There is considerable confusion out there about what an OHSMS really is, as evidenced by the enormous number of software developers and consultants claiming to sell an OHSMS. For decades and OHSMS, also called an Occupational Health & Safety Management System has been the collection of policies, procedures and forms that you provide to your employees when they are hired, and later to your auditors or OH&S when they ask for it. At SafetySync, we believe an OHSMS should be much more than just what can be put in a binder and store on a shelf. An OHSMS has those documents we listed (which we call “content”), but it also includes the interaction your employees have with those documents and with the administrators who worked so diligently to prepare them. In our opinion, an OHSMS should combine content, business processes and technology to empower your workers to create and maintain a safe environment for themselves, their coworkers, and the public. At SafetySync, an OHSMS is a comprehensive mix of online tools which help your organization communicate information on hazards and follow best practices in your workplace.
Wow, tough question this early in the list. If you asked the workers at our existing customers, they would probably say “No”. They likely question whether acknowledging a policy, reading a safety bulletin, completing an inspection form, watching a video procedure, or passing a quiz to test their knowledge helps them become safer. Their apprehension is based on an unfortunate ratio. 99.99% of the time, the proactive safety efforts you ask of your employees are unnecessary. Unfortunately, the other 0.01% chance is out there waiting to create an incident, which could harm your workers and place your company at risk. A proper system like SafetySync forces safety to the forefront by making proactive measures a priority. SafetySync helps create a safety culture in which everyone at your company is doing everything possible to prevent all injuries and illnesses.
We often hear horror stories of other safety software applications like Intelex and Medgate costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to implement. So how can SafetySync’s price be down here on earth, when the cost of seemingly similar software products is in the stratosphere? It is because those other companies are not offering the same product. Intelex and Medgate are “business intelligence” tools, offering customers the ability to manage very broad compliance issues like quality, environment, industrial hygiene, and ergonomics. With business intelligence software, you can create any custom measurable data point. An example would be tracking the acidity of wastewater coming out of a manufacturing plant. A business intelligence tool would need to be configured to collect this data, report on it, and alert the appropriate people when the pH of the wastewater is outside of acceptable standards. How many businesses need to track the pH of wastewater though? SafetySync offers no such customized functionality, and therefore frees us from having to allow for it. We just build functionality that helps your employees prepare to work safely. There are only about 14 such tools, as defined by pretty much every industry safety audit standard. With SafetySync, everyone gets the same toolset, whether you use all of them or not. And all the tools are ready to go “out-of-the-box” (although there is no actual box). You implement SafetySync quickly, and we start charging your credit card shortly thereafter for the nominal user charges. $5 per user isn’t a lot, but spread across enough users, it allows us to keep the lights on and our minions fed.
We have to be honest here… our training videos are not likely to win any academy awards. We don’t pay the local radio announcer to do voiceovers, or pay action photographers to go out and capture exciting shots of people in dangerous predicaments. We produce our safety videos very inexpensively using computer-drawn avatars and text-to-speech engines. We also link to an enormous pool of government and industry training content available on the Internet. Our ridiculously low (or non-existent) production costs allow us to make the courses available to our customers for free. With that in mind, we also allow our customers to supplement or replace our training with their own uploaded content, in case you’ve invested, or want to invest, in the epic safety equivalent of Ben Hur.
Ah, the dreaded “I entered all our data in their system, so I have to pay indefinitely to continue accessing it” problem. We don’t operate like that. At SafetySync, you can switch to the Can’t Convince My Boss to Pay Plan at any time and not lose your data. If you're already over the basic storage limit you won't be able to create any additional records, certificates, etc., but all existing data will be accessible.
If one of our competitors claims that their course is “certified” or “endorsed” by some government agency, they’re probably not being truthful. Government agencies rarely, if ever, endorse or certify online safety training programs; they typically list the training requirements and occasionally provide a list of training providers. For example, SafetySync is listed on the Transport Canada list for TDG and the Alberta Transportation list for Hours of Service. SafetySync builds all training materials based on government and industry standards, and updates them regularly based on regulation changes and feedback from our customers. Industry associations (like Enform and ACSA) not only write standards, but also provide training to meet those standards, and are therefore reluctant to endorse 3rd party online training providers like SafetySync, despite SafetySync meeting or exceeding those standards. They usually only “sell” their own training in exchange for an exorbitant licensing fee. Don’t be fooled; so long as the training you give your employees covers the content suggested in OH&S regulations, and you supplement this training with any site-specific procedural hazard awareness, you should be fine.
We’ve never had a data breach, nor do we expect one. But there is a very small, but nonetheless greater than zero, chance that someone with malicious intent will gain access your data. It happens occasionally to even large companies like eBay, Sony, and Evernote. We do all we can using industry best practices like encryption, firewalls and monitoring, but even the most secure systems can sometimes be breached by determined hackers. If it makes you feel any better, we don’t store any financial data like credit cards or personal information like social security numbers on our cloud servers, so there should be very little incentive to target our data. We actually believe the biggest threat to your data on our servers, is through your own passwords. If you use the same password repeatedly, or if it is easy to decipher, someone may be able to impersonate you and see your SafetySync data. We’re doing everything we can to protect your data, and we hope you will do the same.
The software is absolutely compatible. You should be able to pull up the SafetySync application on an iOS device without any issues other than the occasional formatting inconsistency. The training videos are a bit of a different story though. Over the years, we developed quite a bit of training using Adobe Flash, which was at the time an industry standard format for interactive training videos. These older videos will not play on an Apple device. In most cases, we have an alternative video available that is not Flash-based. We are working hard to replace all our Flash content with HTML 5 versions, which will run on any browser. Bear with us; there are a lot of videos to reproduce.
The related question to this is, “Does SafetySync have an app?” No, SafetySync is not an app that resides on your smartphone. There is simply too much data to exchange between our servers and your device for the application to function properly without causing very expensive data charges. SafetySync is a web application and is only available online. You must be connected to the Internet in order to access your SafetySync portal. There are many advantages to remaining entirely web-based; one of which is the ease at which we are able to roll out updates. Besides, you don’t need a phone app. The responsive design of our site allows it to work perfectly on all mobile devices. Please keep in mind that we partner with quite a few form tool companies that can capture form data offline and send it to SafetySync for approval, action item logging and audit reporting.
How interesting that your worst nightmare is our most fantastical daydream! Seriously though, we believe that we will become the undisputed leader in our industry segment. Our ambitious growth plans are the very reason you should enter your safety data into SafetySync instead of some other safety management system. Should an unlikely takeover happen, the buyer will surely be acquiring us to gain access to our customer base. Your data will be of paramount importance to our suitor. They will be very large with tremendous financial resources, and they will either enhance the SafetySync offering, or help you migrate to whatever system replaces it (yeah right!).
SafetySync is extremely intuitive; you can quite likely implement and maintain SafetySync with whatever resources you have. The real question is whether this is the best use of your time. The reality is that companies that implement with SafetySync Partner Consultants get their programs up and running sooner than those that choose to do it on their own. Plus small and medium sized companies that have a Partner Consultant oversee their systems on an ongoing basis have more comprehensive safety programs and higher compliance than those that maintain the systems on their own. Our partners charge reasonable rates for their services, so please feel free to inquire.
It would be disingenuous for us to say a properly configured SafetySync OHSMS doesn’t rely heavily on emails. It absolutely does. Our system uses emails to communicate compliance, upcoming reminders, action item assignments, and to send out bulletins and alerts. Plus we use it to send out login information and password resets. The system can send out some alerts by text message, but 140 characters is awfully constraining. Now, that being said, you can configure workers without email addresses. You just have to tell them all sorts of things the old fashioned way.
Ah, very good question; one that will hopefully avoid a phone call to our billing department later. Each worker can be designated either “active” or “inactive” in the system. An active worker can log in and have their safety requirements tracked by the system. An inactive worker is moved to a separate holding tab where only their name is stored. You cannot see an inactive employee’s compliance history or safety data. You will not be charged for inactive workers, which is great if you have seasonal or project workers.
SafetySync was specifically designed for thirty-something, short-sighted workers in the Norwegian dog walking industry. Fortunately it also works perfectly for workers around the globe of all ages in manufacturing, construction, retail, wholesale, oil & gas, transportation, forestry, healthcare, not-for-profits, food processing, government agencies and any other industries with left or right-handed workers. What we’re trying to say is that safety requirements are the same everywhere, and our market penetration continues to grow across all industries.
In the distinguished words of the great Austin Powers, “Unfortunately for yours truly, that train has sailed.” Apart from some early seed financing from founders and a handful of angel investors, SafetySync has been able to grow by means of its own cash flow. We expect to remain private, and do not expect to need to raise additional capital for the foreseeable future.