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How Airsweb Is Using Virtual Assistants to Remove Barriers to Incident Reporting

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Author Photo
Dan Bennett
Business Development Manager EMEA
Published On
November 26, 2020
Category
BLOG

How Airsweb Is Using Virtual Assistants to Remove Barriers to Incident Reporting

Incident reporting is an effective way to maintain safe working environments. Knowing how and why injuries andnear-misses happen at work allows you to prevent them and  create a safe space for everyone.

Despite this, the incident reporting rate in the United Kingdom (UK) remains low. About 50% of workplace injuries in 2019may have not been reported, says Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR).

It may be because there are barriers that discourage people from reporting.

Common Barriers to Reporting

Some of the most common barriers to reporting are:

  • Not knowing how to report and what information to include. Environmental health and safety (EHS) staff may perfectly know this, but others may not.
  • Lack of access to incident reporting systems. This applies to workers at high-risk areas who may need to remove their personal protective equipment (PPE) to input information.  
  • Complicated incident reporting systems which take up a long time and sacrifice working hours to complete.  
  • Fear of being blamed, losing the job, and of legal repercussions.

Clearly, we need to remove these barriers and make reporting quick and easy for everyone to help organisations make better decisions to keep their employees safe in the workplace. We can do this by using innovative technology.

One specific solution is to integrate virtual assistants to your EHS management system.  

Using the Power of Virtual Assistants in EHS

A virtual assistant, also known as a chatbot, is a technology that understands human language to help a user complete tasks. Because it is powered by artificial intelligence (AI), it can understand complex questions and create sensible decisions and answers. The more you engage with a virtual assistant, the more data it collects, which it can use to improve its responses for the next interactions.

You can interact with a virtual assistant via text or voice communication. It can be used in messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and text messaging. Popular virtual assistants today include Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant.

About 78% of service organisations use virtual assistants to facilitate self-service in simple scenarios. Other common tasks they are asked to do include searching for information, taking down notes, and filling up forms.  

Because of the function and benefits that virtual assistants provide, our team of product developers at Airsweb thought of integrating this technology in EHS.

Key Features of the Airsweb Virtual Assistant

We integrated this into AVA’s frictionless reporting. We made sure that our virtual assistant has the features needed to improve incident reporting rates and EHS systems at work.

  • Ease of use It - should be quick and easy to use, despite its powerful functionality. When processes are easy, workers are more likely to use it and become more engaged.  
  • Accessible through multiple devices -It should be accessible through devices like your phone, iPad, laptop, or personal computer (PC) so you can create an incident report anytime, anywhere.  
  • Voice first - you should be able to activate it using your voice first. This makes reporting easier and faster for everyone, including people with hand injuries and disabilities.  
  • Natural language interface - you should be able to speak to it naturally without having to use “safety speak” to make reporting less intimidating. The virtual assistant will guide you to answer questions so you can create an accurate and complete incident report.  
  • Touch interface - you should be able to use the virtual assistant with just the touch of your hand to make it accessible, faster, and easy to use.

Benefits of Using Virtual Assistants in EHS/Workplace

Virtual assistants can make processes easy for users and can improve the safety systems.  

1. Improves incident reporting  

With virtual assistants, you can report incidents anytime, anywhere. You can be at the production line or out in the field. In any case, you don’t have to remove your PPE or to fill up endless forms. You can just walk over to the virtual assistant kiosk or whip out your smartphone and create a report.

Since the virtual assistant also knows how to ask the right questions, you are more likely to create a complete and accurate report.

Allowing workers to submit reports anonymously minimises fear and builds trust instead. This encourages more workers to report and gives you more data that could improve your systems. According to the Whistleblower Report 2019, companies who allow anonymous reports have received 58% of reports done anonymously.

2. Enhances feedback loop

Virtual Assistants improve the feedback loop by collecting the complete and correct pieces of information and by managing them. This information paints a more accurate picture for the EHs professionals and decision makers. It allows them to fix the issues and stop another unwanted incident from happening.

When people see that their reports are actioned, this motivates them to create incident reports and to follow EHS company guidelines. A robust feedback loop also makes workers feel seen and valued. A study shows that people who feel more valued are more likely to do their best at work than those who do not (93% vs 33%)

3. Eases access to EHS information

Virtual assistants also let you search for the relevant EHS information, right when you need them. With a virtual assistant at your side, you don’t have to go to many departments and sift through endless piles of paper to look for risk assessment reports, material data sheets, and timesheets.

This leaves you with more time and energy to do more important work. This increases the company’s productivity and efficiency.

Conclusion

Virtual assistants are just one of the emerging technologies we can use to remove the barriers to incident reporting. It also collects and manages data so that reports get actioned, building trust and encouraging people to follow EHS guidelines and to do their best work.  

More about Dan Bennett – Business Development, EMEA Region

Dan has been in the technology industry for 7 years and covers the EMEA Region for Airsweb.

Over the last few years, Dan has had numerous engaging conversations with EHS Professionals across many different industries and organisational sizes understanding the challenges they all face with culture, technology and change. He has a passion for discussing emerging user demands and how organisations can harness technology to remain sustainable.

Airsweb AVA Initiatives you may also like to read...

Colas Ltd recently launched AVA Frictionless Reporting across their 60,000 employees - the first UK construction company to roll this out.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Bennett

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