Health and safety software – how to screw up

Health and safety software – how to screw up

We think our SafetyBase system is world-class software. But there are no short cuts to success. You have to work at it. This post takes a mischievous look at the way decisions about health and safety software are often made. It also offers hope for those who want to do it right.


Our purpose has always been to offer comprehensive, serious health and safety software at a reasonable price. (No health and safety software system is a magic wand). We provide the means for compliance. Using it wisely is something that requires thought and commitment from the client.

There are, perhaps unsurprisingly, many reliable methods to fail with health and safety software. It’s like the old days of paper-based systems. Back then, failure depended upon buying a doorstop manual and leaving it on the shelf. Or delegating it all to a junior admin person and assuming they had it sorted. These days it’s not too different. Someone gets excited, buys health and safety software, then moves on and the system is abandoned. That’s if it was ever used at all.

It’s then a good idea to blame it on the software. “It was just too much for what we needed” is a good one. But for the  same piece of software, don’t worry, it can sound just as wise to say “It just wasn’t sophisticated enough”. Either one works.

Here’s my Mischievous Guide to Failing with Health and Safety Software

  1. When buying health and safety software, never write a list of requirements and discuss them in detail with each potential vendor. Wing it. After all, management are wise and they “have a feel” for such things. How hard can it be?
  2. When Kevin Keen, the graduate you just employed, makes a “business case” for health and safety software, say yes to keep him interested. Then put him in charge of implementation. That should fail extremely well. And then you can sack him.
  3. espressoComplain about price. It’s business, after all. Yes, the espresso machine in the lunchroom costs $2,000 per month including consumables, but coffee is something real, hot, satisfying and valuable. Safety, frankly, is not valuable. Nor hot and satisfying. Get another espresso machine.
  4. Work on the assumption that somehow, somewhere, a genius health and safety software system really does exist, complete with magic wand. It costs $50 per annum, does everything and it also makes coffee. Managing health and safety yourself is tricky and involves horrid human beings. Best to keep them at arms length, as long as you have data. And a fancy pie-chart or two. Talking about pies, who’s for coffee?
  5. What to do when: There’s a serious accident, an audit failure, a compulsory Worksafe notice, an employee safety complaint or bad coffee: Blame the health and safety software. Remember, it must have been too complex or too simple for requirements. Pick one. Flip a coin. Either answer is perfectly acceptable. The only unacceptable answer is “We never took it seriously”. Just don’t say that.

So, seriously

Sometimes, being a health and safety software vendor/consultant is like being a lawyer…people have a stereotype that we will take all your money and run for cover. My suggestion is be a bit open minded, engage with your vendors, ask the right questions, have a clear set of requirements and be realistic about the input you yourselves need to make to get the best results out of it. Even autonomous cars need to know where they are going.

You can also ask for references from other clients and give the health and safety software a good bash for free beforehand. Hint: before the end of the trial, talk to the vendor. Have more questions ready. Really? Yes, because you need to confirm some of the findings of your trial. And we all know what mostly happens with trial accounts. They get frantically used for 20 minutes on the afternoon before they expire.

Good vendors will want to compare notes with you anyway. So I know you’re going to laugh, but please answer their calls unless they are absolute pests. It’s not safe to assume you have found out all there is to know. Software designs vary. If the trial doesn’t seem to have an xyz widget, an abc function or a particular menu, (the one your last system had), please don’t rely on the quick once-over with a checklist. Sometimes, when time is short, people are looking for reasons not to purchase, rather than reasons to explore a little further. You could be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Please just ask. The vendor will be only too happy. Playing your cards close to your chest can sometimes mean you don’t receive fresh or alternative information.

Finally, if you go with another vendor, people like me really appreciate a straight piece of feedback as to why. You don’t have to break it gently or gloss it. Just say it straight and as it really is. We find it’s the next most valuable thing to an actual sale.

Why consider our SafetyBase health and safety software?

There’s a lot of reasons, so here are just 5 carefully chosen key features and 4 easy to digest information sources. If you find even one of these nuggets sounds interesting to you, why wait? Get in touch.

Some Key Features

  1. Customisable option. Collect and process data using your own form designs.
  2. Secure, monitored, penetration tested hosting with hourly automated data backups.
  3. Design your own contractor/employee/visitor inductions. Invite online responses, automate renewals.
  4. Get participation from your workers using simple report forms on mobile devices.
  5. Manage files like accidents by creating tasks, attaching pictures and documents, associating people.

Browse this information

  1. View a 4 minute video overview. We made it ourselves. Be kind!
  2. Browse the SafetyBase website. Count the hard hats and high vis vests. Hey, people need to know it’s a safety website.
  3. Short cut to the all-important Pricing Page. (BTW, it costs less than the espresso machine).
  4. Download a PDF Fact Sheet to show to your Senior Leadership Team. They will love you for the one-page summary. A promotion may even be on the cards.
National Safety Show

You can also visit our stand at the National Safety Show, 4-5 July, Stand 80, just inside the entry door.

Call me, Simon, on 0800 000 267 or email You could be trying out this highly effective health and safety software system in minutes.


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