EHS departments are sitting on a goldmine of data. Yet, most haven’t taken advantage of the opportunity.
The vast majority of organizations are analyzing just 12% of the data they collect, according to research by Forrester.
All this untapped data has huge potential. It can help you determine when and where safety incidents are likely to occur, or which processes pose the biggest risks to your organization. It can point to which EHS initiatives are working — and how can you make them better.
We’ve compiled a list of 5 techniques from the world of data analytics that will help you get more from your EHS data.
1. Centralize your data
The first step for any organization struggling to get better insights should be to centralize their data.
Centralization refers to the practice of storing and maintaining all your data in a single location. This location is most often a database system like EHS management software.
The goal of centralizing your data is to create a ‘single source of truth’ for everyone in your organization. With this single source of truth, you’ll find that your other data analysis efforts fall into place much easier.
2. Make sure your data is clean
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” If your data is inaccurate or incomplete, it will be very hard to get useful insights. It’s worth taking the time to review your data and correct errors, remove duplicate records, and fix formatting issues. Going forward, standardizing and automating data collection with EHS software is a good way to keep your data clean.
3. Add context by “layering” quantitative and qualitative data
Many companies rely purely on quantitative, or numerical, data. But when it comes to areas like safety and risk, the numbers don’t always tell the whole story. Qualitative data — such as photos, videos, sound recordings, and written observations — while harder to analyze, helps add depth and create context for your numerical data.
4. Process your data in real-time
One way to get better insights from your data is by simply monitoring it more closely. You’ll be able to see and respond to trends in safety and performance as they happen, rather than at the end of the month or quarter. Not only will this help you address problems quickly, it will also help you get ahead of issues before they occur in the first place.
5. Harness the power of data visualization
Visual representations like charts or dashboards help people organize and process information more quickly. In turn, this leads to better and faster decision-making.
Consider this: Human brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than they do text. If that’s not enough, The Wharton School of Business found that the use of data visualizations could shorten business meetings by 24%.
Dashboards make it easy to visualize and drill down on trends and patterns in your data.
By using the strategies above, you’ll be able to work more efficiently and get better insights from your EHS data. To learn more, read this post on how big data is changing EHS management.