Safety Culture and Behavioral Safety

C-Suite Series: The Digital Industry

In the past 250 years, the world has experienced four industrial revolutions.

The first (1765) started what became modern industry with the combination of water and heat to use steam to power mechanized production – the steam engine.  The second, 100 years later in 1870, began with the advancement of some of our most used resources today: electricity, oil, and gas. The third, starting in 1965, brought the advancement of telecommunications, electronics, and computers to the forefront.

Today, unfolding before us, is the dawn of the fourth industrial revolution: the Internet and the Digital Industry.


The Digital Industry

What’s striking about the fourth is the speed with which companies have adopted the Digital Industry. Gaining traction at the dawn of the 21st century, the past 20 years have seen the advancement in democratization of technology to power workers everywhere. At the dawn of the computer age, a new computer would cost the equivalent of $95,000 in 1970, the first cell phone cost $4,000, and the Internet was transmitting data at a snails pace in 1990. Fast forward 50 years, and anyone who needs an online shop to sell their merchandise can do so in less than a day for less than the cost of a monthly gym membership. The fourth industrial revolution truly democratized the Digital Industry for the world and is now helping to democratize safety for workers everywhere.

Until the last 20 years, safety reporting and behavior-based safety was something few worked on. Signs would exist highlighting the need for safe operation or declaring the days since the last incident on site. Ask a CEO or executive how many near misses they had, however, and the lack of visibility would be astounding. On the contrary, ask a worker what personal protective equipment (PPE) they needed to use a machine, and if they didn’t have it in memory, they would pull out a binder. A decade ago, things began to change with the advancement of both online digital applications and mobile based applications.

1. Digital Apps

While online applications helped to bring about change, it wasn’t until mobile phones, apps, and ecommerce became ubiquitous with workers everywhere that we experienced democratization of safety. We can see it in the very number of companies springing up everywhere to help with apps for health and safety, asset management, chemical and hazardous material management, contractor management, supplier management, eLearning, permit to work, lone worker, and now, environmental sustainability and social governance.  This revolution has helped transform how companies manage and operate safer environments for everyone – and the great part is, we are only just starting.

We know customers everywhere are using more and more EHS and supply chain accreditation software to join in Industry 4.0 and digitize their safety program. In the next four years, the market usage of digital software for safety will nearly double, growing at adoption rates just over 10% CAGR. The adoption is powering a new digital revolution in safety. Companies using software are seeing 60% reduction in incidents year over year, 137% reduction in TRIF rates, and – even better still, one third of our customers are experiencing zero incidents a year.  All of this is through two core focus areas: connecting workers and democratizing data.

2. Connected Workers

In a connected worker environment, every worker can use applications that power safety. Only through the ability to ensure workers are using technology to its fullest can companies realize the benefit of behavior-based safety and democratization of safety. From just-in-time training to near-miss reporting to hazard identification, and everything in between, digital solutions are empowering workers to take safety into their hands and help make their companies stronger because of it.

3. Democratizing Data

With increased worker adoption, companies gain the benefit of data: a lot of it.  Our customers submit hundreds of thousands of forms every month. That data turns into insights and the ability to make workers safer. In turn, we empower companies, through the data, to truly democratize the information into the hands of every worker.  Democratization of safety data allows companies to make safety a first-class citizen, report on it at all levels, and help move towards predictive safety behaviors.

In summation…

Industry 4.0 is helping to shape the world at a speed unheard of. Technology, and empowering workers through safety applications, is moving us all towards a place where every company and every worker on the planet can have the opportunity to get to zero incidents.

Tyler Davey is Alcumus’ chief executive officer for North America.