'Optimising for Efficiency'

Three ways in which QHSE software can optimise efficiency for utilities industries

Utility industries are at the front line of industrial health and safety. They typically work from multiple sites and remote locations, and feature a complex mix of processes, plant, and people with many different skills and roles. Managing this from a quality, health, safety and environmental performance perspective is a huge task.

Yet it’s long been known that managing these aspects successfully can lead to improved performance and efficiencies. QHSE software applications are now at the centre of this work. Here we look at three ways QHSE software can optimise efficiency in the utilities sector:

1 Process safety improves efficiency

Utility companies have one thing in common – they need to be ‘online’ 24/7. Outages affect business performance, can attract regulatory penalties and lead to a poor reputation. Process safety integrated with asset management needs to be embedded at the heart of the business. An audit of assets and processes, including industry benchmarking, will create a start point from which KPIs can be derived. The beauty of QHSE software is that it can be configured to any set of KPIs and can evolve with the changing nature of project. QHSE software systems then provide a powerful suite of tools to collect date, measure, analyse, and direct action where it’s needed. Outages that occur because of gaps in process safety or asset management can be reduced and the business can avoid costly downtime, penalties, and maintain a good reputation in the eyes of customers.

2 Reduce consumption and waste

A recent Carbon Trust survey of large company executives found that only a third saw waste as a priority environmental area to focus on in order to compete effectively, and only a fifth had targets in place. Against this surprising statistic, it feels less like stating the obvious that reducing consumption and therefore waste reduces costs! It’s also surprising because QHSE software makes reducing waste more achievable. Dashboard-style reporting provides at a glance trends (including future predictions) on energy consumption and production output, as well as produces an audit trail for data integrity and regulatory compliance. Measured against KPIs, utilities can respond to consumption and waste issues in a more timely or even proactive manner.

3 Improve health and safety and reduce lost time

HSE’s latest statistics for 2010-2011 show 27 million working days were lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury, and it cost the UK an estimated £13.8 billion. Using QHSE software can do a lot more than report hazards and manage risk programmes – deployed correctly within a health and safety programme, it can help change behaviour. This behaviour needs to be reinforced across an organisation with ‘buy in’ from management and line managers. With behavioural change, utility companies can deliver a step-change in health and safety in the workplace and make the work process more efficient, reducing downtime and LTAs. QHSE software delivers behavioural change because it can be configured to the needs of different workers/departments and deployed to mobile devices via a web browser. Such flexibility effectively helps to empower people to take ownership of their safety and wellbeing, as well as their colleagues.

Glenn Hardy 

Lee Davies

Have you implemented QHSE software in your company? What effect has it had on process and performance, consumption and waste, and your health and safety KPIs? Let us know your thoughts.

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