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How to Become a Data-Driven EHS Pro

Posted by EHS Insight Resources on January 27, 2017 at 12:06 PM

It’s estimated that more than half of business managers in the U.S. feel pressure to become more data-driven.¹ How can you make that happen at your company? The question is especially relevant for anyone who works in EHS, an industry driven by numbers.

Making informed decisions is a crucial part of your job if you’re an EHS professional. In this profession, perhaps even more so than others, analytics is what’s fueling better safety decisions across the board.

Data gives you insight into complex processes that otherwise might not be accessible without EHS software to help you track, store, and report all the key metrics at your company.

Using Data from Your EHS Software for Making Better Decisions

The question of the day remains: how do you harness all that data for better decision-making? It’s easy to get overwhelmed. Last November, two management professors published an article in the Harvard Business Review that spoke to this common dilemma.²

Their easy-to-remember solution is called the DIET approach – here’s how it goes.

Step One: Define 

First, define your problem before you begin sifting through your data. Explore your problem from different angles so when you do begin creating reports to search for answers, your data search is more focused.

Step Two: Integrate

With a clear definition of your problem and a focused search for the right data, the next step is to use what you find effectively. Work to see how the data and the problem fit together. Write facts on note cards and look for observable relationships.

For example, a rise in incidents after you end a long-running series of toolbox talks, or a drop in productivity caused by machinery breakdowns can show causal relationships. Build your facts and then look for relationships.

Step Three: Explore

Develop the ideas you had going in, or the new ones you developed based on Step Two.

Step Four: Test

Think of which types of scenarios your proposed ideas might fail. Be sure you’re not falling prey to confirmation bias with your data.

The DIET approach may not be for every EHS professional, but it can help you understand your data so you can start preventing incidents rather than simply reacting to them.

Knowing how to manage the enormous sets of data your EHS software provides to you is the first step in improving performance so your team is safer on the job. Request a demo of EHS Insight today.

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1. Kiron, David et al. Raising the Bar with Analytics. MIT Sloan Management Review. http://sloanreview.mit.edu/projects/analytics-mandate/ 

2. Menon, Tanya and Thompson, Leigh. How to Make Better Decisions with Less Data. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2016/11/how-to-make-better-decisions-with-less-data

Topics: EHS Management, EHS Software, Workplace Health and Safety, Incident Reporting Software

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