The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recently issued a new rule for businesses across the US to submit workplace illness and injury data digitally.
OSHA’s aim is not to penalise employers with hefty fines (although non-compliance will be sanctioned) but rather to incentivise them in adopting a digital, more transparent approach to EHS that will ultimately “improve safety for workers across the country”.
How will submitting digital EHS reports to the OSHA work?
OSHA has provided a secure website which offers three ways of submitting data, taking into consideration the varying digital capabilities of organisations. Businesses can
- Manually enter data into a webform.
- Upload a CSV file.
- Transmit data via an API1.
The first two options cater for organisations that are still using pen and paper or collect data in spreadsheets while option 3 provides a quick way of sharing data for those organisations that already use a digital system or application to record data.
Many organisations still rely on pen and paper to record EHS data, turning incident and injury reporting into a manual, time-consuming process that increases the likelihood of errors and data inaccuracy. In contrast, digitalising EHS data capture can help organisations to collect more and better-quality data in less time. Not only does this improve the accuracy of the collected data, but it also enables a speedier response to it.
Why aren’t more organisations adopting digital?
Transitioning from pen and paper to a digital solution can appear a daunting task but it really doesn’t need to be! Gone are the days of expensive, overcomplicated legacy systems that require an entire IT team to be implemented and maintained. Digitalising operations can be done in days, not months, with clicks rather than code. Organisations don’t need to overhaul their entire operation but could start with a single process. What does such seamless digitalisation look like?Let’s take the example of OSHA’s Form 301.
With paper-based operations, workers on the shop floor will be filling out a print-out of the form with pen and paper and transferring the information in an excel sheet or other digital format at the end of the shift. This way the task of recording information is duplicated, costing more time and data is shared with a delay.
Businesses can transform data capture from this:
into a seamless, efficient and transparent experience for both management and workers in the field.
No more time is wasted on transferring information from paper to digital, helping to reduce the risk of manual error and capture data with greater speed and accuracy.
Workers are shown the relevant questions based on their input so far, saving the time and effort of sifting through not applicable options.
Configuring the form takes minutes and only requires a handful of clicks. Managers can choose from a variety of question formats and can provide additional information to further facilitate workers in the field when filling out the form.
Without extra effort or need for IT support, management also gains real-time visibility over submitted reports as well as the ability to deep-dive on individual reports.
This way organisations can build a track record of compliance which is easily sharable with regulatory bodies such as the OSHA. What is more, businesses can use the platform to advance their digital transformation efforts, configuring simple checklists or more complex decision-making processes all in one place.