All businesses and organizations have physical assets (the building or factory where goods and services are produced and the equipment therein). These physical assets need to be managed properly to stay compliant with the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s General Duty Clause. Stipulated within the Section 5 Duties is the requirement for all employers to provide their employees with a workplace that is free from recognized hazards. Employees, in turn, must comply with these same standards. A business or organization’s physical assets need to be inventoried and tracked in real-time to optimize health and safety measures in the workplace. Poorly maintained assets are more likely to deteriorate or malfunction, which could result in injuries and fatalities. To ensure proper asset management, employers and EHS managers need to utilize appropriate asset management tools. The following are 3 ways an organization can create and streamline its asset management program.
1. Maintain an updated digital asset inventory.
Companies of all sizes must daily manage numerous physical assets. These include large assets (forklifts, vehicles, and heavy machinery) and smaller assets (spill kits, AEDs, ladders, and X-ray equipment). To ensure all physical assets are in optimal condition and accounted for, it is the best practice to maintain a detailed and accurate digital asset inventory. Maintaining an up-to-date digital asset inventory helps promote health and safety on the job site as the maintenance and inspection of equipment can be properly and easily regulated. Within a live inventory, pertinent details about each asset are stored—including the serial number, model, manufacturer, expiration date, certification date, and last maintenance or safety inspection date. To ensure proper compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) workplace guidelines, a digital asset inventory should be paired with robust asset management software.
2. Pair the digital asset inventory with asset management software.
Integrating a digital asset inventory with asset management software allows users to manage all of their organization’s physical assets easily and effectively. Asset management software can link all inventoried assets with their primary owners, as well as always determine each asset’s exact location. This prevents valuable assets from being misplaced or stolen. Relevant information about each asset can also be stored and updated, including critical descriptive data, inspection history, and scheduled inspections. These measures help keep all physical assets in optimum working condition, preventing accidents and workplace injuries in the process. The applicable permits associated with each physical asset can also be managed through the use of integrated permit authorization software, enabling simple, secure access to and handling of all information concerning the various stages of the permit review and approval process.
3. Utilize barcodes and QR codes to optimize data management.
To ensure proper tracking and data management, each inventoried asset should be labeled with a barcode that matches its code in the inventory system. Asset management software can include access to an accompanying mobile application that can be used to scan any asset’s barcode. Utilizing this feature will launch an inspection specifically assigned to that asset. QR codes can also be affixed to each asset. Scanning these QR codes with the mobile app will allow users to quickly retrieve critical descriptive data and other information for each asset.
Cloud-based, integrated EHS software platforms can offer modules for asset management that will enhance a company’s capacity to seamlessly track and manage physical assets. Proper asset management allows for the optimization of a worksite’s health and safety compliance by minimizing physical asset failure. This, in turn, reduces workers’ exposure to hazards and reduces occupational injuries and fatalities.
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While the objectives of the RAG are varied, the primary public-facing outcome will be available through engaging and practical content found on the SafetyStratus resource pages. Various articles, papers, and other valuable resources will be produced and shared as part of an ongoing effort to cultivate a robust community. Ultimately, the SafetyStratus RAG will expand to have a broader reach and provide opportunities for more inclusion by all interested EHS professionals in a collaborative community environment.