EHS Software: The challenge of comprehensive vs. bloatware

EHS Software Risk

Here at Affygility Solutions we often hear the statement, “We want it simple to use.” But, almost in the same breath, they will indicate “We want it comprehensive and want it to do this, this, and this” and “Oh, by the way does it work on iPhones, Android devices, and iPads?” As you can see, these statements presents a huge dichotomy and challenge for designers and developers that are tasked with developing environmental, health, and safety software. People want it “simple to use, but comprehensive.”

EHS software terms

Several years ago while attending a conference on EHS software, this situation presented itself ever so clearly. A company was giving a demo on their new EHS software package that they have spent numerous years developing and implementing. While showing one of the forms on the screen, the presenter indicated that, “Well, there’s a lot of fields on this form and you won’t use half of them.” After this statement, I’m thinking to myself why do you even have them? He then proceeded to perform an action and the whole EHS software system froze up. Much to his embarrassment, he stated, “Oh, that’s never happened before.”

The Birth of EHS Bloatware

For those of you not familiar with the term “bloatware” it is a piece of software or a website that attempts to do too much and become utterly useless for its end users. There is just too many moving parts. Here at Affygility Solutions, we see this all the time in large, expensive enterprise-based EHS software management systems. These are typically the systems that are designed by corporate committees that want everything throw into the system, and the consulting practices that typically develop these systems are more than happy to comply because the “customer is alway right” and it just means more billable hours for them. As an example, I saw one company that had a system that was tracking 26 health and safety metrics and 32 environmental and sustainability metrics. Are you kidding me? How in the world is their one part-time EHS staff member at a facility ever going to have the time to collect and enter all that data on a monthly basis? In addition, the company had to bring all their EHS staff members from around the world in for 1 week of training in how to use the system. My theory, if it takes a week of training to learn how to use it, it’s way too complicated. We need to think about online banking. Did anyone ever trained you on how to use your online banking site? Probably not. Designers and developers need to make it that simple to use!!! If your user interface looks anything like the Access database below, you got usability issues:

complicated access form

Several important points need to be made here:

  • We can’t let technology get in the way of us doing meaningful EHS work;
  • We always ask “What features can we add?” rather than “What features should be take away?” We need to become feature assassins; and
  • You shouldn’t expect an EHS professional to be a programmer, just like you wouldn’t expect a programmer to be an occupational toxicologist.

Welcoming Responsive-design EHS Software

Here is the next several weeks, Affygility Solutions will be releasing its next version of Affytrac with a responsive-design interface. Responsive web design is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites so they provide a great user experience across a wide-range of devices – desktops computers, tablets, and smartphones. Responsive design allows easy reading and navigation regardless of the screen size. Responsive design principles are in alignment with the “think mobile first” movement, where all websites and applications should be optimized to work on a mobile device first. It will allow you to perform EHS task management, corrective actions, and quantitative exposure assessments all from the convenience of your smartphone. It will be awesome!

If you would like to know more or schedule a free-demo, please contact us at Affygility Solutions.

If you enjoyed this article, please give it a “Like” or share it. I would also enjoy hearing your comments.

 

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Posted in compliance management software, compliance management systems, corrective action software, ehs software, infographics, occupational toxicology, OEL Fastrac | Leave a comment

Five new occupational exposure limit monographs

Affygility Solutions is pleased to announce the immediate availability of five new OEL Fastrac monographs. These occupational exposure limit (OEL) and acceptable daily exposure (ADE) value monographs are created with the same high-quality standards that you have always expected. The new OEL Fastrac monographs include:

Benefits of OEL Fastrac monographs with ADEs

OEL Fastrac monographs offer the following benefits:

  • Authoritative: Prepared by pharmaceutical industry experts with advance degrees, professional certifications, and decades of industry experience.
  • Accelerative: Unsurpassed delivery. Once the online payment is processed, your OEL Fastrac monograph is automatically delivered to your Inbox is a matter of seconds.
  • Automatic: If at any point in the future a monograph is revised, you are automatically notified of the availability of the revised monograph. You then can have the option to download the most current version at no additional cost.
  • Affordable: The high-quality monographs are available at a cost of only $595 USD. Similar monographs cost 6 to 10 times as much.

To browse our entire catalog of OEL Fastrac monographs, simply go to oelfastrac.com or click on this link to go directly to our catalog.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact the potent compound safety experts at Affygility Solutions.

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How the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch will dramatically change EHS

iPhone6-EHSYesterday, Apple Computer announced the released of its new iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch. Besides a much larger screen on both phone models, one of the new features that I’m looking forward to is the addition of the NFC capabilities on all 3 devices. NFC has the potential to dramatically change the profession of environmental, health and safety.

So what is NFC?

NFC stands for Near-Field Communication. NFC is a set of standards for mobile devices to establish radio communication with each other. Typically, the user establishes communication by contacting one device to the other, or bringing them into close proximity. The distance required to establish communications is only several centimeters. Moreover, communication does not have to be between two phones. It can be between a stationary base station or a non-powered microchip or tag. And, since NFC has a short range and supports encryption, NFC is more secure than the earlier RFID systems.

So, how will this technology dramatically change the field of environmental, health and safety?

Well, its no secret that many of the common EHS tasks center around the following areas:

  • Inspections. If you examine almost any regulation, there’s a mandatory inspection element. Inspection of equipment for machine guarding, lockout/tagout capabilities, and electrical safety. Inspection of hazardous wastes storage areas, fire extinguishers, and laboratories. With NFC capabilities, employees will be able to record completion of the task directly into the company’s EHS software system. And, because with NFC the communication is a short distance, it will provide proof that someone with in the physical location. Of course, the less than ethical person could let someone else use their phone, but that person probably won’t last long in the EHS field.
  • Training: EHS professionals tend to perform a lot of in-person and computer-base training. Tired of getting people to sign the legacy training rosters? Why not have a NFC tag embedded in their employee ID card? Scan the ID card and have the information uploaded immediately to the training records database. Have a particularly hazardous operation? Why not have a NFC tag on the entry door to the room, and require that a short-training video be reviewed on their iPhone prior to entry into the room. Need an employee to review a potent compound safety monograph prior to working with a compound, simply have them scan a chip on the container and an OEL Fastrac monograph appears right on their iPhone. Just like magic.
  • Monitoring and data collection: EHS professionals spend a tremendous amount of time collecting data. Data collection activities may be from industrial hygiene equipment, performing potent compound safety containment validations or surrogate monitoring, determining environmental metrics, or chemical inventories. With a device as simple as the iPhone in your pocket, look for more timely and accurate data collection practices. No need to purchase expensive and difficult to use barcode scanners.
  • Assessments: Performing a qualitative exposure assessment? With NFC capabilities, much of the data collection can be automated and load directly into your qualitative exposure assessment software.

The goal of NFC should not be having some new technology to waste time on, but should be not letting technology get in the way of us performing the tasks we were hired to perform. With the soon to be announced release of Affytrac with responsive design, which will work on any device (desktop, tablet, or smartphone), expect us to start experimenting with NFC capabilities. We don’t know much about the Apple Watch yet, so that we will have to wait till it’s released. The future of EHS is literally in our hands, or wrist for that matter! To stay posted on these developments, go to http://affygility.com/contact/ to receive updates.

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Posted in apps, compliance management software | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Affygility Solutions to exhibit at the Auditing Roundtable Fall Conference

Affygility Solutions will be exhibiting at the Auditing Roundtable Fall Conference to be held September 15-17, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

ehs-software-pharmaceuticalStop by our booth and meet with Peter Burke. Learn more about Affytrac, our EHS software system to manage EHS compliance tasks, corrective and preventative actions, and qualitative risk assessments. We will be showing demos of our new responsive design that works on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

In addition, learn about our other products and services, including:

  • OEL Fastrac – a simple and affordable way to obtain high-quality occupational exposure limit (OEL) monographs for active pharmaceutical ingredients to support your potent compound safety program. Prepared by industry experts with professional certifications, advance degrees, and decades of pharmaceutical industry experience.
  • Potent Compound Safety Assessments. Performed by pharmaceutical industry experts with professional certifications and decades of industry experience.
  • Webinars on Potent Compound Safety. Certification maintenance points available. Avoid expensive and time-consuming travel. Taught online.

Looks like a great agenda. Hope you can attend.

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