My team and I were recently put through our paces by an ISO Audit. Due to the new standards which place more emphasis on complete business engagement, preparation for the audit took months. Naturally, there was a collective sigh of relief when we finally passed the test. But after we won the auditors over, the real challenge began. We had to find a way to get the whole organisation involved in helping us maintain and improve on these standards. One of the biggest stresses placed on us was to improve our health and safety efforts by keeping all staff well-informed and involved in future initiatives. I don’t know what your company’s attitude towards health and safety is, but it’s never easy getting everyone on-board.
New Zealand’s problem with health and safety.
Worksafe New Zealand conducts periodic surveys into the attitudes and behaviours of Kiwi businesses when it comes to Health and Safety. The results show an alarming disparity between the views of Management and their staff which negatively impacts the perceptions of Health and Safety in the workplace. What we know is that most employees don’t take Health and Safety seriously and fail to take simple precautions, such as wearing a high-vis vest in a warehouse where forklifts operate, until someone gets hurt. While a business might think they’re doing their part simply by having a Health and Safety committee in place, the committee's purpose is to act as a representative for all staff, not as an autonomous body. Ensuring your company is compliant is a responsibility that needs to be shouldered by everyone.
In saying that, I don’t think you can place all the blame on employees for being disengaged. A big part of the issue is that crucial information isn’t being shared by managers in the ways it should be. Management has to take the reins, lead by example, and champion the necessary cultural shift to encourage employee participation. The bottom line is that disengagement in Health and Safety can be a potentially lethal mistake for your business.
So here’s how M-Files, Sharp’s data management software solution, can help bridge that communication gap.
A central hub of information.
For starters, M-Files can store all your Health and Safety documents on one, easy to access server. By utilising metadata and accurate keywords, staff can view necessary safety information through search terms based on what the document is, as opposed to its file name or where it’s housed. This removes the need to trawl through folder after folder for information. This central hub can serve as a platform for everyone within an organisation to access and contribute relevant information.
There is such a thing as over-sharing. You don’t want everyone to have complete visibility over everything. Certain Health and Safety documents, such as accident register claims, need only be accessible to a select few. What’s more, you can now throw out your old paper-based registers. Employees can log their claims directly onto M-Files and continue to have access to the file as it goes through the investigation process. And don’t worry - the whole office won’t be able to read the register, only the claimant and relevant executives in the chain of command will have access. It’s incredibly easy to set these permissions as the creator of a document.
M-Files won’t just make life easier for you and your staff, but auditors as well. Because all your claims are in one place, documents stored on M-Files are extremely auditable. With one click, compliance officers can ascertain what stage of the workflow a claim is sitting in. This means no more nightmares trying to get all your documentation together at the last minute.
Never lose track of version updates.
Updating policy documents becomes a piece of cake - every time a document is updated, the latest version is saved on the server and relevant stakeholders can be set up to receive a notification via email on the changes. You’ll never have to worry about using an outdated version of a document again!
True business intelligence.
For a truly seamless system, you need your software to talk to one another. M-Files is a natural team player that can work with other software solutions such as PSI Capture, an application that captures and extracts data from scanned documents, to automatically sort health and safety documents by type, and then migrate them into your M-Files server.
Utilising M-Files in your workplace could manage to break down barriers and facilitate true collaboration for a safer and healthier working environment. Staff will love the visibility, awareness and ease of use that M-Files provides, and it also means your ISO audits will be a piece of cake in the future.