Our friends over at Effective Software recently attended a roundtable discussion on “Safety In the Digital Age”. It was wonderful to see the constructive findings and in particular the thought process around how the efficiencies that these technologies are bringing to the workplace are quickly swaying health and safety managers in a forward direction.
Ever since time began, technology has changed the way we work. Now some may say that the safety profession are slower to adopt new technologies and in some cases that is certainly true but I suppose it really depends on what your definition is of “new technologies”! Ireland’s first mobile telephone network, Eircell went live in 1986 using the analogue TACS system. That is a mere 30 years ago and look how the mobile phone has both been adopted and advanced the safety profession.
Now we all know how much we love “excel” and how we can’t do without it. Well it may surprise you to know that Microsoft released the first version of Excel for the Macintosh on September 30, 1985, and the first Windows version was 2.05 (to synchronise with the Macintosh version 2.2) in November 1987. You could argue that in those short 30 years it is the most widely used piece of technology in the safety profession.
Let’s not even talk about the trusty laptop sure every safety manager has one of them now! Toshiba launched the Toshiba T1100 in 1985, and has subsequently described it as “the world’s first mass-market laptop computer“. It did not have a hard drive, and ran entirely from floppy disks. I’d say that is pretty well adopted wouldn’t you?
But of course I agree, while there were significant changes and adoption rates 30 years ago, very little has happened since. But the wave of change is here again and this time it is going to have as much impact on the safety profession as any other revelation before.
The present is being driven by the greater need for efficiency, the greater need for timely and accurate information, the greater need to protect our workforce. Data Management Systems and eLearning are transforming the safety industry right now simply because the days of losing or displacing valuable work hours is a thing of the past.
The reality is that some health and safety professionals believe that this whole computer thing is a fad! The reality in this instance is that those professionals are depriving their business of the opportunity to become much more effective and efficient. If you also look at the fact that much better and quicker management decisions can be made by using technology, then arguably these professionals are also putting themselves and their colleagues at greater risk! It’s ironic that this is exactly the opposite of what they are trying to achieve! Of course there is a generational issue at play here but very often we find that age is not a barrier to the right person wanting to innovate. Of course not every piece of technology does what it says on the tin, but it is your job as health and safety manager to assess and advise on the most up to date ways of keeping yourselves and your colleagues safe.
Dulann is a provider of technology-enabled learning solutions for many of the world’s leading organisations. Services include Product & Process Simulations, Contractor Inductions & Employee Onboarding, Mandatory & Commercial Training, Contractor Management & Learning Management Systems.
About Damian Donlon.
Damian is a Non Executive, Senior Consultant, Interim Manager and Talent Adviser with specialist experience in the Construction & Technology sectors. Please feel free to contact him directly on 0879218616 for a confidential conversation.