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Webinar: Your Path to a Safer Jobsite: How Mobility Can Transform Your EHS Program

ByJacinta Sarpkaya | Published: April 26, 2017
Presented by ProntoForms
Key Takeaways

Learn how mobile solutions can help you reduce incidents, improve your safety compliance scores, and make your jobsites safer.

Mobility plays a critical role in maintaining safety compliance and can help transform your EHS program. Mobile solutions let you capture rich information, provide field teams with up-to-date information, seamlessly integrate with back-office systems, and enable proactive, informed decision-making as it delivers data to stakeholders in real time.

Join us to learn how leveraging mobility can help you reduce incidents, improve your safety compliance scores, and make your jobsites safer. We will also be joined by safety expert and Safeopedia contributor Bryan McWhorter.

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • What defines mobility and a true end-to-end solution
  • How mobility carves the path to a safer jobsite
  • How mobile apps transform data collection, routing, and reporting
  • How powerful iOS devices can enhance safety processes
  • The benefits that mobility can have on your EHS program
  • How small companies to large enterprises are leveraging mobility to reach their safety goals

Jamie: Today we’re presenting “Your Path to a Safer Jobsite: How Mobility Can Transform Your EHS Program.” Bryan and Scott, please take it away.

Mark: Thank you, Jamie. Thank you very much, and a big thank-you to everyone who’s attending. We know that you have busy days, so taking some out of your day to learn about technology and how it can contribute to helping you meet your goals. We believe it’s going to be an important and educational hour for you.

From an agenda—me, Mark Scott—I’m going to be the technical guy. I’m going to talk a little bit about best practices of a platform to help you meet your goals. And Bryan is our safety expert. So, we have two lines. I never profess to be the safety expert. We just provide some tools that help you do your job better. So, from a logistics perspective, time-wise, we’re going to spend about 10 to 15 minutes talking about technology at the beginning. Then we’re going to go into kind of key best practices and how technology affects those, and that’s going to be a little bit of a fireside chat with me and Bryan. And then, we are reserving time at the end for questions and answers, as Jamie said. But by all means, if you have questions, put them into the chat window. But generally, what we do is, we respond to them at the end. So, with that being said, I’m going to jump right into it.

So, first and foremost, I’ve said this in the past, and I think it’s very relevant. You can tell a lot about a person or a company based on the friends that they keep. So, we’re very proud today to say that Apple is a co-sponsor of this webinar. ProntoForms is a partner with Apple. They have a program called the mobility partner program. And that’s where they work with select software developers, like ourselves, who have really state-of-the-art solutions. And they work collaboratively with them to do educational sessions like today, talking about how technology, from a mobile perspective, cloud, as well as analytics, positively impacts an organization. And that can be from either obviously environmental health and safety, compliance, and best practices, all the way through improving productivity within an organization.

So, once again, we’re very happy to be a partner with Apple. And you see on the right there some examples of different customers we have, and I’m just going through this slide, because our brand is probably not so well-known, compared to companies like Apple, so just so you know, we do make our platform available to companies—medium to large, and some small companies, as well—that use our solution for health and safety, many of them large providers or brands in the oil and gas industry, manufacturing utilities, field services—very diverse use cases. And you can see a couple of the logos there, including Pacific Gas and Electric, AAA, the automotive towing services, as well as Obayashi, which is one of the largest engineering companies globally.

That was a little bit about us. Now, let’s jump into technology and you as a health and safety professional.

So, one of the things that we do every year is, we partner with a group to do a survey on practices of adopting mobile technology applications, cloud solutions, and analytics for health and safety professionals. And each year, we see a minor incremental growth of the number of companies that are adopting applications and mobile devices to improve safety in the field. So, you’re talking 500 participants in the survey. And I guess what shocked us is still today, 2017, where I guarantee every single person listening to this webinar has an iPhone in their pocket or an iPad on their desk—in a work environment, particularly something as crucial and sensitive as health and safety, the penetration levels are still low. And that’s going to be an interesting part of the discussion that we’re going to have with Bryan later on.

And I guess one of the key things, prior to bringing Bryan on, is that we want to remove the concept that this is something too big, too difficult, too complex, and that change management will be overwhelming. That’s not the case. What have we learned? And like I said, from a technology company, not as health and safety experts, what do we learn in implementing our solution with companies large and small? Our customers are always looking for flexibility. They’re looking for the ability to do very, in some cases, unique processes. Sometimes these are processes that are regulatory-defined in a certain region, so that’s pretty easy. Generally, most people use the same form or way to collect that information. But in many cases, it might be a specific manufacturing process, a material handling process, something to do with the transportation of certain goods, an environmental inspection, pre-launching a work site—you name it. What happens is, there is an element of customization that’s required in unique aspects.

And what I can assure all the people listening in on the webinar is, we’ve pretty much seen everything. We have 3,500 customers. That’s a lot of customers on our system. And each of those customers, of course, have multiple subscribers. Our smallest accounts are five to ten6+ users, and some of our larger accounts have thousands of users on the system in that account. But we launched many, so I can tell you that we’re experts at deploying this and getting it done very quickly. The ability to customize our platform to any specific needs that you have—we can do it very rapidly.

This is the last slide before I kick off the conversation with Bryan. Essentially, some of the key things that we’re going to want to talk about, and I think you’ll be hearing it from the safety professional’s perspective, not just the technology guy, me, is—what are the clear benefits of introducing a platform—and by all means, we’re not here to say that we’re the sole solution provider in this space. That’s not the case. The objective of this is to be educational, so regardless of what solution you choose, the benefits are clear—the ability to collect diverse types of information beyond just yes-and-no answers or scale of something 1 through 10 or 1 through 100, numerical inputs, being able to collect it in a way that that quality of that data that you’re collecting doesn’t get interpreted along the way once it’s moved to your back office system, the ability to notify people very quickly when you do find any type of incident, so that speed of reaction to something that might be an issue in the field that you have to respond to—very important, as well—ease of auditing, being able to get access to that data once it’s been collected. I guarantee, with all the people on the call today, there have probably been many scenarios where you know you have the information. You just have to find it to respond to some sort of inquiry, be it an audit, be it an insurance company. Collecting the information, being diligent about how you collect it and rigorous about how you collect it, is only so good as if you can reproduce and give that information to someone who’s saying that they need to see it immediately.

And of course, the most important thing is keeping your employees, your contractors, your customers, and the environment safe, so being compliant, and beyond compliance, being a good corporate citizen or a good organization, that you’re always looking out to be using the most up-to-date and stringent processes and using technology to help you do your job better.

I would say, last but not least, that that last point is—many people in the webinar, again—health and safety could be their key deliverable and key responsibility in what they do. But in many groups that work out in the field, health and safety is an element of their work, when they’re doing, for example, a service call. There might be a safety checklist they have to do prior to starting up a piece of equipment or shutting it down. There may be, as I mentioned earlier—how you handle and/or dispose of certain materials that you’ve collected at a job site.

So, these are people who might take health and safety training once a year, and it only represents 10% of their job tasks, but if they get that 10% wrong, again, there’s lots at stake and lots of risk there. So, ensuring that you can streamline those processes and make it easier for people in the field—that’s the key. The more easy and simple it is for them to do it, the more likely they’ll complete it and complete the task properly.

With that being said, we’re going to jump into the fireside chat portion and going to introduce Bryan. Bryan, how are you doing? You can hear me fine?

Bryan: Yeah, doing great, Mark. Thanks for letting me join in today.

Mark: Yeah, pleasure to have you. I can tell you, Bryan, when we do these webinars, by far, when we get feedback afterwards, the part where we either interview a customer and/or we have an opinion leader like yourself coming on to talk about your experiences, your history, some of the challenges that you’ve met and how you overcome them—that’s really the meat of the discussion and the webinar. It’s what people like most. That being said, we’re going to basically cover five key topics. I’ll kind of kick it off, and it’s going to be very conversational.

Number one, Bryan, you saw that slide, and you were probably scratching your head as well as I was, in terms of the number of companies that have actually deployed a mobile solution. Again, as I said, it’s a bit shocking. Here we are in 2017. I guess I’ll just pause there and say, “What’s your perspective, in terms of health and safety professionals and adopting technology?” Has there been something that’s happened in the past that’s scared them? Or what’s keeping them at bay? Why are they not adopting this?

Bryan: When I first saw that slide, like you, I was really kind of shocked by it. When I left the corporate world in the end of 2014, I figure—I estimated that I have filled out or done close to 500 accident and incident investigations, all using paper. And I was excited at the prospect of switching to mobile, which I know the company that I was with was looking into. But I think, really, what it comes down to is, working with paper is what companies have done for years, so it’s a tough paradigm to change. And it often comes down to that pain threshold, when you get to that point where you see that you’re dealing with so many problems by staying with paper, versus the risk of changing to a technology that you’re not maybe used to, that you’re willing to take that risk. It comes down to that burning platform issue, where the risk of staying the way you are is now greater than the risk of actually changing.

Mark: In the context of today, where, like I said, I’m guessing 99% of the people, if not 100%, on this webinar, who are attending, have an iPhone in their pocket, knowing that you have the ability to collect contextual, important information, beyond the yeses and nos, and “What is the state of this equipment and its readiness, 1 being not ready, 10 being perfectly operational, ready and safe?” and all those other things—sometimes that old adage, “A picture says a thousand words,” or an audio, or a video, or a sketch—I can only imagine there are processes where you do have to collect additional information and then somehow marry up that information with a written form that gets faxed when you get back home, if you’re working out in the field. How does that work, bringing together all of this important information alongside with that information on the form? How are people doing it in this old-fashioned way?

Bryan: I’ll tell you, and this is one of the things that really excited me about coming on board today and joining you in this. The fact is, to me, mobile technology really lends itself to this field very well. It has an acceptance level—mobile devices do—that computers never really achieved. Like you said, I dealt with a lot of people who would be very uncomfortable in dealing with a computer, yet you hand them an iPad, and they’re totally comfortable and enjoy working with it, and they all own smartphones.

Now, if I go back to those 500 incident/accident investigations that I did with paper, they were so labor-intensive, any pitfall or problem that you could imagine connected with paper, we dealt with, from forms not being filled out correctly to information being left off of it to investigations actually getting lost. Maybe I had a supervisor fill out an accident report with someone on Monday, and it got buried on their desk, and I don’t hear about it until a week later. So, paper really doesn’t do well with the complexity of today’s health and safety environment. Mobile devices really are so much better. Again, I can see—one of the advantages is, when the light comes in to a lot of the problems that most of us health and safety people deal with regularly, the solution is really just switching to those mobile devices, just because they fit this type of work so much better.

Mark: I’m guessing, from some of the points that you made there, change management and—when I brought up what scared them in the past—I guess what we’ve learned in the evolution of our solution is that we progressively made the user interface of our mobile application to emulate kind of an email, if you will. Most people have used email on a mobile device, or if they’ve used it on a computer, they’re familiar with things like Inbox. What we learned on our side is that change management was key, because if you introduce a mobile solution, and if there’s not support from the top down to have people use it, then guess what? It could fail and not get totally adopted. However, the technology provider plays a key role, in terms of ensuring, from a usability perspective, that the solution is as easy to use as possible. We like to say, on our side, that if you can use Facebook or email, then generally you shouldn’t be running into too many problems.

Just quickly, on that topic, before I jump into the next slide, one of the beauties of our relationship with Apple is that they actually, when we kicked off the partnership with them two years ago—their software engineers helped—they used the term “modernize”—the interface of our solution. And Apple is pretty much the king of usability, so they helped us basically introduce this concept of almost an email-type interface, with very simple-to-use buttons. And it’s really made a great difference.

Okay, so great points on that one. I appreciate your perspective. And I also liked your anecdote there, your example of someone collecting information, and then it gets buried on their desk. It doesn’t get submitted. So, you kind of, in those situations, cross your fingers that nothing goes wrong to say, “Was that inspection done?”

Bryan: Absolutely. Before you go on to step two, one of the things I’d like to say—for that first point there—collecting accurate information is so important, and it has to be done in a timely manner. For that point one, the goal of every safety professional is, “Can we get accurate information that really gives a good picture of what happened? And can we get it quickly?” I think mobile technology really lends itself to that so much better than paper does. Okay, now let’s go ahead and move on to number two there.

Mark: Excellent. On this topic, what we learned very quickly, dealing with customers over time, is how rapidly things change, how either security processes, checklists, tasks—we had customers that were introducing new pieces of heavy equipment on a quarterly basis, because they were growing like crazy, so they needed that flexibility of publishing to groups new checklists, new tasks, new protocols. Regulatory requirements change all the time. This is an ever-changing world, and again, we live in a world where people are accustomed to having access to information right at their fingertips.

Understanding how quickly things change, how, in your world, your life, as well as other companies that you’ve dealt with—if you had to publish new processes, and if you think of the size of the organization you were with, and then you start thinking of regions and divisions—if you publish a new health and safety protocol, yet there are employees, let’s say, in the western region, who think, “Oh, I’m just being a good corporate citizen and being good to the environment. I’m not going to use the new forms until I use the old ones”—

Bryan: Yeah, and I’ve seen that.

Mark: Exactly, because “I don’t want to waste paper. I’m going to use this box of forms.” How did you manage that change management?

Bryan: Oh, man, when I tell you some of the things we did, they almost take a comedy-type level. This is the type of thing that really keeps safety professionals up late at night, because it really does scare us to think that our employees and people in the field are using out-of-date information. So, some of the things that we did were—we even tried things like—we would change the color of the paper, so that, if we updated something, it went from a blue paper to a yellow paper. Then, we’d say, “You need to get rid of all the blue and stay with the yellow documents.”

What people need to remember, and any safety professional listening is well aware of, is that when we’re talking about safety procedures, standard work, regulations, we’re talking about controlled documents, so that, in a lot of the organizations I work with, if an employee printed out, say, standard work or a procedure, it was timestamped to be good for only 24 hours. After that, it was no longer any good. And the reason was so that we wouldn’t have an out-of-date document floating around that people were using to guide their behavior and what they did.

Here’s something where everything that we did, the paper base, the color changing, the 24-hour timestamp—they really still were not effective. Like I said, these were the things that would keep me up late at night. The best rule I can think of is where a person has a mobile device or something, to where they can go right into a database, and the only thing that they could access is the current procedure, standard work regulations, so that we know everything is up to date. And with electronic, we can control that. Sadly, once a piece of paper has printed and gone out, you have no control over it.

Mark: When we’ve, on our side, received some accolades from safety professionals, one of those key things was managing, in a very tight way, the versioning process of just essentially—even if you were the most stubborn employee in the field that wanted to use Version 1 of a safety form, there’s no way in the world you could, because it was no longer on your device. Not too focused on us, on good health and safety solutions with a mobility component, you should be able to—versioning is key, and I’ll share, from a technical perspective that I think, Bryan, you’ll understand, as well, and it connects to some subsequent slides we’re going to talk about. The data you collect—if there are rules that change—so let’s say you go from a version 2 to a version 2.1—there may be new information you’re collecting. So, if you have to report historically, you need to be able to report in the context of a version 2 form as well as a version 2.1, because if you mix all that information together, it’s going to look like, “Oh, anything we did up until that date was non-compliant, because”—that level of sophistication, not only in terms of ensuring your teams out in the field, regardless of where they are globally, have the right form and they’re doing the right processes—it’s also ensuring that you can manage versioning. It means that you can report appropriately, as well.

I think another key thing, from a technical perspective, for people to consider, is that—and Bryan, you’re going to smile at this one, and I’ll let you talk a little bit, if you have something to add—is that, guess what, there are different rules in different regions across North America and/or globally, so different either workgroups or regions or divisions follow similar, yet different practices. So, you may have to create groups of users that each have their own unique forms with different nuances or flavors. But you probably ran into the same thing, where there’s maybe, let’s say, 20 key tasks that they have to complete, but the last 5 tasks in the western region may not be the same as the east, or maybe different in South America versus North America. I don’t know if you have something to add there.

Bryan: What you just described is exactly right. One of the large companies I worked with was a global company, so I might be helping in a factory in China to implement safety, or in Mexico, or here in the U.S. What I love about it, like you’re talking about, Mark, with mobile devices, is—we can have the device do the filtering for us, so it can be programmed to where all the correct protocols are in place, so the information that is needed for that region or area happens, and the person that is actually filling out or gathering the information isn’t concerned with it, because it’s been taken care of for them. So again, mobile devices can really provide the solution of taking care of this ahead of time, to where the person who’s just concerned with making sure that the right safety protocols and information is collected doesn’t have to worry about it, because it’s already been taken care of by the software. Again, the heavy lifting’s been done for them.

Mark: Excellent. I agree. As the technology guy, I’m trying to think how people are managing this without technology. It must be—

Bryan: Oh, it’s horrible. It really is. Again, we can make an assumption that our world is going to get more complex, not less. And we really crossed worlds from one problem to another, where, say, 20 or 30 years ago, a problem might be ignorance. We don’t know something. The problem today has flipped to the other side of the coin, where we have too much information, so we need good filters and better ways to control the information. And without mobile technology, it’s going to be very difficult to do that, and very labor intense, if you’re going to do it all hands-on.

Mark: Yes, agreed. I thought this one was very interesting, as well, because I think, Bryan, you as a health and safety executive with a large global brand—you fully understood the most minor processes that were done in the field—and when I say minor, that’s perceived as minor by someone who says, “Oh, I have to go through this checklist before I start my day”—to more comprehensive, let’s say, monthly, weekly, quarterly safety inspections, you name it. The executives on this call have a global view of who the stakeholders are and who needs access to what information. Sometimes people in the field don’t always know what happens to the information they collect, and sometimes they collect something, and they may not know how important it is, like if they find an issue and they say, “Oh, well, from their perspective, it’s important, but is this a proverbial showstopper? Is this going to shut down the job site? I don’t think so. I’ll submit it when I get back to Starbucks to type it up.”

Knowing how information is sent the old-fashioned way, if there’s email attachments or faxes or paper moving from someone’s desk by courier to another person’s desk in a different city, you name it, I’d like maybe your feedback and perspective on some of those topics about getting the right information to the right people and how important that is, from the context of a health and safety executive. I guess, before I hand it off to you, there must be a lot of anxiety, being a laggard today, knowing that more and more companies are progressively making the move, that speed and quality and access to information and making sure the right people know at the right time is so crucial. What are your views, in terms of what you’ve seen over the last recent years on technology and the key importance of getting the right info to the right people?

Bryan: This is so important. When I deal with companies, and I’m looking at their health and safety, or just productivity in general, I am more apt to find a problem in their communication and information flow that is causing trouble, more than I am to find problems anywhere else. The information flow is like the blood in our veins. When it stops flowing, we have a problem. And that’s what happens when dealing with productivity or health and safety. Collecting good information is very important, but if it doesn’t get where it needs to be quickly, then that information really doesn’t do us any good. And the truth is, when we’re dealing with environmental health and safety, your competence and professionalism is largely based on accuracy and how quickly you respond to things. You need to be showing a sense of urgency.

So, once again, if you’re dealing with it in terms of paper, where you have to wait for someone to fill out one or several forms, then going with my experience, we’ll say on one of the sites I work with, “If there’s an accident or an incident, the person who was involved with it would fill out the form.” Then it would maybe go to a supervisor, then go to, say, the shop, if something had to be fabricated, then bounce back to a manager, then okay by me—there’s all these paths that it has to take. And based on the incident, be it a chemical spill or a mechanical failure, the paths are different.

Again, mobile technology really lends itself to be pre-programmed to do the heavy lifting for us, so that, if it’s not there, the potential for a bottleneck to be created and for all our efforts to come to a standstill is very real.

Mark: I’m wondering—again, this is why I love having you on the call here, because I have assumptions from the technology perspective and some of the discussions we have with other customers, but I’m never sure—are they anecdotal? Or are they things that happen too often? We’ve heard from a few customers, and I can only imagine, that an employee is on a job site—they might be a heavy equipment operator, they might be a job site supervisor—and as I said at the beginning, safety is a part of their job, an important part, but it’s not their only job. They might do an assessment, fill out a form, and fill out everything exactly they have to fill out, but not understand the repercussions of the information they’ve just collected. So, they either don’t share it with an individual immediately, or at all, and it only becomes an issue when something regrettably severe happens. What’s your view on that? And what have you seen in your life in that kind of context?

Bryan: I think your comments are right on in that the average employee is concerned about getting the job done that they were hired to do. So, when they arrive at their work site, it doesn’t matter if they’re doing mechanical work, landscaping, or construction. Their thoughts are on getting the work done, and safety takes up a small portion. As part of their job, they might have to do, like you said, a safety inspection of equipment or the environment or whatever. But it’s just a task, in their mind, that they have to do before they can get on with their real work. Part of what safety professionals are always trying to do is integrate, seamlessly, safety activities as a good way of working, to where we up the relevance of it and the value.

I think mobile devices are great in doing that, in that, if the person, let’s say, is using an iPad, and they do their equipment inspection, they hit the button, and it goes off. And if, say, they flag a problem with it, “Hey, I have this issue,” and within 5 minutes, they get a response from someone on the other end that goes, “Okay, you need to do this or do that,” that is so much more proactive than some form that they’re going to fill out to turn in the next day.

So, I think you can have closed-loop systems that help the importance of everything they do, because let’s face it. Everything works in a loop of information, so that, if there’s no loop, again, they fill out that piece of paper, and even though they might have something important on it, they don’t hear a response to it until days later. It’s just not that important to them. But now, with that mobile device, they can actually get into a conversation. They can take a picture of something, send it off, and the importance level is magnified tremendously.

Mark: I agree. I’m being sensitive to time now, so I’m going to jump into this one. Routing information—of course, it doesn’t just go to people. There are business systems, as well, right? I think we, as a company, are very lucky to have such a diverse mix of companies in different types of industries and businesses, and of course, with that comes—they have different types of back-end systems, cloud systems, storage systems, operating systems—there’s lots of stuff out there. So, the complexity technology companies deal with is being able to connect and route data, either for storage and/or integrate that data with other information. I think the example you gave was perfect. If I’m at a construction job site, my safety checklist could be connected to a work order and a timesheet. It could be if I’m delivering something related to—it could be a vehicle inspection I do at the beginning of the day to make sure that the vehicle is safe to operate and drive. But that could also be connected to other business information.

From our perspective, we always look at health and safety in the context of, “Why is the person doing that task?” And it’s almost always related to either a manufacturing task, a transportation task, some sort of surface work being done, operating a piece of equipment, you name it. The other thing that we hear is—and we see this a lot in heavier industries, like the energy industry—companies providing services to, let’s say, the oil and gas industry. The customer wants access to not only see the work that was completed, in what location, at what time, but also, “Were health and safety compliances met when those services were delivered?”

Now, I’ll just toss it over to you, Bryan. How did you work with your peers in operations or manufacturing, whatever, to merge this information, when you guys are working in different worlds, and that information, if it’s not collected on the same device at the same time, must be difficult to merge back together?

Bryan: Right, you’re absolutely right. When you gather information—let’s say I get together a piece of information, inspection on a piece of equipment. That information means different things to different people. If I’m a maintenance guy responsible for equipment, it’s going to mean something different to me than if I were the health and safety manager or a supervisor for the area. So, for us, it was filling out the forms, and what we would do was, I would often be the person to manually put that information into different databases, to where then the various people could look at it from their perspective and then do what they needed to do, which, again, is very labor intense. And if I lag at all between gathering the information and putting it into the databases, then I have people calling me, wanting the information. So, again, a mobile device would have made my job so much easier, in that it would do all that heavy lifting for me. I collect the information, which I have to do anyway, or the employee does, and then, with the push of a button, the protocols are set to send it to the people that need it.

One of the problems that happens with safety, I’ll say—say with an accident investigation or incident investigations—not only are there different groups of people that need the information, but based on the incident itself, there might be many systems and protocols that need to be called into play, such as if the incident involves, say, confined space permits, bloodborne pathogens, hot work permits, respiratory protection programs, hearing protection, an environmental spill. It can get really complex, and I think the mobile device is probably the best filter to ensure that the information gets where it needs to get.

Mark: Excellent, yes, good points. If you are a health and safety professional, and you’ve not yet taken the step to deploy, these are important things that they need to consider, again, how you collect data, how you transmit it, who it gets routed to, where it gets stored, and the last one, before we’re going to wrap up—we just have a couple more slides, and we’re going to wrap up. This is the last interactive slide. It’s probably the most important one in that chain of collecting that information and then routing it and sharing it and storing it. It’s using it. Information is power, if you can identify trends, down to a regional level, or imagine being able to click down and drill down to a site level or a workgroup level or individual to see where you’re facing compliance issues—imagine that power.

Now, again, being the tech guy, I feel like I’m belaboring this, but I’m trying to think, in the old world—in our world, being able to access and click and see, in beautiful bar charts and pie charts, where you’re compliant, where you’re not, where you’re struggling, where there are hot areas that you need to respond and improve either training or processes, but collecting all of this diverse information in the old-fashioned way, then being able to digest it, report it, share it with either partners, customers, executives, or even yourself, as in a safety executive, to improve your processes and improve your performance of safety, must be very difficult.

Maybe we’ll keep this one short, but if you have a little bit of feedback on the new world of analytics versus the old world, I’d love to hear your perspective on it.

Bryan: Actually, this point here is so important, because I think, as Jamie mentioned, one of the sites I was with, within a year—we took one of the worst global factories for safety and turned it into one of the best, where it ended up getting a global safety award with a company two years later. One of the main ways we did this was by using a lot of dashboards, showing where we were with safety. All the information we gather has to influence behavior, and the way we do that is by making it easy for people to find.

For anything to be successful in business, and really drive behavior, it has to meet three features, three characteristics. It has to be simple, direct, and engaging. And when you have this information like this, that’s easy for people to find, in terms of what accidents are happening, how many OSHA reportables there are, what areas are having accidents, it becomes like a scoreboard on a soccer field. You remove that scoreboard, you no longer have a game—you simply have practice.

The best way to influence behavior—again, to hit on those factors of simplicity, directness, and engagement—is to have this information to where it’s really easy to find, and it’s out there for the people that need to use it to see it. Knowledge is definitely power. When employees know what’s important to management by what management is broadcasting, then they know how to act. And if that’s on safety, then they know safety is truly important.

Mark: Yes, great points, and I think that your example that you lived through, in being able to turn around safety standards—you can only do that with information. Trying to make it work doesn’t cut it today. You were able to work through it. Just imagine, today, having the capabilities of being able to be sitting at home, Saturday afternoon, with your iPad, on your couch, and be able to check your compliance levels nationally. That’s a whole different world.

Bryan: And I admit I’m jealous. I think the company was starting to look at mobile devices when I left to start my own business, and I was really excited for them. I saw the potential. I think it would have made my life so much easier. I’m jealous.

Mark: I’m going to segue now into just a couple of slides before we open it up for questions and answers. And I see people have been typing in questions. We’ll prioritize the ones that people have been putting in, but please feel free to ask questions.

Real quick, again, Apple was so kind to co-sponsor this webinar. The vast majority of our customers use iOS devices out in the field. Why? Great power—these are cutting edge. They use the latest, greatest, most powerful mobile chips on their devices. Rich media inputs—that means front-facing cameras, rear-facing cameras, the ability to draw on, sketch, take photos, add audio notes to any type of record that you’re collecting out in the field, include video instructions, so imagine you’re publishing a new safety form, and you may want to make sure it’s abundantly clear how to use this form. You could append a YouTube video to explain how it works. And of course, king is usability. I have to say I love iOS devices, because customers adopt, use, and have less challenges, in terms of getting the app and device up and running really quick, because Apple just is a really friendly, easy-to-use interface.

And of course, not all jobs require an iPhone. Sometimes you want an iPad Mini. Sometimes you’re working in front of customers. We have customers doing landscaping proposals, and they use the iPad Pro with that big screen, and they can actually do a nice proposal in front of the customer. Having that ability to choose diverse devices is a great thing.

Just very quickly, on our website, we have phenomenal use cases from customers who put their name and their company name in a story that talks about their great experiences working with us. We’re very proud about that. We’re honored to have them tell their story, and we know there’s a great responsibility when a company provides some sort of testimonial, in explaining how they’ve used your product, either from a health and safety perspective, or improving their operations. I’m not going to labor through these. Anyone who’s interested—we have videos. We have white papers. You just go to our website. Jamie, I’ll kick it back to you, and we’ll open it up to questions.

Jamie: All right, thank you, guys. Yeah, we have quite a few here. First question is from Jason, and he reads, “Data management requires”—oh, sorry, this is Ogden. “Data management requires a very secure protocol to keep information safe, but also ensure no data loss or leak happens. What are the recommendations with regards to mobility?”

Mark: That’s a great question. Particularly health and safety professionals, unquestionably, are collecting very sensitive data. First and foremost, what you’re going to want to look for in a solution is—you’re going to want data encryption on the device. You’re going to want data encryption in transit, so after you collect that information, once you send it, it’s encrypted while it’s being transmitted. You’re going to want encryption in the areas that you decide to store that data. There are different types of solutions out there. I’m not going to go deep into ours. I’m just talking best practices—encryption right across the board. Next thing is, you’re going to want the—I’ll call it, no-code customizability—to be able to restrict what an employee has access to once he collects certain information. You don’t want them either printing, making copies, or going back to show it to their friends, or whatever, so in many mobile solutions, once a task is complete and it’s submitted, you can organize, as an administrator, to hide the Sent box, so they can’t go back and look at it later.

Last but not least, there are certain companies that have requirements for mobile device management, so it provides additional security on the device. There are many different companies out there. AirWatch is one. Mobile Iron is another. There are different types of solutions that provide an additional ability to administrate those devices by a corporate administrator and provide another layer of security on the device, beyond encryption.

Jamie: Great. Thanks for that. Following up here, Steven has a question. “Hi, there. Can the software work for a single person acting as a safety officer, calling on multiple types of customers?”

Mark: Yes, it can. As I said, we have some very small customers that—I’ll call them small family businesses, if you wish—that use our solution, all the way through to multinationals, like Shell, as an example of a customer, as well, that uses our solution for health and safety. By all means, yes, you can, and we even have libraries of different types of health and safety forms. Think of it almost like PowerPoint. If you want to start with a template and then edit it, you can do it. And you can create different forms for different customers, and you can create routing of information that’s unique to different customers related to every single form. So, yes, the answer is definitely yes.

Jamie: Great, thank you, Mark. A follow-up question from Ogden—“I assume you would recommend no Excel sheets for data collection practices. I believe it’s not practical and prone to many flaws.”

Mark: Yeah, definitely not. The beauty of our solution is that you can always export it to an Excel sheet afterwards, so if you’re familiar, and you want to share it internally via Excel, by all means. But collecting information on Excel is, I would say, a modest step up from paper. It’s not really to be used for that type of task. And just think about some of the topics we discussed, in terms of either routing the data, being able to contextually share it, being able then to report in a more sophisticated way and trend—some of those things, at best, would be possible. But I recommend you use technology that’s designed for this, and then enjoy your weekends off with your family, versus doing spreadsheets in Excel.

Jamie: All right, thank you for that, Mark. Sorry, I might have some audio issues here. A question coming in from Jason—“Switching from paper would be a big change for us. How do you recommend we deal with this resistance to change?”

Mark: I would say, first of all, good question. I will not lie. Every single organization that came to us—it was, I would say, almost 99% of our customers—it’s the first time they’re introducing mobility into key processes, health and safety or other. Change management is important. You have to have a plan for it. And you really want to get support from the top down and the bottom up. And the bottom-up—the best way to do it is do it inclusive. You do a proof of concept. This is something we strongly recommend, and we do it with medium-sized and large customers, as well, where you say, “Hey, I’m going to take a smaller group. I’m going to take some people who are open to using technology, and we’re going to get them to participate in trying this solution out in the field.” And then, you basically come back with the metrics that show the improved speed, the accuracy. And that helps convince, of course, the leadership, as well as the team out in the field, who starts to see that, not only is it more efficient, or are they doing it more effectively, but they’re also doing it more quickly. That’s what we find. In the end, they’re happy, because they get the task done not only better, but quicker. We have some experience in that from the technology side, and we’d be very happy in additional conversations to help out. But I would say top-down, bottom-up, be inclusive. That’s the best way to go about it.

Jamie: OK, next question here—actually, there’s a few along the same lines here. We’ll start with—thank you, Rick—“What is the average cost? Where do I get it? Can it be a link sent to me?”

Mark: Cost-wise, our solution starts at $25 per mobile user per month. And again, we have case studies and white papers of different customers of different sizes that are using it. The return on investment is very clear. People realize a return on investment, just from an overall productivity, as well as quality of information that the organization has access to. Literally, once it’s deployed, this is not something that takes years for payback. In terms of—if I understood the question correctly—how does someone get a form? The forms can be dispatched and/or, based on the groups of users that you organize, the forms automatically appear in the device of the user. It literally takes two seconds for the forms to populate into the device. And like I said, you can create multiple groups, and each group can have different types of forms.

Jamie: Okay, we’re almost at the end, but we’ll do one more question from Steven. I see there’s a few of you with outstanding questions, so we’ll have Mark follow up with you right after the presentation here, or soon after. Steven asks, “For being a single person acting as a safety officer, are there generic forms already developed that we can use? Or do we start from scratch for recognized industries, such as a construction site?”

Mark: By all means, we do have a library. These are forms that we’ve created. We, of course, don’t make any customers’ forms available. But we do have templates that can be used, I’ll say, right out of the box, if you wish, proverbially, and/or you can edit those. I use the analogy I did earlier about anyone who’s familiar with PowerPoint, and you say, “Hey, I’d like to start from a template.” And that’s how it works. When you launch our form builder on your computer, you basically have three options, which is import a form from the library, start from a blank, or start from a template, so very much like PowerPoint—not too complicated. And of course, depending on the size of the organization, a lot of safety people say, “I’m a safety person. You know what? I don’t fix my own car. I don’t paint my own house. I hire people to do it.” We can actually be the professionals that put together the forms, based on your needs and requirements, as well. That option is available. Of course, there are paid services for that. We do charge. But in many cases, customers choose to go that route, because they’re saying, “I’ll stick with safety. You guys get the system up and running for us,” and everyone’s happy.

Jamie: All right, well, with that, we’ll wrap it up there. Apologies to the questions that didn’t get answered. I’ve passed your information on to Mark already, so he can follow up. Really, really huge thanks to Mark and to Bryan and to ProntoForms for sponsoring the webinar, and to everyone that attended. I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day.

And just a reminder—we will be sending out the link to both the recording and the slides in just a couple of days. So, with that, you have a great day, a safe day. Thanks again. Take care, and we’ll see you on the next one.

Bryan: Thanks, everyone. Bye.

Mark: Thanks.

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Written by Jacinta Sarpkaya

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Jacinta joined ProntoForms in 2014 as a Technical Documentation Writer with a keen interest in business processes. After earning her BA Honors from University of Toronto, her time working in service introduced her to health and safety regulations.
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