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Written by Forsyth Thompson
on November 17, 2021

5 Benefits of Going Paperless in Health and Safety

We understand that if you’ve been doing things one way for a long time, it can seem like a big effort to change.

But when it comes to health and safety, your life could be made a lot simpler and faster by switching to a paperless H&S management tool - and it’s not as hard to switch as you might think.

So what are the benefits of taking your health and safety paperless? Here are five:


1. Make health and safety simpler

The job of H&S is already complex enough. From encouraging participation across job sites to simply remembering all of the different forms each day, it’s a lot to balance, record, and keep track of over the years.

This is one of the core benefits of going paperless. Modern health and safety software is designed to do as much of your job for you as it can, so you can focus less on carrying an armful of paperwork to site each day and more on value-adding activities such as strategy, self-improvement and getting the project done.

In short, H&S management software should simplify your life by:

  • Helping you take your files with you: Think of the software as a repository of all the forms you’ll ever need, and have ever needed. Not only does it come built-in with a number of common H&S forms, checklists, and so on, but you can make your own custom ones where needed - and it stores it all for you, so you can access any form at any time from anywhere, even if you originally recorded that form years ago.
  • Prevent you from forgetting anything: The other side of this repository is that it means you always have what you need on-site at a given moment. Whether that’s a pre-start checklist or a COVID-19 training form, it’s stored in the cloud which means so long as you have your smartphone or other devices on hand, you’ve got all your paperwork.
  • Make it easy to make changes: Storing H&S documents electronically means you can make quick changes whenever needed. If a situation changes on a job site (i.e. a global pandemic sets in), it only takes a few seconds to either edit an existing form or make up a new one. No printer is required, which means no last-minute trips to the office just to print a file.

Learn more: See Site App Pro in action


2. Improve compliance

The importance of compliance on a job site cannot be overstated, but we know it’s not always easy to get others to play along.

But, taking it paperless can make it much easier. And if it’s easier? More people will be willing to participate.

  • Fact: 91% of organisations that switched to the cloud saw an improvement in their ability to meet government obligations (RapidScale).

How cloud-based H&S tools make compliance easier

  • Paper trails: As we mentioned above, with a digital H&S tool you’re able to make, fill out and store all of your paperwork in one place. Forms are clear and accessible, with times, dates, and people’s names/signatures all electronically documented. You’ll be creating easy-to-follow paper trails without even trying because the software does it for you.
  • Making improvements: Using software also means you get access to data. You see, each form you submit creates a data point. Over time, these data points build up to paint a picture of your compliance. Are people commonly turning up to the site without the correct PPE? Are visitors signing in and out properly? This helps you spot red flags and correct them before they become a major issue.
  • Participation rates: Making compliance easy can help you build those participation rates. For example, instead of asking people to fill out paperwork to sign in or out, they could scan a QR code at the gate. Or, if they have paperwork obligations of their own, you could send a simple form to their smartphone which takes seconds to fill out. And if there’s a problem on-site? If anyone can report a hazard with just a few buttons on their device, you’re making it easy for those individuals to quickly inform you of a potential issue without anyone having to down tools and come to find you.


3. Improve productivity

Everything that we just discussed above essentially makes health and safety activities faster, simpler and more enjoyable for everyone involved. This should translate into a lot of time saved per day that would otherwise be spent on data entry, form creation or waiting by a printer.

Check out these stats on how going paperless impacts productivity

  • For companies that haven’t gone paperless, an average of four weeks is lost each year waiting on misfiled, mislabeled, untracked or lost documents (Gartner).
  • Going paperless can improve staff productivity by around 30-50% (AIIM).


4. More easily manage multiple sites

Maintaining health and safety standards, and especially maintaining strict compliance records, can be a bit of a headache when there are multiple job sites involved. 

This is another major strength of going paperless - a digital workflow is one that can be accessed anywhere and quickly shared with others.

How paperless H&S creates visibility across your business

With a smart H&S tool, no matter which site or office a particular form or report is generated at, it goes into the same central database. If you’re working at the company HQ, this is utterly invaluable.

Imagine this: You have a clear, top-down view of the entire company’s health and safety files. Every person who scans in and out, every form that’s been filled out, all that data, you can see it all, track it all, and make companywide decisions using the real-time data.

From the central location, you could create new forms or templates for staff to use across job sites, change priorities, communicate with key people, and track feedback, all from your dashboard.

But … is a central database safe?

Data is precious and it must be protected. So it’s natural to wonder if keeping it all in one location on the cloud is safe.

With a specially made H&S tool, safety is at the core of the platform. We’ll use ourselves as an example. With Site App Pro we’ve split up visitors, users and admins from a functionality point of view, creating an extra layer of security. That means...

  • Just a site visitor? You don’t need any Site App Pro tool to sign in. Just scan the QR code at the gate with your phone and it’ll take you to a web page where you can sign in. No access is needed at all. Someone with the app can walk you through your induction.
  • Just a user? You only need the Site App Pro app on your smart device, which will give you access to fill out forms and scan in or out of a job site, but not more. If a user’s device is ever lost or compromised, potential thieves don’t have access to the system and can’t make changes or download sensitive data.
  • Need admin access? Then you can use the Site App Pro dashboard, which enables you that full top-down control we talked about earlier. Here you only assign admin access to individuals who are fully trained and trusted, limiting your risk exposure.


5. Boost your green credentials

Paperless work is, generally speaking, more environmentally friendly than the old ways of printing everything. So, for companies trying to improve their eco-credentials, it’s a must.

Some quick facts:

  • The pulp/paper industry uses 40% of the world's industrial wood, which contributes heavily to global deforestation (WWF).
  • It also requires four times more energy to produce paper than plastic (NIA).

How going paperless is more environmentally friendly

Going paperless cuts the need to constantly print new documents. That means, as a follow on, you don’t need to keep buying paper (so no more wasted paper ream packaging); you’re not using ink so, therefore, there are no ink cartridges (and all of their plastic); and if you think about it, you’ll be using fewer pens, too - and the ink and plastic associated there, too.

Then there’s the scanning. You’re not scanning anything to digitise it as it’s already digital, so there’s less electricity used and potentially no need for a scanner in the first place.

Some of these trickle-down effects are small, but small improvements made every day lead to big improvements over time.


Ready to go paperless? Get in touch

Site App Pro is a powerful health and safety management tool custom-built for the New Zealand construction and building environments.

We’ve made it as simple to use as possible and we keep it regularly updated for security and compliance purposes, giving you less to worry about.

Ready to see it in action? Start a free trial today.

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