Verdantix 2019 Europe HSE Summit Shines Light On How Digital Technology Is Evolving The HSE Role

Over 170 HSE professionals and technology vendors gathered on March 26th and 27th, at Verdantix HSE Europe Summit, for two days of insight and discussion on utilizing innovative technology to enhance HSE outcomes. Attendees participated in workshops, focus groups and panels on exciting ways technology can transform HSE programmes to deliver business value past focusing on cost-based compliance. Between gourmet lunches and Chelsea Football Stadium tours, informative presentations covered an array of topics surrounding HSE technology including wearable devices, mobile apps, analytics, contractor risk and HSE software.

Keynote speakers James Pomeroy, Group HSE and Security Director at Lloyd's Register, and Chris Joseph, CEO at Wolters Kluwer's Enablon & eVision, espoused on the growing trend of digitizing HSE and how industry 4.0 is leading to new possibilities in the realm of worker and environmental safety. Digital technologies are expected to play a major role in reducing and preventing safety risk. Traditionally, when looking at worker safety we have looked at physical risks, but with new technology and data collection we can see how newly identified risks, such as fatigue and well-being, play into overall health and safety. As workplace demographics change and safety models evolve there are new challenges safety professionals need to consider.

Several speakers including Susanne Klug, Head of Projects and Digital in Group H&S at LafargeHolcim and JR VanOrder, Digital Solutions Global Practice Leader at Golder, discussed best practices towards global HSE software and technology roll-outs. With new technologies emerging rapidly, stakeholders may get caught in the potential and want to jump right into implementation. Attendants heard, though, that the first step in any successful project is to identify what problem is being solved. This sentiment was repeated in the “Best Practices For HSE Analytics” panel where panelists talked about overwhelming volume of HSE data now being collected and the value for firms to identify what metrics to focus on for impactful analytics. Similarly, breaking down existing organizational data silos can lead to enhanced analytic insight and cross collaboration.

Another common theme seen across both days was how engaging front-line workers is essential in successfully adopting new technology to enhance worker health and safety. 51% of panel audience believed engaging frontline workers was the most important skill for HSE professionals to improve over the next three years. Nicky Chenery, Director of Customer Success - EMEA at SafetyCulture, showed how proper adoption of digital tools with front-line workers can lead to better safety insights. As end-users of HSE software or technology, these workers can make or break deployment at any scale. Attendees learned to train workers on new technologies which, in the case of wearable devices, may become a daily part of their work routine. Conversing with workers on how information can support workplace safety and how data is managed can alleviate privacy concerns which are a hot topic in the current atmosphere.

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