How We Integrated Safety With Office 365

Hannah Stewart
Hannah Stewart
February 8, 2021
Sponsored by: Pro-Sapien
NAEM research shows IT disconnect is a top challenge facing Environmental, Health & Safety teams today. In fact, there’s a 56% chancethat includes you. So, read on to discover how South Jersey Industries, a utilities company in New Jersey, solved the problem.

With 1,100 employees, South Jersey Industries (SJI) delivers safe, reliable, affordable energy to over 700,000 customers in New Jersey.

The company’s wide range of activities is supported by the Safety team which develops, plans and implements extensive industrial safety programs across SJI.

In 2019, the American Gas Association recognized SJI as an Industry Leader in Accident Prevention for their low DART rate within the utilities industry. However, an inefficient method of managing data still challenged the Safety team.

In other words, the lack of IT integration so many EHS professionals suffer from. Moreover, with IT now relied on more than ever due to COVID-19, disconnect can be an even bigger problem.

Here, Craig Stewart, Director of Safety & Quality, shares how his team found a solution.

Addressing the time-consuming, disconnected spreadsheets

For SJI, ‘disconnected IT’ meant collating safety data from across divisions and departments using paper forms, emails, and Excel spreadsheets.

Described by Craig, the company was losing time at almost every step of the process:

“Each month, we spent a great amount of time entering incidents data into an Excel spreadsheet. Not only was this time consuming, but it led to numerous data errors.

“In addition, because Excel is not designed to contain all that we needed, the file became very large and unstable. It would often freeze and crash, causing more time delays.

“Furthermore, the data we did manage to maintain was not connected to any other IT systems, so it wasn’t easy for the safety team to disseminate information across the business.”

EHS professionals know all too well that this is not uncommon. SJI’s scenario is just one example, but independent analyst Verdantix found that disconnected IT systems pose a significant challenge for 78% of EHS respondents.

Similarly, NAEM reports that when EHS professionals look for new software, IT integration is the top concern.

Recognizing this cumbersome approach as unsustainable, Craig looked to implement a more connected system.

Integrating Safety with Office 365

“We first learned of Pro-Sapien in a safety publication article outlining the benefits of a consolidated safety software system. From there, we researched the solution and were excited to learn that it ‘checked all the boxes’ of what we were looking for and so much more.”

Recently, SJI had made a strategic investment in Microsoft Office 365. The company was successfully using the platform in several ways, including for documents and email—but not yet for safety.

Therefore, when Craig and the Safety team came across Pro-Sapien, it was a no-brainer. Pro-Sapien’s Safety Software is Office 365-based, accessed through SharePoint Online.

Together with Pro-Sapien, SJI set about solving the IT disconnect in several ways:
  • Integration with Active Directory for the up-to-date org hierarchy
  • Access through the SJI SharePoint with single sign on (SSO)
  • Familiar interface easy for users to adopt
  • Forms, libraries and dashboards all on a single platform
  • License structure not prohibitive to allow all employees access
  • Configuration in all areas of the software to match SJI processes
Subsequently, SJI rolled out Pro-Sapien across the group in 2020. The Safety team was able to replace inefficient IT systems and connect Safety to the rest of the company.

Involving all employees in Safety through IT

Already in the early stages of using Pro-Sapien, SJI is seeing many benefits:

  1. More time for proactive activities

    Instead of wasting time on manually entering safety data, the team is freed up to work on proactive tasks such as developing job safety analyses and new safety training.

  2. Greater visibility across the organization

    Drill-down visuals have been added to corporate SharePoint dashboards, so there is now greater access to safety metrics and performance across the company.

  3. Rollout of a formal Near Miss program

    Using Pro-Sapien as the key tool, SJI is seeing a positive impact from capturing near misses, investigating the causes, and sharing lessons learned.

Overall, Craig identifies the widespread visibility into safety performance as the biggest benefit:

“Before, the organization only saw what the safety team had time to distribute. Now, safety information is right there on corporate dashboards along with our corporate financial performance and operations performance.

“Having safety front of mind and having the entire organization aware of our safety performance leads to greater involvement in the safety program by all employees."

Advice for Safety peers on the hunt for IT integration

Unfortunately, industry research shows that many companies still face the same problems as SJI did.

Ditching—and avoiding—disconnected IT takes planning. So, for Safety peers at those companies, Craig offers this helpful advice:

“Do your homework and involve your IT team in the evaluations. You may find a product that looks excellent from a safety perspective, but later find it doesn’t integrate well from an IT perspective.

“Involving other departments really allowed us to identify the best solution for us as an organization. We couldn’t be happier with Pro-Sapien and we’re excited for the things we can now accomplish.”

In an increasingly IT-dependent world, safety leaders like SJI are pulling ahead in making EHS as easy as email.

Learn more about Pro-Sapien’s EHS Software on Office 365 and read the Office 365: An EHS Portal No-Brainer? whitepaper to discover if it’s right for you.

About the Author

Hannah Stewart
Hannah Stewart
Hannah Stewart is the Communications Manager at Pro-Sapien, providers of EHS software on Office 365. Having joined the company in 2015, Hannah’s responsibilities include collaborating with clients to measure their successes with Pro-Sapien products and to share their achievements with the EHS community. In addition to this, Hannah works closely with industry analysts to understand trends and match Pro-Sapien solutions to emerging EHS challenges.

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