Health and Safety embraces the digital future​: Escaping the shackles of risk assessment

Health and Safety embraces the digital future​: Escaping the shackles of risk assessment

Article by David Holley, Director & Co-Founder, RiskPal

It was with some trepidation that I manoeuvred my way around Canary Wharf’s waterways last week, heading to my first trade fair in over two years.  As I pondered questions such as, “do I shake hands and should I be masked?” I was surprised and enthused to see so much activity around the Wharf with many workers heading to the area’s infamous glass towers. I was taken back to 2019 when things were ‘normal’. Almost.

This dedicated Forum Events health and safety conference was different to the norm in that the general public weren’t invited; all the delegates had pre-booked direct meetings with suppliers like us. The delegates weren’t messing around, they were all health and safety managers or directors hoping to meet a supplier who could, fingers crossed, solve their problems.

When I registered in the lobby, I was handed a daunting schedule of back-to-back meetings, 21 in all, each lasting 20 minutes. I gulped and took stock: this was akin to speed dating. Fortunately, I wasn’t alone, ably assisted by our marketing head Shilpi S Raut, we were able to ‘double-date’ two delegates at a time.

I’ve been working in risk management in the media for over 20 years and have worked closely with health and safety practitioners throughout this time. Delegates at the event were, however, from very different walks of health and safety life: wine trade, law, retail, local councils, construction, the NHS, heavy plant, railway maintenance, to name just a few.

What struck me as I listened to all the people I met was an almost universal pain point in their day-to-day work: risk assessment documentation! “Too much of it”, “can’t find it”, “can’t update it”, “can’t share it”, “can’t store it”. Again and again, I heard the similar frustrations, “formatting is so painful that staff disengage”, “version control is a nightmare”, “navigating folders of old risk assessments is painful”, and “obtaining and recording approval is like pulling teeth”.

But now the positives. Scarred by an exceptionally busy two years and endless Covid risk assessments, health and safety professionals are emerging from the pandemic with great appetite for change. Over and over, we heard of a readiness to embrace digital solutions to improve workflow and alleviate the common inefficiencies of document-based risk assessment that they had been suffering with for too long. Now able to see the wood for the trees after a gruelling pandemic, health and safety professionals are really gearing up for change and excited about what digital solutions can be provided. When we talked about safety data and trend analysis it was great to see excitement in the eyes. Honestly.

Shilpi and I were exhausted by 5pm, but as we wondered back to the tube station, it was quite clear what the good folks we met were desperate for: a solution that is simple to use rather than a system that is painful before it’s really even begun; something that encourages collaboration rather than single points of dependency and a risk assessment process that reduces repetitive tasks and frees up time to focus on managing the safety issues at hand.

RiskPal won the Risk Management Product of the Year in the 2021 CIR Risk Management Awards in recognition of the user-centric and innovative approach it takes towards risk assessment. I have long shared the frustrations of risk assessment that were echoed all too often last week and am excited that soon this can be a thing of the past. Lead the way.

Contact Us to find out more about the RiskPal platform and how it can help solve Health and Safety Risk assessment pain-points.

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