Volume, variety, velocity — the fabled 3Vs — are the defining properties of big data. This makes it imperative that any big data management platform can handle these 3Vs successfully and with aplomb. One of the best ways to handle the demands of big data is with EHS software.
Big data in this case refers to combining multiple data sources to detect trends, patterns, and insights outside of individual data sets.
This concept is becoming more integrated with companies of all industries and sizes, from leading marketing initiatives to gauging turnover to monitoring sales and profits. But one of data’s biggest opportunities in the workplace is also one of its most underutilized: environmental, health and safety (EHS) departments.
Big Data and the EHS Environment
When most people think about big data, it’s in the context of marketing trend analysis. While harnessing the 3Vs of big data can certainly be used to lead to better marketing success, the truth is that big data analysis can be applied beneficially to nearly every environment. This includes EHS, especially in a modern setting.
Modern production, processing, and other industrial and manufacturing facilities increasingly rely on cutting-edge technologies. Smart connectivity means that each component of a facility can now monitor safety conditions in ways never thought possible just a few years prior.
Consider the last time you became aware of a major safety issue. Did you observe it yourself? Did an employee notify you about a hazard? Or did you glean it from the heaps of safety data you’ve collected over months and years?
It’s true that the human element is largely responsible for pointing out potential danger in the work environment. You rely on your team to uphold safe practices, undergo regular training, and participate in creating a strong safety culture.
On the surface, these things are relatively easy to spot. But what about the problems that occur repeatedly over time? What about the metrics outside of “outcome based” ones, like injuries and incidents? What about the potential danger that could occur from current conditions?
Lack of major incidents doesn’t mean you’re fostering a safe workplace. “Lagging” metrics like these are one of the biggest facades of safety departments because they do not fully represent your operations. That’s why many departments are relying on multiple data sources to get a realistic snapshot what they’re doing well—and what desperately needs to be improved on.
You might not realize it, but you probably already collect enough safety data to give you valuable insights. The problem doesn’t lie in lack of data—it’s how it’s collected, amassed, and used. All companies have their own forms and reports to fill out, but then what?
When collected and leveraged correctly, data can reveal great insights you never knew existed. From trends over time to predictive safety analytics, safety departments are using software solutions to get a holistic view into daily operations for the benefit of both workers and their organizations.
As a result, safety departments can better focus on “leading” safety metrics, such as those that help limit risk and enable companies to be more proactive in improving its operations.
You have the data—now it’s a matter of finding the best ways to combine it to give you the best chance of making real improvements.
EHS Software and the Big Data Connection
All the data generated by these smart devices is no good unless it’s analyzed.
High volumes of a wide variety of data need to be processed at speed in order to provide an accurate assessment of health and safety conditions, both before and after any safety incidents. This is why an EHS software platform that handles the 3Vs so readily is such a major advantage to holding your company to the highest of industrial safety standards.
This means traditional safety management systems need to adapt to be able to handle these 3Vs of big data analysis efficiently and successfully. Doing so can and will make work environments much safer than they would be without relying on big data analysis. This is in your best interests, after all: a safe workplace is, of course, an efficient one.
This also means that an EHS software solution that can’t handle these 3Vs is not going to be as efficient, and that could lead to safety-related risk that could have otherwise been prevented.
The Best Tool for EHS Management
EHS management has always been complex and multi-faceted. With various hard-to-quantify variables at play, EHS teams can and do benefit from a robust platform that can process and analyze vast quantities of safety data generated by modern industrial systems.
This provides crucial support for teams as they go about the business of building a better safety culture. In fact, the faster, more robust, and more adaptable EHS software is from a big data standpoint, the higher the potential for better overall safety.
Safety management is never easy, but the right solutions that can handle the 3Vs of big data can free up an EHS department's resources to focus on building a culture of safety among workers and management alike.
With a data-focused EHS program focusing on the logistics of safety data, organizations can take a hands-on approach by interacting with workers and reinforcing safety protocols and best practices—all of which can be informed by big data analytics and developed accordingly.