Donesafe News

Roundtable Recap: The common pain points of a safety professional and technology-driven solutions

Roundtable discussion | Software technology safety Donesafe

The Donesafe journey – Matthew Browne, CEO & Co-Founder

“The plan was to build a tech-solution with the dream to support professionals globally!” 

Matthew Browne, CEO & Co-Founder

The origin of the company began with the need to find a solution to the problems Browne faced as a safety professional, plus the responses in pursuit of the challenges with technology. While working in the mining industry in Whyalla, South Australia, there were many serious injuries to report on-site. A big part of the problem was the use of disparate systems, paper-based documents/forms and several other components within the organisation’s processes. The use of technology and some key learnings led to building the platform that is what we and customers globally recognize today, Donesafe.   

The journey kicked off eight years ago in Sydney, Australia. With over several million users worldwide, Donesafe is now a global software platform solving some of the most challenging issues that safety practitioners and their employees face around health and safety. In 2020, Donesafe was acquired by HSI, a North American Safety Solutions Company, a leader in Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) software, training, and compliance solutions. With a large customer base in North America plus the growth from Donesafe’s 50 employees takes the total employee count to 400+ worldwide which solidifies our positioning to support even more customers globally. 

The trends reported over the last few years have remained quite consistent says Glenn Parker, Vice President Sales at Donesafe. The major pain points have been summarized to highlight the top four key points that stand out in the industry today:

  1. Lack of time to focus on high-level preventative activities
  2. Struggle to embed a culture of safety in the fabric of the business
  3. Safety management technology that does not fit the unique needs of the business
  4. Difficulty extracting actionable insights from safety data

Safety leaders need to shift their focus to proactive strategies whilst implementing and building a safety culture within an organization. Rolling out Safety management technology often comes with issues of having multiple systems which makes it a challenge to get them to fit a specific environment. Another relevant aspect of having technology is to obtain real and meaningful insights to enable focus on preventative and other value-adding activities.

Lack of time to focus on high-level preventative activities

Lack of time is probably a victim of the fact that in most organizations, the safety team is quite commonly under-resourced with an expectation to do more with less. Being under-resourced and the fact that leaders often get pulled into a range of issues leaves less time to focus on the preventative activities they are not always able to manage by exception and results in an overwhelming scenario. Lack of delegation can be an issue for some cultures where the ownership for triaging issues, incidents, hazards often doesn’t sit with managers and safety teams have to pick up that slack. Hence their ability to focus on preventative elements, like coaching programs, introducing new controls, initiatives etc, is often reduced.

To remain agile, it is pertinent to have a good collaborative approach between corporate governance and clinical governance which was one of the challenges faced by Aged Care providers.

Noted by – Alison De Araugo, Head of Health Safety & Wellbeing, Estia Health

With the impact of COVID, the changes in workforces from a direct employee model to a contractor model needed greater agility and with technological challenges, this affected the speed of strategic execution as experienced by various organizations during the pandemic. This has created a need to look into the appropriate technological solutions available now to enhance the ability to manage these situations in the future. The recent 12 months has witnessed a big shift in the way that people work, and that has introduced new risks and new environments for many workers. As a health and safety professional, it’s how you manage and prioritize those things that are the most important to the business. Technology that helps you understand the high-value items, whether it’s a high-risk incident or not, requires addressing the key activities and getting the system to work for you. There is more focus around automation and pre-scheduling events, which eliminates the need to think about the day to day elements of; workplace assessments for working from home or managing infectious disease tracking within the work environment. All of those elements have a technology framework that takes away the administrative work and gives companies the reporting tools to be able to share and keep people informed along the way, whether it’s at a worker level on issues that they encounter and how they are tracking in terms of the triage, workflows or at a higher level in terms of management input.

At Donesafe, one of the focus areas is helping through technology in a platform and enabling the automation that helps organizations identify the key issues and key points at any point in time. During the pandemic, organizations had quickly resorted to the use of temperature scanning and looked at things like social distancing using AI. We are starting to see the use of technology, like sensors, thermal imaging etc. to benefit the health and safety of employees as the way forward to manage the crisis as well as engrain into the OHS culture. A host of digitization measures is eliminating manual forms for electronic ones and the journey is at different stages in various companies. Another area of struggle safety professionals often refer to, is to get the engagement from a cultural perspective. Some industries like mining, do this well as safety is embedded into their DNA, but many other sectors struggle with it. To bring new technology into the hands of a diverse group and make it usable and accessible is truly a task that requires an increased level of effort. And where that does not happen, the engagement with the technology platform and compliance framework tend to suffer.

Andy Lewis, Director, WHS Australia comments that an interesting observation among Safety professionals and risk managers is that they do not market compliance well. And one of the first things he did when he went into struggling businesses, which we’re not getting the buy-in with technology, was getting the marketing or the brand team to work with the Safety team and help create the messaging into one that enables people to work better. It needs to get engrained into the culture and this depends on how you market the change. Safety managers then work like change managers and reiterate how technology is an important enabler for safety in their jobs and can make life much easier by embracing the new ways of working. Companies like Wood have begun utilizing a variety of technologies, from RealWear headsets to predictive analytics on the safety management side of things by pushing digitalization and technology in the back office in terms of contractor management and predictive data analytics.

Safety management technology

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of different companies across different geographies and sectors and they all tackle it in different ways”, notes Bruno Andrade, Enterprise Account Manager, Donesafe. “For going with the idea of saving time and focusing on the key issues, knowing the audience and knowing the frontline workers is of paramount importance. Understanding how they interact with safety systems is the first step in engaging staff more effectively. Frontline workers are constantly juggling different priorities and companies that can tap into leveraging technology and using smart tools to capture the hearts and minds of the frontline workers with a user-friendly interface. It helps the frontline workers to maintain that focus.” While a return to shareholders is important, safety and risk management is equally important. Having a tool that is user friendly allows them to get in and out of the platform quickly. Looking at the concept of communication as a two-way street goes a long way in maintaining an open and collaborative approach to driving the right outcomes with these processes. In the corporate world, getting reports is a basic need, but sharing data back to the frontline as feedback on their safety indicators or their KPIs giving, gives them regular feedback on how their safety indicators are trending for the past month, quarter or year and having a place where they can access that regularly fosters ownership.

This also helps with understanding as also striking the iron (their thought process) while it’s hot. If someone is reporting on an event, having a tool that will communicate back to them what that means to the organization or the impact of that data set on the organization will cement the importance of that action. As an example, the employee gets a message back via their mobile, saying “The event reported represents 47% of injury injuries cases for the last year. Thanks for keeping your colleagues safe”. That type of active two-way communication in real-time helps with engagement. The technology pillar is certainly one that helps actively engage internally. The design element of the technology is also a key element to that engagement, which often gets missed in the discussion. A good design can support the engagement both at the worker level by making it quick and easy for them to report an event, but also engagement with management using technology to hold them accountable and interact with their workers based on what’s being reported

Often big investments are made in technology and it’s not just the cost of the license or the system, but also a combination of other costs associated with embedding that into the organization’s framework and all the change management pieces, branding etc. Things change all the time and we witnessed dramatic changes this year with COVID-19. Technology can support not unique needs from industry to industry, but we find diversified needs even in the same industry sector. The Telecommunication sector is a prime example where the major Telco players in Australia, had different ways of managing contractors, events and incidents. With the existing multiple safety systems, all the platforms or technology elements will need to interact and mix with legacy systems to the cloud and mobility. With these elements in the picture, there is a need and ability for technology to support those unique requirements.

“We had to work quickly to try and mobilize a quite large, diverse workforce, as well as our contract-based and international workforce”, reminisced Nancy Abdelnour, Principal, Health Management, Rehabilitation and Workers Compensation. “We found Donesafe to be a really simple platform for us to leverage off, especially in the areas of our communications; pushing out communication, key critical compliance-based activities, as well as other activities and initiatives that we wanted our people and leaders to participate in. That ensured that we had all the key critical areas in front of mind and focused on by our people whether that was to do with COVID-safe changes, jurisdictional changes, different requirements across different states that we needed to adhere to so we could target messages, targeted communications, push it out relatively quickly to people, depending on where they were. This enabled them to be up to date with what was relevant and pressing for them while keeping it simple. We had to think about our end-user experience by not giving people pages and pages of questions to complete. Anything completed quickly and en masse is challenging but having a solid tech platform to work off definitely made life significantly easier for us.”

Donesafe also had a leading response on COVID in terms of infectious disease management and the Telstra team built a module on their platform that they kindly donated to Donesafe to be able to remanufacture and push out to their clients for free. The fact that Telstra was able to generate that within a matter of days was an impressive achievement. This enabled working closely with contact tracing, working together to make sure that people who got tested and waiting on results could be monitored and implications on how to support them on the work front, returning to work, but also making sure that they had adequate supports if they were tested positive with COVID. The systems helped support people to focus on their health, recovery and monitoring which is critical at this time. This made the OHS work far more applicable and efficient at Telstra especially during the peak of the pandemic.

Some businesses spend millions of dollars on the platform alone that ends up being clunky and adds no value. The IT team must be involved when dealing with legacy programs. When looking at things that are out-of-the-box versus bespoke, people see the out-of-the-box solution as something that has been tried and tested but then it is not always fit for purpose and that’s where a lot of organizations get caught out. With Donesafe, organizations can customize the roll out and get people accustomed to the new idea of technology that is going to enable them and position the businesses to move forward and take them on the journey.

Actionable insights – The game changer

Glenn Parker, Vice President Sales, Donesafe says, “The idea of being able to get insights out of the technology systems that you own and use, particularly when you look at actionable insights from the safety data that you’re collecting, whether it’s lead or lag style indicators and input is a known challenge and we hear the age-old story of a safety manager complaining of spending 3 days with their head buried in spreadsheets and manually adjusting incident data.” The other elements of this are not only the admin element of getting reports out of the system but also tying some of the other elements around engagement and under-reporting in the environment. McDonald’s had an area where they were getting around 5,000 incidents reported annually through their stores and franchisees. When Donesafe put in the new system, they were able to increase that four-fold to around 20,000 incidents. McDonald’s thought slips, trips and falls were their biggest issues, however, what they found was, the numbers increased only because it was easier to report and thus received a high volume of reports. They subsequently found out that burns and relatively minor burns were coming in as the leading incident. They hadn’t been reported previously in large volumes and gave them brand new insights into what was causing that. It was since uncovered that some toasters were causing a fault or unoptimized way of executing that process and were able to replace all the toasters in their environment resulting in a significant reduction of those incidents. This shows that it is a combination not only of analytics and business intelligence reporting that helps with insights but often the engagement itself that can bring new elements into the reporting. The real value is that it gives you the ability to monitor the quality of the data in real-time. Real-time reporting has drawn in a shift in not only reporting but also the culture of the organization and the engagement from both workers and leaders.

Companies do focus centrally around risk, being the core of a lot of the things that they do, whether it’s audits, checklist, critical controls, incidents and hazards etc. and are all linked back to the risk framework. Some of the new predictive analytics tells you what incidents might occur in the future based on past data, although that level of intel generation is still in its embryonic state. There are some core insights you can get easily by linking data together and also knowing that they have Donesafe systems capable of managing the other elements, whether it is a risk, contractor management or learning.

About Donesafe

Donesafe is the fastest growing cloud-based safety platform built with the user in mind, helping organizations comply with legislation and enhancing their safety culture without the headaches or the large price tag. The #1 safety, compliance and risk platform – pick & choose from over 30 apps to create a fit for purpose solution perfect for your organization! Donesafe is innovative software that connects your system from workers in the field to the management team in the boardroom. Donesafe makes it fast and easy to access, enter and report safety, compliance and risk data in real-time. Donesafe is a modern & fresh online platform that works on any device, including an offline native iOS and Android app. With major clients including McDonald’s, NAB, Brickworks, State of California, IAG, Audi and Telstra, Donesafe is quickly becoming one of the most well-known software names for both the SME and Enterprise markets.


Details of the speakers

Glenn Parker, Vice President Sales, Donesafe

Experienced Managing Director and Sales Leader with a background and speciality in the management of B2B software firms. Significant depth of business and investment experience, particularly in the areas of repeatedly producing sustained revenue and EBIT growth in difficult and changing markets. Personable, pragmatic, resilient, hard-working with extensive experience leading and motivating regional teams. Highly successful in building high-performance cultures, strategic M&A, seizing control of problem areas, and delivering on customer commitments.

Matthew Browne, CEO & Co-Founder, Donesafe

Matt is the CEO & Co-Founder of Donesafe, a market-leading global EHS SaaS start-up with 1.5million+ paying users. Matt took the business from launch in 2013 to exit with the acquisition by HSI in 2020. He is Co-Founder and Advisor of Whispli, a Y-combinator alumni SaaS start-up for safe and secure anonymous whistleblowing with clients including Westpac, Qantas, EY, Oxfam and Fairfax Media. He is a Venture Partner at Antler and has mentored 100s of start-ups through the Founders Institute, BNG Nebula and Antler programs. Over the past decade, Matt has experienced every stage of the start-up entrepreneur lifecycle from inception and launch, to funding and exit. Matt is on a mission to build greater technology literacy and drive change in the way in which Australia exports. Matt dreams of a day when tech export revenue exceeds that of minerals and also holds a passion for ensuring that minorities don’t get left behind through his investment in Goanna Solutions, an indigenous-owned technology company with a social mission of providing technical literacy to indigenous Australians and minorities. As Managing Partner at Black Nova Group, Matt oversees the qualification, proposal and selection of all start-ups entering the Black Nova portfolio, as well as ensuring our continued growth by leveraging his extensive network, experience and determination to make a positive impact through partnerships in the Australian and international start-up ecosystem.

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