The devil is in the detail – or is it? In the world of EHS, where minor information can make the difference between compliance and incidents, finding the perfect balance between simplicity and detail can be a tricky task.

Therefore, when configuring EHS software, there is one crucial question we ask customers right at the start. What is your EHS philosophy?

By that, we mean who can enter EHS data into your system – everyone, or only supervisors and above?

Your response to this question is crucial because it guides the configuration of your data forms. There are two primary strategies to consider:

  1. Simplistic forms for everyone
  2. In-depth forms for managers and EHS professionals

Each approach carries its unique benefits and challenges. To assist you in selecting the most suitable data entry for your organization, we’ve spoken to Pro-Sapien’s Senior Solutions Consultant, Colin Clark. He shared valuable insights into both strategies explaining why there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution and how you make the best of both worlds.

Approach 1: Everyone can enter EHS data

This approach empowers everyone in your company, from site managers to production workers, to enter EHS data. Colin explains how this can significantly boost engagement:

“Involving your workers in the process provides them with positive affirmation that their input is valued and that safety measures are being implemented. For instance, if workers can submit observations, they can follow the feedback loop in the system and see the actions resulting from it.”

LBC Tank Terminals had considerable success by involving employees in reporting near misses. After implementing Pro-Sapien, all employees could report Incidents and Near Misses directly from Microsoft SharePoint. The proportion of Incident Reports logged by non-HSSEQ staff soared from a mere 10% to 93% compared to the previous year. Furthermore, reports of Near Misses and Unsafe Situations surged by 370%.

Let’s delve into the key aspects of this approach:

Best Suited Forms:

Key advantages:

  • Inclusivity – It fosters a culture of safety and responsibility among all employees, not just the EHS professionals.
  • Diversity – With more people involved, you get a wider range of observations and incidents, leading to a more realistic understanding of your organization’s EHS landscape.

How do you make it work?

  • Keep it simple – If data entry is straightforward enough, it becomes self-training. Utilize tooltips and incorporate these forms into the safety induction to demonstrate system logging.
  • Expertise matters – Be conscious that certain more complex forms, such as incident reports, are better handled by EHS managers due to their expertise in providing in-depth information.

Approach 2: Only EHS managers can enter EHS data

If integrating employees boosts engagement, then why should you consider an approach where only EHS managers can enter EHS data?

We asked this question to Colin, who highlighted that there are situations where companies require data forms to be filled out exclusively by EHS managers:

“In high-risk industries, there are often scenarios where a company engages contractors, such as on an offshore oil rig. These contractors don’t typically report directly into the system and have to report to a safety representative,” explains Colin.

However, he also emphasizes that an approach where only managers enter data has its limitations. For instance, when it comes to observations, a supervisor could end up receiving dozens of reports a day that need to be logged into the system. This would place an unmanageable workload on the responsible person.

With that in mind, let’s delve into the specifics of this approach:

Best Suited Forms:

Key advantages:

  • Quality – Managers and EHS professionals have the expertise to fill in detailed forms and provide accurate information. For example, having a working knowledge of how to classify information correctly, for example Incident Type, and how to handle sensitive details.

How do you make it work?

  • Strong specification – Invest considerable time during implementation to ensure the in-depth forms are capturing what’s needed.
  • Training – If forms are asking for in-depth information, the people expected to use them require appropriate training to ensure accurate and timely reports.
  • Don’t limit your perspective – While EHS managers are experts, they may not have the same on-the-ground perspective as other employees. Therefore, consider opening up data entry for certain situations, such as near misses and observations.

The golden middle – a mixed approach

By looking at both approaches, it becomes clear that neither can be implemented in isolation. Particularly when a form goes into review, EHS managers are required. For example, to conduct an incident investigation or to approve the inspection. However, there are pros and cons of sharing the responsibility of initial reports that organizations should consider. Colin expands:

“At Pro-Sapien, we don’t dictate ‘you should do this that way’. It ultimately depends on your company’s philosophy and requirements. If your site employs a lot of non-native speakers and operates under tight project timelines, we would likely design the forms for EHS managers. However, in most cases we recommend a two-fold approach where some forms can be completed by all employees to increase EHS visibility across the organization.”

Adopting a hybrid approach encourages a safety culture among all employees while ensuring the data quality in certain areas through EHS managers.

Remember, the choice of approach depends on your organization’s specific needs and resources. It’s about finding the balance that works best for you. Whichever approach you choose, the key is to foster a culture where everyone feels responsible and empowered to contribute. Pro-Sapien serves as a great opportunity for this, since its EHS software is easy to use and accessible on everyday apps such as Microsoft Teams.

Discover now how Pro-Sapien boosts EHS engagement in large enterprises in our whitepaper:

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