A significant number of cloud-based safety software components are roster-focused, including hazard assessments, personnel lists, training tracking, chemical inventory, and group digital file management. By nature, these aspects tend to be both interrelated and end-user-facing. It is therefore essential that these components are organized under one virtual “roof” and in a way that makes it easy for end-users to access and interact with them, providing a “one-stop-shop” for your end-user teams by placing all the information at their fingertips. Having content that is organized in a central location is just one benefit of cloud-based software, while another is a seamless integration of these different (but related) processes, enabling them to “communicate” with each other. This is the foundation of the SafetyStratus LATCH Module. This article explores what LATCH is and the many ways this powerful tool has been designed to connect with other platform modules for increased efficiency.
What is LATCH?
LATCH, or “Laboratory Assessment Tool and Chemical Hygiene Plan,” is a module that is primarily concerned with managing hazard assessments. Though the name suggests a laboratory setting, LATCH is extremely flexible and can be custom configured to suit any organization or work environment where hazards exist. Users can utilize this platform by logging in on any web browser (including mobile) to start an assessment at any time. As part of the initial module setup, each workgroup (set of users and the rooms/spaces that they work in) is configured. Often, this configuration is based on the supervisor’s roster. At the beginning of the assessment, the assessor is presented with a variety of categorized hazards that have been pre-configured for the given institution or organization. The assessor then selects each hazard that applies to their area and the selection expands to present their specific list of rooms/spaces. Only those spaces where that hazard exists are to be checked off. Additionally, the hazard activity will list the required PPE other equipment that must be used (as established by administrators during the initial setup) when encountering this hazard. Assessors will review each category and select the applicable hazard(s) before completing and submitting the assessment.
LATCH/Chemical Inventory Integration
When it comes to chemical hazards, the SafetyStratus LATCH module allows for integration with the Chemical Inventory Module. For each chemical inventory item, the system first requires a designation of the location (room) and then automatically assigns the appropriate GHS hazard categories to that item. Utilizing the LATCH/Chemical Inventory integration feature, administrators can select each hazard type to link to any given activity within the hazard assessment. In doing so, anytime an end-user begins a LATCH assessment, the system instantly reads each room that is within the scope and selects any hazard activities that are linked to these spaces. This connection is based upon information within the Chemical Inventory Module (e.g., the presence of hazardous chemicals within the assigned rooms.) This feature can not only improve the efficiency of the hazard assessment for your end users but also serves to crosscheck that all appropriate hazard activities are selected by the assessor.
LATCH & Training Tracking
Safety training should be built and assigned to address hazards that are present within the organization, with specific emphasis on those hazards that have the highest potential to disrupt work or cause incidents. Therefore, pairing the LATCH module with the Training Tracking Module is a dynamic way to create safety in daily operations. From the LATCH interface, end-users easily access and view their up-to-date training records and status for each qualification. Authorized supervisors and team leaders (e.g., supervisors, managers, or principal investigators) can quickly assign training to anyone on their roster, individually or by group.
Direct integration between the LATCH hazard assessments and the Training Tracking Module, known as the LATCH Training Link, functions very similarly to that of the Chemical Inventory hazard feature previously discussed. Administrators can view a hazard activity that has been configured on their site and select appropriate training(s) for the hazards that are present via the LATCH assessment. Once the assessment is complete, the required training is automatically assigned to the personnel on that roster. This functionality promotes accuracy and comprehensiveness when assigning life-saving training programs.
Personnel Roster Management
Maintaining up-to-date group and/or area rosters for an organization can be challenging for any administrator. Often, the most accurate and efficient means of accomplishing this goal is to put the capability into the hands of team leaders or supervisors. The LATCH Module can be configured so that authorized managers can edit the team roster at any time, streamlining the tasks of adding new users, removing old users, and assigning group roles. Managers can also designate team members to complete LATCH hazard assessments and update rosters on their behalf. This ability to individually or corporately assign roster management responsibilities assists safety teams in keeping concise information and means rosters are as current as possible.
Emergency Contact Information
In the same vein as personnel roster management, teams can also employ LATCH to manage emergency contact information for each of the rooms or spaces under their purview. Authorized managers or team leads can select from the roster the individuals who may be listed as emergency contacts for each given room, differentiating on a room-by-room basis, if needed. Existing emergency contact info can be updated securely and quickly, ensuring the accuracy of crucial information.
Group File Management
Whatever industry your organization falls under, be it higher education, manufacturing, construction, etc., sharing documents (e.g., work protocols, SOPs, equipment manuals, etc.) amongst a team or workgroup is an ever-present necessity. Expediency in access to essential documentation is extremely important. The LATCH Files feature is a solution built with this in mind. Managers and team members can upload documents (Word, Excel, PDF) to be accessed by any other member of their team at any time. Administrators have the option of uploading files accessible to anyone in the system, regardless of their assigned roster or group. This simple, yet powerful tool allows all users to access and share data via any network-enabled device, anywhere, and at any time.
The SafetyStratus LATCH Module has been designed to surpass the immediate needs of hazard assessment. LATCH provides a centralized location for end-users to access an array of critical roster and hazard-focused information, simply and efficiently. LATCH’s seamless integration with other SafetyStratus modules provides exponential power to the platform and enhanced value to an organization’s safety program.
Joe comes to the SafetyStratus team with over 15 years of experience in the biological sciences and laboratory management and safety. At the University of Connecticut, and later at the University of the Sciences, Joe managed multiple high-volume biology teaching laboratories. He also worked as an Aquatic Biologist for the Philadelphia Water Department’s Office of Watersheds. Most recently Joe held the position of Laboratory Safety Manager in the University of the Sciences’ Environmental Health & Safety Department, overseeing all aspects of safety inspections and compliance in over 150 campus teaching and research spaces.
Originally from Connecticut, Joe has lived in the Philadelphia suburbs for the last 10 years. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Biology from the University of Maine at Fort Kent. In his free time, Joe enjoys working out, taking in a good football game or movie, and traveling with his wife to sunny Caribbean destinations whenever possible.