by Rick Neijndorff, Training & On-Site Support Consultant
Safety isn’t just the result of having the right processes in place and following them; it’s also the direct result of safe behavior. EVision, global leader in Control of Work software (COW), supports both these approaches. eVision Industry Software supports and enhances existing protocols and procedures and – importantly – offers overviews and insights.
Critical thinking and best judgment are stimulated by making all relevant operational process information available on a convenient dashboard. In addition to software solutions, eVision offers a wide range of training options, for different organizational roles. These cover topics from Electronic Permit to work, Risk Assessment, Isolation management and to Safety Training and administrator tasks.
In 2015 we trained over 5000 people in high-risk industries in (digital) control of work and I have been training Permit Vision users for the past 2.5 years. Participants may be highly computer literate, relative novices, or anything in between, but they all seem to have one thing in common: there’s a great willingness to improve work safety. Our Digital Control of Work solutions connect process, people and plant, but of those three elements, people are always the most important. Understanding this makes people far more open to working with our solutions. I always make it absolutely clear that our software aims to help people work more safely, but can never replace human experience and insights. The software remains dependent on the worker’s caution and awareness. However, he simply has easier and faster access to vital information.
The right information at the right time
During training sessions, it is always great to see people discover how both safety behaviors and insights are improved. The combination of our training and products helps change behavior, ensuring the right safety behavior is displayed by ensuring protocols and procedures are followed precisely, step by step. Wherever people work, there’s the risk of human error, which can sometimes be the result of routine. Of course, employees in hazardous industries are fully aware of the appropriate regulations and guidelines. However, automated behavior and routine always may introduce an element of risk. Our software simply boosts awareness of the company’s operational procedures and protocols and puts up barriers that break routine behaviors, or simply makes them impossible. For example, in an authorization process, you simply can’t proceed unless the person with the appropriate authority signs off. Or it might be impossible to proceed with a permit when an isolation is not live in place. The intelligence of the software makes this easier for the workers. A paper-based procedure does not have this intelligence built in but relies entirely on the person doing all the checking.
Furthermore, ensuring people have the right information doesn’t make them lazy – it keeps them thinking. Training participants always seem to immediately grasp the fact that you can’t make vital decisions without correct, timely input. Better insight also allows for the documentation and revision of best practices and smart safety measures. Users also appreciate the fact that they’re better informed at work when they use our solutions, and they feel safer. However, in certain instances we might decide together with our clients not to automate certain parts of the permit to work process. After all, the aim is to empower, to enable, to stimulate thinking and decision making by providing the right information – not to automate the process from A to Z. That would have an adverse effect.
Seeing before believing
Of course, not every user buys in to the product straight away. Some degree of skepticism is a natural attitude that you come across in any training situation, regardless of the industry, product, or type of training. When delivering training on plants and offshore locations, I typically train the operations teams. Usually, they won’t have been involved in the decision-making process. Therefore, it is to be expected that you might encounter a slightly skeptical attitude. As a trainer you need to be able to deal with this, whilst finding ways of enhancing team spirit. That can be done by introducing an element of competition or having computer-literate colleagues help those less experienced.
It speaks very much for the heavy industry as a whole that I have not come across people that resist change. Looking back over the past 24 months, I have, in all honestly, encountered only one person that really put up resistance. I have worked with people from many different backgrounds and they have all displayed a genuine curiosity towards digital permitting processes and whether these will help them do their work better. ‘Going digital’ makes everything transparent. It doesn’t just support operations, but also makes tracking compliance easier and workers are soon aware of this.
During training sessions we welcome their questions and criticism. The idea isn’t to tell people how they ought to be working, but instead to engage them and help them share their experience and knowledge. In fact, by offering people a platform to share their expertise and have frank discussions with the trainers and other people in their industry, we gain knowledge which we can use to improve our solutions, and they enjoy an enhanced learning experience.