Dealing with mountains of paper or unwieldy excel spreadsheets is not ideal, especially when looking for an important document. Whether its an inspection report/ audit or a risk assessment, the last thing that you want is to waste time hunting for a doccument when important actions have to be taken.
Here we have included some reasons why your business should consider moving from paper to software:
A major problem in health and safety management where a paper-based system is used is duplication of work. You do a site inspection on paper, along with acquiring all of your supporting documentation (photos etc.). Then you have to return to the office and copy it over to excel or a word document and scan your other materials. This wastes valuable time repeating the same task.
As a result of this, actioning tasks can suffer if you rely on a paper-based system. People may not check written tasks or reports without prompting or reminders, which can cause a lot of problems for important health and safety duties.
Using a software-based health and safety mangement system will free up extra space in your office and work areas. Piles of paper and filing cabinets take up alot of room, and if your document output is big enough, you may even require external storage space. Moving all of your health and safety documentation to an online/ cloud-based system allows you limitless storage capabilities. The extra space gained by getting rid of your filing cabinets can be very useful, especially in smaller offices.
Even if there is a filing proceedure in place, paper documents can still become lost or misplaced. In addition to this, they are at significant risk if fire or water damage accurs in an office. Software - based documents provide you with an easier to naviagate sorting system. Digital documentation also cuts down on the amount of time spent rifling through piles of risk assessments and method statements looking for one specific document. Crucially, digital files also make it easier to track the origin of and changes made to a document, which is very important to health and safety management.
Workplace collaboration on documents is made much easier and more streamlined with a cloud based service. Staff in businesses with multiple locations can work on the same audit, have access to the same risk assessments and method statements, lessening the impact of geography and productivity. Organisations don't have to have many physical locations to see these benefits, as collaboration between departments and team members is made much more straightforward.
Software-based systems allow staff to be more mobile in their work. This is espcially important in a health and safety context. The addition of mobile capabilities lets staff report incidents and hazards as they happen. Offsite meetings and inspections is better facilitated by a digital system. Remote working also lets staff work offsite and at home. At a time when addressing the work-life balance is increasingly important, offering staff the ability to work from home can lead to great productivity and employee satisfaction.
Paper documents are not very secure, as anyone with access to the office in which they are kept can potentially acquire them. With a software management system, access to certain documents can be restricted or made available at will. If paper documents are destroyed or mislayed, it is likely that their information is gone for good, which can be devastating for a business. Software and cloud-based systems can experience data loss, but information is much easier to back-up on hard drives and to retrieve. Sensitive or condidential customer information is also better protected.
The cost of printing, copying and storing masses of paper can be very expensive. Not only do you have to factor in the cost of buying large amounts of paper, there is also the cost of maintaining printers and photocopiers. Time is also wasted as staff try to sort through large volumes of documents. Postal costs also have to be taken into account. While there are initial costs with implementing a software or cloud based management system, businesses will likely see a faster return on their investment.
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For more related articles and infographics, please check out our Ultimate Guide To Health and Safety Software.