Future of Safety Blog

Excel And Paper Are Not The Safest Solutions

If your company has been avoiding a change from paper or excel to cloud-based health and safety technology, keep reading. Often companies find a process that works “good enough” and think changing it is too costly and without value. When it comes to protecting your workforce and your bottomline, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sticking to paper, PDF, or Excel-based audits, near-miss reports, incident investigations, hazard reports, observations, training logs, and more could mean your organization is missing out on the benefits that modern, cloud-based safety and quality management software can provide – and it doesn’t have to be expensive, either!

Here are just a few of the reasons that Excel, paper, and PDFs may be working against you:

1. Data is stale and often incomplete

Records kept in folders and spreadsheets inherently becomes out of date by the very nature of the medium itself. If training requirements change, an employees training record may not alert you they are out of compliance. Incident reports are often delivered unfinalized, and even if they are “final” new root causes and corrective actions can be thought of later, leaving an incident report outdated and not useful. Audits can often be hours or days old by the time the worker can get the paperwork in and sent to the right people. Changes to forms often don’t reach the right people at the right time and old, outdated forms are used for weeks if not months before controlled.

2. Significant administrative burdens

It’s 2018, you know. Safety supervisors shouldn’t have to waste hours printing audit forms, writing up corrective actions, taking pictures and printing them off, stapling them to the back of the audit, only to have to scan everything in to e-mail to someone. The large amount of hours wasted on administrative tasks like this can be very surprising. Often, the data needs to change and you’re stuck manipulating broken spreadsheets and creating fillable forms, wrestling with old software until you finally get it to work the way you want it to.

3. Where are the reports?

If your organization is following today’s recommended safety practices, you’re collecting a lot of data. Audits, Incidents, Near Misses, Training, you name it. Compiling reports from multiple paper sources like spreadsheets or PDFs takes far more time than it needs to. Not only are these items hard to find, they can often be lost or misplaced forever. If you’re spending hours or days compiling a training compliance report or deciphering non-conformance data from your audits, consider a digital solution that can build these reports for you in realtime. Instead of spending your time compiling reports, you are free to focus on higher value, higher return tasks.

4. Lack of communication and delegation

With Excel or paper-based safety data, delegating record creation to supervisors and workers becomes very difficult. You may find yourself spending time entering data into your spreadsheet from a worker’s paper-based near miss report, instead of simply being able to access it in a software application in realtime. Encouraging workers to participate and engage with your safety program and build a stronger safety culture is much easier if they have access to the tools and forms they need right directly from their phone or computer.

5. Standardization across sites

Keeping track of Excel and paper forms across multiple sites can definitely be a nightmare and a time-sink. With digital health and safety solutions, you can keep your audit, training, and incident records in sync and standard across all of your locations. Not having to rely on management at multiple locations to keep their files up-to-date with other locations can save significant amounts of time and effort across the board, resulting in a far more compliant workforce.

Still stuck with Excel and looking for something better?

SafetyAmp is a cloud-based safety and quality management system that works on all devices. Using a system like this can alleviate the headaches health and safety teams get from using outdated Excel and paper-based processes. Click here to learn more or request a demo today.


Chris Gillis

Chris is a seasoned technologist, having built products at multiple startups across the country. Currently based in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, he is passionate about health, safety, and technology. Chris hopes to help organizations prevent incidents, engage their workforce, and achieve their safety, quality, and compliance goals.

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