As with all tools, QHSE tools should be making your life as a QHSE manager easier. As of today still a lot of companies use the Microsoft office package as a tool to manage their QHSE management system. The choice for using Office is pretty reasonable at first sight because of the convenience and the wildly accessible resources available on the internet. Moreover, most people possess the skills required to work with Office. However, the use of Office does have some limitations which more often than not boil to the surface during the audit by an External Certified Body.
Keeping track of versions can be a though job with office documents. At the same time, most norms are very strict on document control: the company should be able to show the latest version of the document at any time and prove that employees do not use obsolete documents.
QHSE management tools mostly automated the mundane task of increasing versions of documents and making sure obsolete documents are not shown to the employees. This helpful feature prevents organisations from making administrative mistakes.
In line with version control is the distribution of the revised documents. When the document is updated it is important that the latest version is distributed amongst the employees and that they start using this latest version. At a lot of companies the distribution is mainly done by just dropping the document on a particular part of the server and notify employees. Some companies might have their own document system for this but the result is the same.
To make sure that employees can only use the most recent documents the server requires time consuming (manual) configuration. In contrast, proper QHSE management tools enables companies to have one central place where they can stores all the documents. Also do these tools only show the latest version of the documents to the users. No more business risks of using wrong templates or procedures.
Once downloaded, office documents have the issue that they can be altered by everyone (even in PDF). This can partly be prevented by adding passwords or “locks”, but there are plenty of ways to work around such measures. The right QHSE management tool allows organisations to give an employee the precise access rights he or she needs. Configuring who is allowed to view or edit documents is at the base of such a tool. In addition, the approval of documents by the person responsible (e.g. management) is supported as well. The document owner first has to approve a document before it can be used by others: this process increases the data integrity of the documents and reduces administrative overhead.
Many office-based systems use the file structure of windows as their architecture. Within these QHSE systems a single Excel file has been developed which holds a lot of links to different documents. This works perfectly until somebody replaces a document without updating the Excel file, introducing a broken link within the document. The lack of validity checks allows broken links to start creeping into the system over the years, which essentially cripples the system and makes the whole system less effective.
QHSE management tools take away a lot of the mundane activities of maintaining the QHSE management, like updating registers, updating documents, fixing broken links and setting proper access rights. These tools don’t take away the need for people who manages these system but they help these managers to get the obligatory administrative activities done and done right. This allows the managers to put more time into improving the system.
Qooling is a QHSE management tool which allows you to benefit from all the points discussed above. When you are interested in having a better aligned QHSE management system feel free to contact us.