to quality, health, safety and environment (QHSE) processes goes beyond just replacing your pen and paper with a mobile gadget. It would involve retraining your QHSE people and redefining your processes around how your team would be using a specific tool or a combination of instruments. This would lead to a new and better way of doing your company’s QHSE with a daily impact on the work of your managers and people working in the field or the construction site.

People, Processes, Tools

In order for you and your company to go full digital with your QHSE, there are three important things you have to consider:

Your People

The most challenging part of introducing digitisation in the workplace or the construction site is not the software or the hardware; it is the people who will use the technology. The resistance in embracing a new Quality and HSE initiative depends on how your people will adapt to change.
Successful digitisation begins with strong leadership that embraces technology – this is a robust embodiment of how serious the company is about implementing change. Digitisation done correctly starts at the top and moves down throughout the company. A digitised and digitalised business requires revolutionary leadership skills that can connect people, processes, data and things.
Getting your employees to adapt to process digitisation is critical to your company’s digital transformation. Make sure to invest in employee engagement and get your employees to adjust to the changes you’re rolling out as they are your most valuable asset in digitalisation. Don’t forget to remind them that digitisation would make their work easier.
Further reading: The QHSE manager’s guide to coaching their employees.

Your Processes

Digitising your processes is all about creating new operating models that make you more efficient. Digitising a process without optimising it is a waste of time and money. Digitisation is always about improving processes. Once you have optimised and digitised, you can proceed to standardise and make a benchmark for your operations wherein your only option is to develop further.
Applying this approach to Quality and HSE standards and implementing their requirements in the process solutions, allows for a customised management practice that would comply with ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, and many other EU standards relevant to an optimised and standardised QHSE system.
A digitised HSE solution increases a company’s savings while increasing employee engagement. Giving your employees and site workers access to a standardised and digital HSE system that is easy-to-use would spread a QHSE culture that in unprecedented.

Your Tools

Getting software to assist you with your project and QHSE compliance is not an easy task. Finding the perfect QHSE tool requires a thorough and structured process. Here are three long-term concepts to keep in mind:

  • Find a partner, not just a software
  • Find a tool that encourages user adoption
  • Find a tool that would support ongoing improvements of your business processes over the long-term

The Six Steps to a Digitised QHSE

Implementing a new digitised process on your QHSE can be described in six steps.

Step 1. Assess your current processes.

Before you propose any solution, you must understand first the current state of your workflow concerning its processes, people and supporting tools. Identify the areas you are currently having problems with and the potential areas for improvement. Ideally, collecting information and researching about outside issues like competitors and market trends should be included in this step.

  • Assess your current HSE work processes and workflow.
  • Assess the people involved in your HSE system, their level of competence, skills and motivation.
  • Assess tools currently used in your HSE system.

Step 2. Plan your proposed process.

Develop a plan for the new process including its needed people and tools. You have to describe how to move from the current HSE system to your original goal. To plan this process implementation, you need to:

  • Set or revise goals.
  • Identify risks.
  • Schedule selecting of process and tools.

Step 3. Execute a tool selection process.

Plan a tool selection process and decide whether to run a trial project. Define your objectives, what you want to achieve, what risks you want to reduce, and what parts of the process you want a specific tool implemented. Check how your chosen software fares with the tool selection criteria that you can find on Part 3.3.

Step 4. Define an implementation plan.

Devise a plan for implementing the process and the tools into an HSE system. You need to set goals for the process, people and tools – how is it you want your HSE system to be following process implementation. Define a calendar of process and tool launching and develop a process implementation guideline that provides help to those who will be responsible for implementing the process and tools.

Step 5. Build your digitisation project team.

Digitising your HSE would require people with specific skills and competencies. If your team does not have the specialities, provide training to those who need to raise their levels of competency. Decide what training is required for each member of your team to give them an understanding of the gravity of the change and their level of responsibility.

Step 6. Start implementing with precise progress tracking.

Roll out your implementation of the new tool and the corresponding new processes. Do not forget to monitor and track how your new HSE system is affecting your workflow and productivity. Make sure to evaluate the effort, the people, the process, and the tool to understand which areas to focus on for improvement.
Related article: What is QHSE digitalisation?
This is a simple guide to going digital with your QHSE. Some of the texts here are excerpts from a complete guide we’ve written on digitising QHSE processes and digitalising the QHSE system. 

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