Using Rich Media to Enhance EHS Reporting

By Colin Johnstone
Last updated: November 8, 2016
Presented by ProntoForms
Key Takeaways

The rich media captured by photos, audio recordings, GPS positioning, and time stamps can improve EHS reporting and enhance workplace safety.


Leading mobile forms solutions are more than just paper forms gone mobile—they improve the quality and depth of data collected by field workers across a wide array of industries. These solutions allow safety professional to capture rich media, which can include anything from photos and audio recordings to GPS positioning and time stamps. This advanced technology adds a higher level of detail to your Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) reporting.

This article will cover the basics of rich media in EHS reporting and the benefits you can derive from making use of it.


Rich Media Is in High Demand Among the Pros

A 2016 survey conducted by BLR revealed that the majority of EHS professionals would like rich media included in their forms. 55.7% of participants indicate that they favor photos, while 35.5% favor signatures. Still, 30.9% of safety professionals report that they don’t believe they need to implement rich media in their forms. But they should. Quality, nuanced data helps you secure compliance, while sub-par data leaves you vulnerable to potentially devastating risks—both in terms of business costs and human costs.

Capturing Site Photos for Greater Insight into Inspections

Sometimes, only a picture can fully convey the issues and concerns that are found during a site or equipment inspection. Words simply may not be able to fully articulate a problem.

Leading mobile forms solutions allow your field inspectors to capture photos of job sites or faulty equipment. Some solutions allow users to then sketch on and annotate those captured photos, so inspectors can easily pinpoint areas of concern. The final image is automatically embedded in the mobile inspection form, eliminating the inconvenience of attaching files separately in emails or printing out photos and physically attach them to paper forms.


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Collecting Signatures on Mobile Devices

Your EHS teams may need to confirm that inspections were performed, that equipment has been repaired or noted as broken, or that field staff have undergone safety training. If regulators visit your job site, they need to see confirmation that compliance procedures have been followed.

Equipped with mobile platforms, EHS professionals can sign off on performed work right on the device using the touch screen—no pen required.

Gauging Equipment Health with Audio Recordings

There are some safety issues that even a photo can’t fully convey. If a piece of machinery is making strange noises, diagnosing the problem can be quite difficult if the inspection form only notes that “The asset is making a ‘kathunk-kathunk-blam’ sound.”

Rich media capabilities allow inspectors to capture audio recordings for added depth and then automatically embed the file into an inspection form for later review. Rich media empowers you to transform asset management. Properly gauging and monitoring equipment health is crucial to extending asset uptime and lifespan.

Confirming Site Visits with GPS and Time Stamps

GPS positioning and time stamps offer a quick and simple way to verify the location and time of completed work. These features provide an extra level of assurance—to yourself and the auditors—that vital EHS data was, in fact, collected at the appropriate and relevant site.

GPS and time stamps can tag photos and other rich media to confirm that the data was collected on one site and not another. You can configure GPS settings to tag the first and last pages of a form to confirm the location and time of EHS staff at different stages of the data collection process. If your EHS teams are visiting multiple sites throughout the day, GPS and time stamps can effectively map their work, showing the progression of travel.


The basic, paper-based documentation systems still used by many safety professionals were developed at a time when producing rich media was expensive and cumbersome. Now that smartphones and tablets have made photographic, audio recording, and GPS technologies ubiquitous and pocket-sized, there is simply no reason not to use them to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of workplace EHS reporting.

Rich data drives intelligent business decisions, empowering organizations to perform their most important task: safeguarding workers, customers, and the environment.

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Written by Colin Johnstone

Colin Johnstone
As a Marketing Writer at ProntoForms, Colin is responsible for writing informative and engaging content about the opportunities presented by deploying mobile solutions in the workplace. Much of his work concerns how these solutions empower environmental, health & safety professionals to achieve increased levels of compliance.

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