EHS Trends, Challenges and Technologies facing South Africa – an OVS Solutions Leadership Perspective

Despite the economic and political challenges South Africa faces, the Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) laws and regulations in the country continue to grow at a rapid rate.In the last few years, South Africa has increased its regulatory framework and structures to address increasing EHS incidents and concerns. The influence of international laws, the use of real-time technology, globalisation, public pressure and ever increasing use of systems to identify accountability of employees are all contributing factors.   

If your business is to keep pace and not be exposed to unnecessary EHS and financial risk, it is important these trends, technologies and challenges are understood!

  • Trends
    1. More and more money is required to be spent to ensure EHS compliance.  According to a recent survey, 42% of all EHS directors will increase their spending on EHS technology, to allow them to prioritise worker safety and keep pace with compliance requirements.
    2. According to Andrew Sharman, best-selling author, “up to 80% of work roles as we currently know them will vanish in the next 2 years”.  As industries change and adapt to this new technological age, so the Organisations EHS requirements will constantly change. Leadership is under increasing pressure to keep pace with this this variable landscape, whilst doing so economically and effectively.
    3. Behaviour based safety will be embraced and driven.  Whilst this concept has been understood for many years, the use of software makes the theory a practical reality.
    4. High reliance is being placed on predictive analysis and prevention.  This ensures that costs are contained and workers are kept safe, however real-time EHS software is the only way to ensure this happens.  As we all know, embedding a culture through a business takes continued drive from the top down.
    5. More onerous record keeping and submission rules will be required from regulators.  Regulators are increasingly automating their reporting and recording processes, requiring organisations and employers to submit data electronically and automatically tracking the performance and quality of submissions.  Organisations are going to need their own electronic solutions if they are to keep pace.

‘We have seen a marked increase in the demand for EHS software over the past 3 years driven by the need to ensure accuracy of data and access to real time information, allowing managers to react timeously and to attend to issues as they arise’- Raymond Moussa.

  • Challenges
    1. The increasingly regulatory climate and inconsistent enforcement by South African government has continued to place a huge financial burden on organisations.  EHS managers have to work hard to keep up with requirements and even harder to ensure they are implemented successfully & sustainably.
    2. In many organisations senior management commit to EHS compliance but do not supply the funding or resource needed to ensure it is implemented and reinforced. This increases the risk of both top management, who make promises that aren’t delivered to their shareholders, and increases the frustration of the EHS staff, who must deliver without the necessary tools.
    3. Higher focus is being placed on the increasing stress levels of the workforce.  Workforce days lost due to high stress levels cost a fortune and it is expected that these numbers will continue to increase.
    4. The software and technology available to assist with EHS management becomes ever more proficient and, if used properly, will increase compliance, reduce risk and the cost of EHS.  Organisations embracing these solutions will gain a significant competitive advantage. Use of these solutions will become a necessity if organisations are going to remain competitive.  

According to Renee Kirkham, CEO of award winning Rapid Global EHS software solutions, “It is our experience that our clients who are effectively managing their EHS, with full commitment from the executive right the way down the chain, increase profits.  Proactive EHS management can significantly save costs (insurance costs included). The ability to demonstrate commitment also allows our clients to attract a wider network of applicants for job, who are more and more demanding workplace health and safety.  The improved market perception of our clients also enables them to secure additional revenue, as tough economic environments drives organisations to trade with suppliers and service providers who can give them competitive solutions”.

  • Technology
    1. Mobile Apps for EHS management, especially for audit and incident management are on the top of the list of emerging technologies of interest in 2018.  In fact EHS software is expected to become one of the most high growth software sectors for the 2018/2019 years. The use of Apps that enable you to report, monitor and track compliance from your smartphone is becoming part of the normal working day.
    2. EHS directors are accepting the private cloud based software solutions as the best an optimal option for EHS deployment solutions.
    3. Standardising procedures and policies is considered the only way to ensure optimal EHS performance.  The use of software and technology is considered the most economical, time effective and conclusive way to implement this.
    4. The increasing skill required to deploy an effective EHS strategy is becoming scarce and costly. The use of software can reduce this cost and increase compliance significantly.

‘Our Mobile Apps have provided our clients with a ability to access critical information in the field and enabled them to capture, report and communicate any EHS related activity remotely, effectively reducing administration time and paperwork, while providing real-time access to information. This has allowed our clients to become proactive rather than reactive and assisted in increasing productivity’- Raymond Moussa.

Conclusion

Companies like OVS Solutions (Pty) Ltd, the Africa Licensee of the award winning Rapid Global Software, have been delivering EHS software solutions for over 15 years.  Their only business is the continued development and improvement of their software, to make sure that the solutions keep pace with the ever changing landscape. They have used the learning of over 1 million users world wide to develop a product that speaks to an organizations EHS needs.  Login to https://rapidglobal.co.za/rapid-service/ to see what their solutions offer.

OVS Solutions, the Africa Licensee of Rapid Global, also have a great support team who are available to assist with live demonstrations, user guides and relevant information you may require.

A great example of a company that has enjoyed significant compliance improvement and related cost savings is SCT Logistics – who chose the Rapid Global Software solutions to meet their needs.  Read the case study on https://rapidglobal.co.za/case-studies/sct-logistics/.