The keys to successful change management when adopting tech for your H&S process
Group Health and Safety Manager
As a health and safety practitioner, I am constantly finding new ways to combat the inherent human behaviours that create danger in the workplace. With the world shifting towards a digital future, it is evident that technology can help to keep people safer.
In a competitive business environment, there is an ever-growing need to simplify and be more efficient. The right solution can add huge amounts of value to a business, but in my experience effective change management is key. Health and safety affects everyone in an operation, changing processes involves multiple touchpoints and requires an internal champion to ensure the correct changes are made. I have outlined three key area’s that aim to ensure a smooth transition when adopting technology to improve your H&S.
Education across your whole supply chain
It is critical that you engage with everyone in the supply chain, right down to individual contractors, when making changes to safety processes. An intuitive solution should enable quick and easy use for the bulk of your personnel, however, you must accommodate those who aren’t used to tech solutions. Even a perfect solution will fall short of the mark if enough users slip through without receiving the training they need. Adopting a solution that has multiple support channels, resources and outreach options for your supply chain is key.
Writing a chosen solution into your health and safety policy and contractor contracts.
If you are serious about mitigating your risk, you will need to ensure your supply chain are committed to your process. Putting it in writing is your safest bet and sets a good expectation that your new process is met. The company must ensure that it is documented and integrated into their health and safety management systems, from policy to procedures. Emphasising the importance of your new process to suppliers is critical. Luckily health and safety technologies offer direct benefits to the end user’s safety, so getting them onboard with the solution should not be difficult. In my experience, any change in process that is supported in supplier contracts, and at the earliest opportunity, will have higher engagement than those without. Be clear about your expectations for compliance, just as you would be about fire mitigation or any other safety matter.
Change, even where it is entirely positive can be frustratingly difficult. It can be difficult making everyone feel the same passion for safety and progress as you do. Changing a behaviour for 100% of your personnel won’t happen overnight, so an engaged team is critical to monitor the usage of a new process. Typically this will be in the form of an internal champion. An engaged staff member that educates and monitors usage of a solution will help to maintain positive engagement levels. A good product should support this person with quick visibility and reporting of usage within the system. This functionality will enable an easy indication of users or companies that need further education or a reminder of the new process.
Remember when choosing technology you need a product that comes with the tools and support that you will inevitably need to drive change. Such as training materials and built-in process tools that will ensure successful implementation.
Take every opportunity to promote and educate people that you can. Through posters, newsletters, toolbox talks etc. You take the safety of your sites very seriously. Because of that, you’re willing to invest in improvements and that is something that you should unashamedly promote.
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