Software to enhance safety

Software to enhance safety

“By implementing a risk management system and considering potential risks/events before they occur, companies ultimately save lives and money …”

So says Francois Steyn, senior implementation and training consultant at African Human Logistics (AHL), adding that these software solutions provide a means for companies to establish suitable procedures to avoid potential threats, minimise the impact of threats should they occur, and cope with the results.

“For example, in industrial operations, it doesn’t really help to simply look at incidents to see how well you’re doing safety-wise. You need to record these incidents and relate them to your risk assessments, so when a risk review is done the number of incidents that occurred will indicate how well the controls are functioning in the avoiding or mitigating of risk,” he explains.

AHL, a South African-based company, provides a local base for INX Software sales, implementations, support, and maintenance in Africa. The workforce and compliance management system caters for the mining, manufacturing, telecommunications, aviation, retail, and construction industries.

“Our INX InControl module is an event and risk management system that assists in the recording and management of safety, health, environmental, quality, security, and community-related incidents, audits, inspections, meetings, observations, and actions – often across multiple sites or projects,” Steyn points out. “It provides automated follow-ups, escalation, and scheduling for monthly reporting, as well as various analysis tools.”

He adds that INX InControl also allows the risk and incident registers to “talk” to one another. “Simply having an incident register on one platform (a software system or Excel spreadsheet) and the risk register on another (a different software system or different Excel document) is not ideal, and doesn’t provide any benefit,” he expands. 

“The risk register needs to be a ‘live’ system and needs to integrate with an incident register. Over the years, we’ve seen numerous risk registers that are more than five years old and are never updated, and that’s because a risk register in isolation offers no benefit. Companies that manage risk in this manner often do so simply because they are compelled to do so by legislation; they derive no benefit from it. The right software solution will also drive greater visibility and insights into a company’s safety culture for all managers and executives.”

Steyn emphasises that digital transformation is essential for business growth and must be considered as a top-line strategy in line with operational requirements: “It is at the forefront of corporate development; systems, business processes, and tools implemented as part of digital transformation initiatives will enable employees to enhance compliance, safety, and efficiencies in the workplace.”

IT security software is essential

Steve Flynn, sales and marketing director of ESET South Africa, says small businesses in this country are particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks, explaining, “Business owners aren’t taking the necessary precautions to protect their digital assets, often with dire financial consequences.”

ESET has been developing IT security software and services for more than 30 years and has noted worrying trends. Flynn points out that, despite the significant risks, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) seem reluctant to take the same digital preventative measures to secure their IT infrastructure as they would to protect their office equipment or company-owned vehicles.

“Just as a business owner wouldn’t underinsure a tangible business asset such as a factory, SMEs shouldn’t leave their digital assets unlocked and in plain sight of criminals,” he asserts. “In a business environment where every cent counts, preventative measures must be weighed against the costs of not having IT security protection in place. Threats arebecoming more prevalent, as there is a rise in online activity and hybrid working, across the globe and here in South Africa.”

Secret password attacks increased by an alarming 104% in less than a year, according to ESET’s 2021 threat report. That equates to 55 billion new attacks detected in less than six months. “The latest statistics make for sobering reading and underscore the high probability of South African businesses being targeted by sophisticated criminal networks,” says Flynn. “The sheer number of attacks means it’s a question of when, not if, a compromise is launched on any given business network, regardless of size.”

Estimates suggest that more than half of businesses fail within six months after a hack, making this phenomenon a critical component of business survival and success. “Worse still, 61% of all data breach victims are businesses with fewer than 1 000 employees,” says Flynn.

Even if one isn’t partaking in the cryptocurrency’s digital gold rush or navigating the dark web, those with sober internet habits can also fall prey to a data breach – and the costs are significant. “It is assumed that 10 million records can cost a business US$50 million to digitally recover and resecure. This is without the longitudinal, compounded impact of trust erosion,” Flynn highlights.

“SMEs should consider partnering with a team dedicated to continuously improving products, designed to guard against and defeat the latest cyber-risks. An ever-evolving threat can only be countered by an equally evolved framework of software countermeasures.”

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SHEQ Management

SHEQ MANAGEMENT is the definitive source for reliable, accurate and pertinent information to guarantee environmental health and safety in the workplace.
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