Safety in confined spaces can be a complex and dangerous operation, especially within the mining, construction, and manufacturing industries. So complex, that it’s not uncommon to hire third party specialists to avoid the hazards of performing confined space work internally.
A recent case from one of our clients explains how leveraging Sofvie’s health and safety software has successfully streamlined the entire process while simultaneously reducing administrative production hours.
This confined space task involved a first-time confined space worker who is somewhat new to sofvie, and few common risk management factors:
Confirming appropriate training and certifications for the task at hand
Training records management is an important part of every health and safety framework. Certification indicates who can (and who cannot) perform certain tasks and work with specific equipment, allowing production to proceed with due diligence and safety intact.
Before: Retrieving and confirming certification statuses using a paper-based system can be cumbersome. Typically, records are stored on a hard drive or in a filing cabinet. Not only are they difficult to locate and look up records to create a training matrix, they are often invalid, leaving workers rushing to update their certification status.
After: All certification records are centrally located with easy lookup tools for immediate answers to training records questions. Automated reminders send individual reminders to renew training, ensuring that certification is always current. This produces a 90% reduction of administrative time when managing records and empowers workers to provide digital proof of certification in real time. This is a significant advantage when creating a training matrix. The status of qualified individuals is always up to date as is your working plan
Hot work (welding) permits
Hot work is inherently risky. Flames, flammable gases, fumes, and low visibility.
Part of your health and safety framework involves the creation of a hot work permit, which outlines the job and the safety controls that are put in place. The accuracy of this document is critical in regards to due diligence, audits, incident investigations, and creating stronger controls for similar operations.
Before: When speaking with health and safety supervisors, we often hear that forms like hot work permits are incomplete and/or illegible. Environmental issues surrounding Hot work create a difficult scenario to filling out this piece of paperwork in the field because it is usually hot, wet, and messy. Basic information is usually present, but due diligence suffers.
After: Sofvie provides standardized forms with required fields. The app also avails customizable forms so that unique workflows can be accommodated. This results in the submission of consistent data.. It also results in this information being very easily retrieved when needed.
Performing a pre-operation safety check
Pre-ops exist for 2 main reasons. The first is to protect human life. Taking the time to ensure that the environment or equipment being worked on/in is safe can very easily prevent personal harm. The second reason is to keep production moving. Identifying issues early often prevents more costly repairs down the road and keeps your equipment in good working order.
Before: The biggest obstacle that workers and health and safety professionals encounter is running out of space on paper reports. Often, the amount of information available exceeds a piece of paper’s available space. This means the frontline workers have to compromise, which is never good for health and safety.
This is especially problematic because, by law, businesses are required to keep the 7 most recent records of confined space work. If records don’t survive, liabilities may be an issue.
After: As with all of Sofvie’s other forms and reports, gathering information is simplified. Drop downs and required fields prompt workers for accurate, complete information. It also allows for as many details as you like and provides the opportunity to include photos to provide even further context.
Creating a practical, reliable confined space rescue plan
Working in confined spaces is a risk. There are countless ways that workers can get stuck in tight spaces, and a reliable rescue plan is needed before work can begin. Creating a rescue plan can be simple or it can be complicated. Either way, it has to be accurate and it has to be reliable.
Before: Every confined space task is unique, meaning that every rescue plan has to be equally unique. Manually created a rescue plan leaves room for human error. Steps can be skipped and details can be omitted.
After: Sofvie provides templated rescue plans so that you never have to start from scratch. Each plan can be created with drop down options in a standardized format with required fields. With Sofvie as your trusted in-field companion, steps are guided so they will not be skipped and critical information therefore will not be overlooked. All of this can be created within a matter of minutes, accurately and reliably. To clarify things even further, editable photographs are available to document the Rescue Plan in real time. Instructing people with words can be effective, but not nearly as effective as physically showing people the proper steps to a rescue plan.
Retrieve records for future audits and reviews
Retrieving and analyzing health and safety data can be cumbersome, especially when having to report to a third party. Traditionally, records are stored in filing cabinets, servers, boxes, binders, and strewn across multiple work sites. They are difficult to locate and even more difficult to contextualize to other documents.
Before: All of the records mentioned above typically go through a scanning process and then saved to a server. Because of the condition of the data being entered and antiquated filing conventions, that’s pretty much where they will stay unless an incident investigation calls for them.
After: All of your health and safety data is centrally located within Sofvie. It’s also digitally attached to the individual, site, project, and piece of equipment being worked on, making it easy to retrieve and analyze. This data also contributes to analytics dashboards, allowing health and safety professionals to interpret trends and to create preventative controls.
“Sofvie is very easy to use, very clean. I would like to see time fields be auto-filled since it’s a real-time task. Aside from that I love that forms cannot be submitted if they aren’t 100% filled out. No room for error means no accidental risks. 3 of the forms used within Sofvie (rescue plan, risk assessment, and activity log) replaced 6 pieces of paper. You never run out of room on the digital form which is an asset because details are no longer lost. This feature allowed for more accurate air quality test results and time in/out for workers. Being standardised enables better long term control planning.I even got an ‘attaboy’ from my manager for having such a clean workspace”
- First time confined space sofvie user
You’ll notice that, every step of the way, Sofvie introduces administrative efficiencies, more thorough health and safety practices by individuals, and cleaner, more meaningful data collected in the field.
The last benefit is where Sofvie shines. Both on paper and with other health and safety software, achieving frontline adoption is problematic. In both cases, the frontline often views reporting health and safety data as an obstacle to productivity and simply ‘check off boxes’ to get the task out of the way.
While Sofvie’s health and safety software which is designed to prevent injuries and to save lives, there are business benefits that simply cannot be ignored. Switching from paper to digital takes a little planning and effort but once you do, you’ll notice a variety of operational cost decreases, far less demand for administrative hours and less downtime.