Businesses must embrace tech to optimise H&S
New Zealand businesses are being encouraged to embrace global technology trends to optimise workplace health and safety. With more New Zealand workplaces opening up at the Orange traffic light setting, following two years of Covid restrictions, the public and private sector is being encouraged to ‘up its game’ when it comes to on-site visitor, employee […]
New Zealand businesses are being encouraged to embrace global technology trends to optimise workplace health and safety.
With more New Zealand workplaces opening up at the Orange traffic light setting, following two years of Covid restrictions, the public and private sector is being encouraged to ‘up its game’ when it comes to on-site visitor, employee and contractor management.
Auckland-based Kevin McAfee (pictured), who heads up HealthSafe, is encouraging organisations around Aotearoa to embrace software that will protect their people, mitigate risk, and meet their health and safety obligations at this crucial time.
He says this is important at a time when more New Zealanders are returning to physical places of work and study, and medical facilities look for more efficient ways to operate.
“New Zealand businesses and public entities have come a long way with their health and safety practices, but more needs to be done to minimise and manage risk. A simple step which IT staff and HR managers can take right now is to re-evaluate their visitor and contractor management systems.
“The last thing New Zealand businesses need after a challenging couple of years is to overlook risk management or lapse on their health and safety compliance. It’s the crucial time to make sure all systems are optimised to protect businesses and their people.”
He says local organisations should look to trends coming out of countries like the US, UK and Australia in order to make improvements to their health and safety management.
The trends are being applied across a range of industries – from banks to schools, hospitals and large corporations – and include:
- The rise in Smartphone technology, QR readers and Bluetooth technology in helping companies manage their Health & Safety requirements and comply with Health & Safety legislation.
- A large number of businesses are going contactless; reducing the number of physical touchpoints and maximising new technologies.
- There is a transition away from swipe and ID cards and a move towards Bluetooth technology and apps for sign-ins.
- Real-time data and visibility: a central dashboard is critical to providing managers with real-time visibility of everyone on site at any point in time.
- Bluetooth beacons are being used by institutions, such as banks, to give real-time visibility into the occupancy of office space so employees can see what spaces are available to choose from, facilitate collaboration between co-workers, partners and guests.
- Bluetooth technology is being used in offices and on-site to ensure safety through mustering those on site in times of emergency.
- Bluetooth technology helps with tracking visitors and setting user-defined areas and access at education facilities such as universities. Alerts and notifications are activated if students enter areas they are not supposed to access.
- Visitor, employee, contractor check-in can automate the attendance-taking process and be integrated with HR data.
- In hospitals and schools where contact tracing and on-site visitor management is crucial integrated visitor management systems are being rolled out.
“These international trends set the standard for us here in New Zealand. Now is the time for organisations to mitigate risk and ensure they can offer the most efficient solutions for site access, inductions, permits and emergency features in the workplace. These are small measures which can have a big impact – they save lives, reputation and businesses,” says McAfee.
Originally from war-torn Belfast, McAfee witnessed first-hand the challenges of health and safety management in the aftermath of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
“Working for a large retail company in Christchurch at that time, there were gaps in identifying who was on-site at the time of the quake. It quickly became obvious that without any real-time data or records, many businesses affected by the earthquake were struggling to identify staff, visitors and contractors on site during the quake,” he says.
With businesses facing specific challenges around contractor governance, and health and safety, McAfee knew there must be a more efficient way. In 2015, he took the problem into his own hands and founded Healthsafe.
He is driven to provide software solutions for employee, visitor and contractor management, an integrated risk management system and people onboarding processes to help organisations simplify their health and safety processes and keep their people safe.