How are new technologies enhancing your company’s environmental, health and safety management system in real-time?

The old paper system of the past not only opens your company up to being non-compliant to OSHA standards, but it also potentially costs companies thousands, if not millions of dollars. Briggs Equipment, an organization that sells, services, rents, leases and maintains a vast variety of material handling equipment, must support over 500 service technicians working remotely out of company vehicles all over the southern regions of the United States. By investing in practical safety apps that adapt to our safety and health needs, Briggs Equipment is able to immediately overcome enormous and unique safety communication barriers as potentially dangerous events unfold.

After Briggs migrated its entire mobile platform to the iPhone, all of the company’s branch and remote team members have a compatible computer in the palm of their hand. This single standardization has solved multiple organizational, safety, and health communication issues throughout the corporation. Brigg’s internal IT department created an in-house App called TechMobility that manages the servicing and maintaining of all sold, rented, or leased vehicles as well as the delivery of company equipment. Once the Brigg’s Safety Team realized they could reach every single team member in the field simultaneously, they began to harness the power of internal as well as other commercial iPhone Apps, which has taken basic safety compliance to a whole new level.

Historically, Hazard Communication has been difficult to manage which is why it is one of OSHA’s top 10 most cited standards. Most citations center on access to current safety data sheets (SDS) and labels. Since SDS are updated regularly, the old paper routine makes keeping hard-copy books up to date impossible, especially when remote, field employees must visit multiple different locations. Briggs Equipment has solved this problem by using a commercially available APP, so now, our field and remote team members look up information immediately permitting all team members to have access to every SDS in real time. Since employees can print labels instantaneously via their phone, it makes the “Right to Know” possible, thus eliminating OSHA hazard communication vulnerabilities.

Companies must identify risks and other environmental hazards within the work environment to improve the health and safety of all team members

With the changing world of COVID-19, health screenings are legally required to protect team members from exposing clients and other employees. However, this mandate left many businesses scrambling. Do you want500 technicians, from all over the country, driving to the nearest branch, filling out paperwork, keeping six feet between themselves and someone else who is taking their temperature, while keeping all data properly logged for immediate access? All without wasting productivity time, missing appointments, or putting themselves at increased risk. Briggs decided to use technology and integrated the health and wellness check into our TechMobility App. Every morning all technicians must log into the TechMobility App to receive their first job of the day. At this point, in the safety of their own homes, employees must complete the health and wellness questionnaire before they can start work. The information is captured into a database which generates a daily report. The questions all have to be “No” for the technician to start work. Any “Yes” answers are flagged, requiring the technician to stay home. Since all Covid-19 medical information must be handled privately according to HIPPA, the App ensures that only those in need to know positions are notified so that each case can be handled discreetly, according to law.

Companies must identify risks and other environmental hazards within the work environment to improve the health and safety of all team members. Safety professionals need team members to document and precisely communicate all incidents. Through this essential communication, safety professionals can analyze these reports to create processes and safety protocols to safeguard team members in the future. So, how do you get 1,000 team members to recognize and accurately report incidents and near misses?

Any tool must first be easy for any team member to use at the scene of the incident and also allow sharing within the organization. For injury, auto and general liability incidents, Briggs Equipment decided to incorporate an off the shelf Safety Management Program that included an App. Team members can now use their smartphone cameras to take pictures from many angles and accurately record what happened instead of attempting to draw crude diagrams. Plus, smartphones have the voice to text capture making recording what happened simple. Team members no longer have to write down lengthy accounts of what they thought happened or remembered seeing. Instead, they can record via smartphone precisely what they saw, heard, and thought at the scene of the incident. Since pictures are taken and added instantly and statements are taken immediately, the accuracy of the data is difficult to dispute later.

At this point, the safety professionals and Leaders of People take the initial report via the APP and conduct a thorough investigation. Reporting a near miss is often times over looked by some professionals, but accurate and immediate documentation of these “almost incidents” is invaluable to stopping future disasters. To stop the paper trail, once again, Briggs’s IT department created an APP that gives all team members the ability to report “near misses” immediately from anywhere. When a near miss occurs, team members immediately take pictures, voice record what happened, and input additional information Since all of this valuable, on-site information is captured instantly on Briggs’s Intranet, the information can easily be shared and analyzed. When necessary, this also allows corrective actions to be implemented more quickly company wide.

In conclusion, technology is changing rapidly and safety professionals must find ways to harness the new technology. Apps have proven to be an excellent way to ensure compliance with OSHA and the Covid-19 mandates. Plus, the ease and availability of use by remote technicians as well as office team members enhances the company’s efforts to ensure a safe and healthful environment while allowing us to continue to operate lean. This is just one of the many technological advancements that Briggs Equipment utilizes in order to enhance our safety first culture.