A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words: How Risk Visualisation Tools Can Transform Proactive Safety Management

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A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words: How Risk Visualisation Tools Can Transform Proactive Safety Management

Risks are a constant for any firm. Whether it’s health and safety, operational or ESG-focused, the holy grail for corporate leaders is to proactively mitigate risks before they manifest into damaging incidents. Once a far-off ambition for corporate leaders, firms now have access to a number of digital tools to gain vital insights from both leading and lagging risk indicators. The appetite to invest in the technology to collect, manage and analyse risk data is huge, a recent Verdantix Corporate Survey revealed that 26% of respondents valued the desire to implement proactive EHS management as the number one influence on their 2023 EHS budgets. A vital aspect in making the most of collected risk data is the ability to translate it into actionable mitigations, whether that be a change to daily operations or a complete overhaul of current best practices. So how can firms visualise the risks impacting their firms in a way that resonates with their employees? 

In the field of operational risk management (ORM), methods for picturing overall risk landscapes are not a new concept, with the bow-tie analysis and Swiss cheese barrier risk models being well-established techniques used in high-risk industries for over 40 years. Although in the Industry 4.0 age, new ‘digitally-enabled’ risk visualisation techniques have boosted the potential value of these tools for corporate firms. A truly transformational benefit of digital risk visualisation solutions is their ability to leverage operational IoT data and powerful risk analytics to dynamically update and display a real-time insight into the current risk landscape. This has led several software vendors across several backgrounds, including enterprise EHS, PSM, EAM and CMMS, to stand up and take, resulting in a period of intense M&A activity as firms look to integrate risk visualisation solutions into their solution portfolio. Witness Wolters Kluwer owned EHS software provider, Enablon, which acquired eVision in 2018 and CGE Risk in 2020, and asset management software vendor Prometheus Group, which acquired RiskPoynt in 2022. 

Today, real-time digital risk visualisation is still reserved for firms with industry-leading digital sophistication. Firms should not be deterred, with many enterprises to begin building the necessary technology ecosystem to support dynamic risk management (see Verdantix Best Practices: Moving EHS To Dynamic Risk Management). For firms looking to digitally transform risk visualisation within their operations, there are a whole host of commercial software solutions. These range from those focusing in on worker actions, such as Ultimo’s work permit visualisation tool that can be overlayed onto asset P&IDs and site maps. To those managing risk controls, such as RiskPoynt’s barrier management solution, which integrates real-time asset telemetry and operational risk data into a series of digestible visual displays.

Verdantix predicts technologically-enabled dynamic risk management solutions will transform the future of both the EHS and Operations function. To get more in-depth insights on how EHS leaders are using data to build a proactive safety strategy, we’ll be speaking with Nigel Packham, Associate Director, Safety at NASA and Andrew Dingee, VP HSE at BP at the upcoming Verdantix in person event. Register for your ticket now here


Tom Brown

Senior Analyst

Tom is a Senior Analyst in the Verdantix EHS practice. His current research agenda focuses on a range of EHS topics, including high-risk safety controls, contractor management, environmental services and EHS digitization strategy. Prior to joining Verdantix, Tom achieved a Master’s in Chemical Engineering from the University of Nottingham.