Traditionally, when we think of health and safety manuals, we think of big, thick paper books that are crammed full with details on how employees should operate safely within their roles. However, not only are these thick manuals daunting and unappealing to read, but paper is notoriously easy to damage and can be misplaced or lost.
With technology constantly changing the way we work, employers are now calling for their bosses to invest in mobile solutions that will enable them to keep up with current health and safety legislation more easily.
Our ‘Work Safe’ report, which surveyed 2,000 employees, found that two thirds (68%) of UK workers believe their bosses should be investing in digital health and safety solutions, and that by doing so, it would make for greater safety compliance.
Complying with up-to-date health and safety practices must be a high priority for business owners – it is their legal responsibility to ensure that staff are kept safe. Yet, our research found that 13% of workers have not been given an updated version of their employee handbook since they first received it.
This is a startling finding – out-of-date health and safety materials leave employees facing an increased chance of seriously hurting themselves as they may not know how to follow the correct procedures.
Often, the reason why many employee handbooks are out-of-date comes down to an over-reliance on paper. Paper-based operations manuals are not only time consuming to update and distribute when new legislation is released, but they’re also expensive to produce.
However, it isn’t just business owners who are failing to be health and safety compliant. In fact, almost half (43%) of employees are failing to read their health and safety policies, even when their employer has provided them. As a result, we found that almost a fifth (17%) of employees have knowingly put themselves in danger by failing to read their health and safety information.
With paper employee handbooks an unreliable method of managing employee wellbeing, workers are now looking for bosses to invest in technology to improve health and safety standards – 64% of workers say they would be more likely to read their manuals if they were provided with a digital version.
Mobile forms provide just one solution to help businesses improve health and safety by removing their reliance on paper documents, instead swapping them for digital forms. Digital replicas of health and safety files can be created through mobile forms that can then be stored within the cloud. Cloud storage, means that digital forms provide an efficient time saving solution as they can be sent out and received almost instantaneously by all employees at the single click of a button.
Digital forms can also provide a cost effective solution, as businesses will no longer need to print out manuals, making for huge savings on paper, ink toner and printers.
As many business leaders will know, one of the biggest challenges is knowing whether employees are actually reading the health and safety guidance they’re supplied with. It is all well and good creating documents and sending them out, but how do you identify who has read them and who hasn’t?
Well, alongside saving businesses a lot of time and money when updating their health and safety policies, mobile forms can also help ensure employees are actually engaging with the safety information they are provided with. Digital forms can integrate features, such as a digital signature, to allow managers to check who has received the information and then also who has read it. And in fact, 37% of employees believe digitised versions will be more convenient to access as the documents can be opened and read via their smartphones or tablets.
Every employee has the right to feel safe at work, and every employer must abide by this and be health and safety compliant. In order to feel safer in the workplace, staff are increasingly demanding that bosses invest in technology solutions. And the benefits of doing so are far-reaching with minimal cost and time outlays.
With businesses now moving more towards a paperless office, traditional processes, like the paper-based health and safety manual, need to be adapted to not only meet ethical obligations but also the demands of the workforce.