Blog: What EHS managers need to know about digital transformation

By Peter Bussey, for LNS Research

Oct 05, 2016

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Is Digital Transformation for real? In short, yes, driven by the availability of inexpensive computing power, sensor technology, and pervasive internet connectivity.

Digital technologies are accelerating the pace of change in organizations and operations. With change comes risk, and the need for rigorous systems to manage it effectively. The EHS function plays a vital role in operational risk assessment and control, and management of change. These processes need to be better defined and executed than ever to be a part of the overall EHS management system.

The digital revolution also presents opportunities to incorporate new ways of managing EHS. Innovative technologies can help better operationalize EHS management systems to drive continuous improvement. The use cases below just scratch the surface of what’s possible.

Improved machine and equipment safety with the IoT-sensor-equipped manufacturing lines capture extensive information on production, safety systems, and asset performance, such as operational status, event sequences, stoppage codes, motion monitoring, and so forth. With IoT-enabled Smart Connected Assets, EHS and operations personnel now have better visibility to such data, as well as advanced analytics capabilities, and can use it in root cause analysis of incidents and accidents for preventive action.

Predictive Analytics and leading indicators – it’s now possible to combine the analysis of EHS data with vast amounts of operational data from other business systems such as EHS, HR, asset management, and manufacturing to identify and mitigate priority risks predictively. In the case of one manufacturer, such analysis showed that factors such as overtime hours and completion of preventive maintenance activities were correlated with incident rates. By monitoring and acting on these leading indicators, incidents rates were reduced significantly.

Mobile applications to increase employee engagement. Mobile applications are widely available as part of most EHS management software platforms. Incident management, including safety observations, is among the most common apps, along with audits and inspections. Equipping employees with mobile apps helps them to actively engage in EHS programs and processes such as a behavior-based safety and helps build the desired culture around EHS and safety. This also allows larger amounts of data to be collected, in turn enabling better analysis.

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