*Note: Before you can understand how to use the OSHIFY platform, you must first understand the fundamentals of the safety management system - something you can learn by simply reading this page.
There are a lot of preconceived ideas about what safety is and should be. We've been conditioned to think that our limited view on safety is "the only way" to do safety. But that's not necessarily true. On this page, we will boil down and distill some of the complex safety system ideas people talk about into a simple to understand and easy to follow guide, and explain why our system is different.
First, you need to know what makes us qualified to talk about safety. The answer is very simple. We've received direct feedback from 1,000's of experienced people over a span of 10 years. These people include state and federal OSHA enforcement officers, 3rd party safety auditors, insurance risk professionals, and trained or board certified safety pros out in the field. These people know what they're talking about and we've been aggregating their feedback and building our software upon their knowledge and experience. Of course, we've also accounted for the basic needs of the everyday "small mom and pop contractor"; something the other software companies forgot to do.
Before you can really care about safety, you must know how it impacts your business and finances. Let's talk about it.
The reason why companies care about safety include: lower workers' compensation premiums, more protection during an employee lawsuit, lower risk or impact of OSHA citations, protection from bad reputation with clients and prospects, protection from time loss and indirect costs of an injury or illness. Here's OSHA's injury estimator tool which allows you to estimate the cost of a real injury or illness. In short, incidents really do cost more money than the cost of doing safety. Smart businesses know this and decide to do safety.
A very common thinking pattern we find with small companies is, they believe safety is a single object or activity. For example, many small companies and people think that safety is doing "training", or doing "meetings" alone. The problem with thinking that any one of these by itself is "doing safety" is; it's never enough. Instead, one must think about "safety" as a business "system" with interconnected parts or elements (activities)- working together as one unit.
When you have a safety "system" of interconnected parts working together, a type of synergy happens. In other words, the combination of 2 or more safety system elements is far more powerful than just doing "training", or "meetings" alone. This is the proper way to view and approach safety.
Do you want to actually get out there and "do" safety, auto-generating the records and reports you need as you do the work? Or do you want to sit behind a computer and continually manage a bunch of documents that "talk" about safety?
The safety management system is not a well defined concept unless you are in the aviation industry or unless you are ISO certified. OSHIFY and this article are neither of these. Rather, we're talking about a simpler, more practical safety management system that can be understood and used everyday by laymen in the field, particularly those in high-hazard industries like construction, services, industrial, and maintenance contracting. We're talking about a completely different safety management system of "activities" that requires "doing" safety, not just having an elaborate documentary system on it.
Most entities including ISO have defined safety management systems that include elements that are really philosophies, theories, and other ambiguous concepts - not activities. While those ideas are important and often required before safety can happen, our system considers these items to be "prerequisites" before our system can be used, or ideas that are validated by our system when it is used properly. Maybe even by-products of our system. Many safety pros also agree with our belief that these well known systems do not work for small businesses, simply because small businesses don't have the expertise and staff that are required to run these systems. This has left small companies completely exposed to risk, which has created a large gap in the marketplace that needs to be filled. That's what we're doing.
So, how do we define "our" safety management system? Well, after years of trial and error we believe we've defined the most realistic and practical safety system on the market - for everyday people and small contractors working in the field. Our "system" is really a set of safety activities which our software is built upon. These activities account for regulatory compliance and safety procedures that almost all U.S. businesses should be doing. Regulatory compliance and safety management are two similar safety verticals that we've nailed with one system, but we won't go into those details in this guide. Instead, let's see what the goals of our safety system are:
Goal 1: Make safety easier than ever, without compromising historical safety principles.
Goal 2: Fundamentally change the way safety procedures are done.
Goal 3: Completely automate performance feedback for stakeholders.
*We have not yet achieved these goals to our satisfaction, but we're working on it.
Our safety management system is founded upon basic requirements and procedures that are already commonly used in the contracting world and which are already acceptable in the eyes of regulatory agencies and other authorities in U.S. industry. Let's break it down and look at the 5 elements (activities) of our safety management system - software:
Element 1: Safety Orientations (Initial Safety Conditioning of Employees)
Element 2: Safety Meetings (Ongoing Safety Awareness of Employees)
Element 3: Safety Inspections (Hazard Identification and Correction)
Element 4: Safety Training (Ongoing Safety Education of Employees)
Element 5: Incident Tracking (System Feedback and Analysis)
We're going to talk about each of these in detail.
*Note: Our system concept and platform also take into account OSHA's 3 core elements of effective safety and health programs which are; 1) management leadership, 2) worker participation, and 2) find and fix hazards.
One of the most powerful things you can do when hiring new employees is setting expectations for safety responsibilities. Statistics show that companies who do this, have a major reduction in fraudulent workers' comp claims and incidents.
So, how do we set expectations for new hires on safety and health? Safety orientations. Our platform comes with pre-written statements that all new hires can acknowledge before they can start work. This ensures that they will know you do not tolerate fraudulent work comp claims, unsafe acts, etc. New hires will think again after acknowledging these safety orientation statements and the judge will have clear evidence that employees have been warned about safety.
Safety meetings, toolbox talks, tailgate meetings; they're called many things. The purpose? Major increases in safety awareness among employees and a vertical safety culture that involves employees at the lowest level.
Smart companies know that pounding safety information into the minds of employees with redundancy and clear, concise messaging is highly effective. Our meetings come in written and audio form so you can automate the safety meeting process and leave the paper in that filing cabinet once and for all. Safety meeting content is short, clear, concise, and actionable. Less technical jargon, more practical wisdom from people who know safety.
One of the most important things a company should be doing is identifying hazards and eliminating or abating them. How is this done? Safety inspections of permanent facilities, temporary job sites, vehicles, tools, and equipment. It's the only way. These procedures must be recurring as well because new hazards are introduced into the workplace all the time.
Our platform lets you do all types of inspections with no paper. You'll be identifying hazards with our pre-written questions faster than any checklist on the web. Then you can eliminate or mitigate those hazards right away, creating a paper trail of safety activities for each and every inspection. Boom. Our vehicle inspection tool even complies with DOT for pre-trip and post-trip inspections.
Safety training is often times a little complicated. For example, forklift training requires on-site testing with the forklift itself and signatures, etc. In the event that you need or do this kind of training, you can simply upload and add the training into our platform so it can be a repository for all training that happens outside our platform. As a convenience, we've also included popular OSHA safety awareness training courses that come directly from OSHA and which employees can take on our platform and meet most basic safety training requirements. Soon, we'll also be releasing our own in-house training content because we all know the safety training videos published by OSHA and which are used in our app right now - aren't the best quality. They just get the job done.
Just hop into your OSHIFY account and find the training section under "Tools" to get started with training. What's unique about our training tool is, employees do not have to have their own logins. We learned this lesson the hard way and discovered that a single admin account should be able to play training content and then mark employees as passed or failed. This eliminates the burden of managing scores or hundreds of logins for your employees. Trust us, its' a big burden that you and your employees don't want.
Everyone knows recording injuries and illnesses is the law. If you didn't, now you do. So incident tracking is also useful for other things such as tracking work comp claim statuses, determining who's on light duty, finding root causes, as well as meeting state specific regulatory recordkeeping requirements.
Our incident tracking software allows you to know the status of all injuries and illnesses from a single screen and also have a feedback loop for root cause analysis and overall system improvement.
Unfortunately, forms, templates and documents will always be needed in the safety industry. For this reason, we published a "safety library" which lets you download our most popular forms and templates from the app. While it's not an integral part of our "system", it is a necessary tool that our users will need for many years to come.
In addition to our safety library, a safety document "builder" has been provided so you can create / publish safety program manuals with just a few clicks and in less than 5 minutes. The type of program / manual our builder creates passes review by entities like OSHA, Cal/OSHA, ISNetworld®, Avetta, PEC, and more.
*If you discover that you need a document that's not presently available in our library or in the builder, let us know and we'll create it for you - free of charge.
Yep, that's a lot to consider. But you need to have that 30,000' overview of everything - and you just got it. There's no way around it and no shortcuts. Feel free to re-read this page as often as you need to. It might just be one of the best articles on safety management available. We know because we've been looking too.
So to recap, there are approximately 5 basic elements to this safety management system. The system is a concept that has been productized into a safety software platform (OSHIFY). Doing one of the 5 elements is not really that powerful. The "synergy" we are after comes when you combine 2 or more of these 5 elements. Preferably, you want to be doing all 5 if you want to achieve regulatory compliance and safety efficiency though. The whole point of doing safety and using this platform is to keep workers safe and alive, and to protect the business from financial loss or destruction. Safety is hard, but it's much easier with OSHIFY.
Now, what will you do with this information? This questions demands a response from you. Will you ignore it and leave your business and employees exposed? Or will you decide to protect your employees and your business? If you choose the latter, read on a little more about implementing.
The old fashioned safety management systems involved lots of paper and lots of people. Fortunately for you, we live in an age where software can automate procedures and eliminate paper and other waste. In our case, it can automate safety orientations, meetings, training, etc., saving you time and money in the long run. Our platform allows one person to do what used to take a whole team to do.
So, how do we actually implement a system like this? Great question. We've provided a simple plan that will help you get started using OSHIFY. While safety is a never ending journey, initial compliance can be achieved from the onset of getting an OSHIFY account. Here's what we recommend:
By the time you've finished reading this page, it's already been a long day. So we'll just give you a little to do on Day 1 (today). Sign up for the free trial, then locate the "organization" menu item in your account on the left side. Then, add the names of your employees if you didn't already do that during sign up. If you have seperate locations, departments, or crews; be sure to create locations and departments in this area as well if you didn't do that during sign up. If you want, you can also check out the Document section on day 1 to browse safety templates or build a safety manual since that's really fast and easy. That's it! Day 1 is over.
Consume The How-To Videos:
In order to grasp how things work on our platform, you really need to watch the how to videos. To do that, log into your account and find the "How-To" menu item in your account. Now, click on it and watch all of the videos in this area. That's it for day 2!
Use The Tools 1x and Set Reminders:
Ok, by now you've already set up your organization (Day 1) and you've watched all the how-to videos in the How-To section of your account (Day 2). Now we need to actually "do" some safety procedures and set up the reminders. First, locate the "Tools" menu item in your account. After that, use each of the 5 tools at least 1x. That's it! Now all you need to do is go to your account settings and set your reminder frequency to daily, weekly, monthly, annual, etc. for each tool. This way you can keep doing the recurring procedures you need to do in order to keep the system going.
As you use OSHIFY, you'll become more and more proficient. Best of all, you won't have to deal with paper and pen, and you'll have access to a safety staff that can help you along the way. And that paper trail of safety your company needs is happening automatically without you having to make and keep records. :D
We're currently in beta, which means beta pricing is in effect. Schedule now to lock in beta pricing so you don't have to pay full price in the coming years for safety automation.