From Silo To Synergy: New Frontiers In Risk And EHS Collaboration

The world is going digital—yet many companies aren’t when it comes to safety. While machines, methods and processes have evolved, risk and safety management has more or less stayed the same. It may have made sense a decade ago to silo risk and safety functions, but in today’s environment, neglecting collaboration can hinder business performance and profitability.
EHS Collaboration

The risks of siloed enterprise risk functions

There are often two distinct ways in which organizations find themselves lagging behind the competition when it comes to their safety performance—a siloed risk function and outdated methods of interpreting threats.

Unfortunately, siloing risk and safety management has caused leaders to overlook much larger, systemic issues. This idea proliferates due to the fact that many companies still log accidents by hand on paper, and then upload those documents into a manually operated spreadsheet. This outdated process inhibits being able to identify key trends that allow decision makers to mitigate workplace accidents determine root cause and contributing factors, and decrease insurance claims costs.

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, businesses spend roughly $1 billion per week on workers’ compensation costs. This money is effectively lost revenue, and much of it could be prevented if safety and risk managers bridged the gap between what happened and why it happened.

When it comes to workplace safety, risk management and safety cultures have much in common. Both have a goal of rooting out typical sources of danger in an effort to prevent them from occurring in the future. Without taking an analytical approach to workplace safety, however, it’s highly unlikely the dots will connect for safety managers who constantly find themselves amid stacks of papers flowing out of cabinets or infrequently updated spreadsheets.

Key takeaway: Spreadsheets and paper form submissions are outdated and often silo key statistics, leaving many companies in the dark about their safety habits.

EHS software provides a digital platform for submitting and reviewing incident reports.

Modernizing enterprise risk management

Correlation of previously siloed injury, demographic, and claims statistics ultimately results in better insight into why certain injuries become the norm. 

“EHS software helps reduce worker compensation costs.”

EHS software allows companies to connect every part of the process. It begins with digital injury report form submission, which the software then archives as a number of different data points. After months of tracking, organizations are able to gain insight into why, for example, a frighteningly large amount of machine guarding injuries occur, as opposed to a smaller number of slips and falls, and what should take priority in prevention. It would also provide the help necessary to truly reduce the overall cost of workplace injuries.

This behavior-based, action-driven approach to preventing future accidents from occurring is near impossible to institute through conventional methods of injury record keeping. Companies yield excellent returns after overhauling their safety programs, as well. According to the American Society of Safety Engineers, after a coal mining company in West Virginia incorporated EHS software, its worker compensation cost per every $100 on the payroll was just $1.28, while competitors reported spending as much as $13.78. This reduction in expense could be found because the coal company was able to understand which practices resulted in the most injuries, fines or accidents and then actively worked to prevent them, rather than just logging them and moving on with the day.

Key takeaway: Siloing risk and safety functions will ultimately hurt a company in the long-run, as it won’t have the ability to look at workplace injuries in retrospect and find a root cause for their emergence, among other key figures. Outdated safety methods only contribute to this separation, and businesses that embrace collaboration moving forward will reap the most rewards.

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