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September 14, 2015

3 Benefits of Mobile Devices to Workplace And Employee Safety



Mobile devices are becoming more and more integrated into workplace operations. Gartner forecasts that by 2017, 50% of employers will not only allow, but will, in fact, require their employees to bring their own devices for primary use in the workplace.


As with any notable change, there are pros and cons to this trend: on the downside, mobile devices can create security and IT headaches. On the upside, they’re convenient, easy to transport and use, and employees will generally be happy to use the devices that they know and love - sometimes a little too much!


As mobile devices become more commonplace across the corporate American workplace, it’s also important to understand the trends in mobile use in the health and safety function, specifically. The adoption of mobile devices in safety has been slightly behind the curve – but it is also trending upward. According to recent research from Aberdeen Group, those health and safety teams deemed top-tier, according to a number of factors including efficiency and outcomes, use mobile devices in the performance of their safety work at twice the rate of lower-tier teams.


The next question to ask is: How is mobile device usage helping those safety teams improve their operations? Aberdeen’s report does not draw conclusions about the effects of mobile devices on safety – but below we share our hypothesis on three ways that mobile device usage can positively impact workplace and employee safety.


1. Increased mobility: The most obvious advantage of utilizing a mobile device is that it’s easy to transport! Safety professionals can easily bring and operate their device when working in the field – when performing audits, inspections, incident reports, hazard analysis, etc. Thus, they are able to more efficiently enter their findings and conclusions into a software system directly, rather than starting with a clipboard and transferring the information over when they get back to their desks. This elimination of an unnecessary step not only makes things more efficient, but also cuts down on the errors that can occur when transferring the information from paper to digital records. For complex organizations with multiple offices and field sites, having this software available on a mobile device can be especially helpful with task completion.


2. Increased adoption of safety software systems: One of the greatest challenges of implementing safety software is employee resistance to utilizing it once it’s in place. Companies often spend more time and money than expected on getting their safety teams accustomed to using new software. However, since most people are already comfortable using their personal mobile devices, if they can use those devices to access the safety software and perform their daily tasks, they will likely be more willing to do so.


3. Increased culture of safety: This final point goes hand-in-hand with the previous point – people will be more likely to participate in safety if it’s convenient, so making safety accessible from a personal device will increase participation. Imagine how much more likely employees will be to quickly report an incident or near-miss, or conduct a semi-annual audit, if their experience is that it’s easy to do so. Mobile devices can enable your safety team to literally put safety in the hands of employees like never before.


Progressive safety teams are using mobile devices, and the research indicates that they are realizing concrete benefits as well. The convenience and comfort of mobile devices makes them the perfect vessel for inputting safety data findings. This ease of use can help safety teams better track their company’s safety issues, allowing them to better address these issues and prevent them in the future.  


If you'd like to learn more about mobile devices can help improve workplace and employee safety, we'd encouge you to schedule a demo.


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