On Aug 21, 2017 at 11:34 AM the first incident record flowed into the EHS Analytics platform. For EHS this was a landmark event as we had finally gone live with our brand new, bold and crazy idea – use multi-organisational environment, health and safety data to eliminate serious injuries and fatalities.
EHS Analytics was built to remove barriers to collecting, analysing and collaborating on multi-organisational environment, health and safety (EH&S) data. This was a brand new concept and we didn’t know if it was going to work.
When we hatched the idea in 2015, putting your data in the cloud was scary enough let alone allowing it to be part of an industry data set. It felt like we were taking a real gamble.
As we built out the technology we constantly sought validation and verification of the idea. We spoke with anyone who would listen including every safety association in Canada and many companies in construction, oil and gas, manufacturing and forestry. Everyone was excited by the idea which was enough to keep us coding. The feedback included phrases like “brilliant idea, this is necessary” and “it’s about time someone created something like this”.
So, why is this necessary? The long answer will be covered in future blog posts, but the short answer is that reductions in injury rates are stagnating (there have been almost no improvements since 2010). Serious injury and fatality rates are not going down much and, in some cases, they are climbing. Most Organisations are simply “record keeping” with EH&S data and are unable to do much (i.e. find answers) with that data. All that valuable data sits fallow and siloed.
The answer to moving the needle on serious injury and fatality reduction requires data. Lots and lots of data. This is the reason we created EHS Analytics.
Coming out of our initial build phase, we found kindred spirits in the BC Forest Safety Council and a group of progressive safety professionals working at Canada’s largest lumber producers. They were, and still are, part of an industry group working to achieve workplace environments free of injuries, incidents and near miss events. This group, called Manufacturing Advisory Group, realised that they needed data to take their initiative to the next level and address the “difficult to identify” problems that can turn into catastrophic events. The challenge would be to get their CEOs to agree to share data.
EHS Analytics worked to address barriers to data collaboration. Security, privacy, taxonomic (terminology) variability, and integrations had to be considered and solved. The CEOs agreed to sign-on and collaborate with their firm’s raw safety data. The EHS Analytics platform and the ‘crazy’ idea had become a reality.
Since our initial launch in 2017 attitudes towards data, it’s value and organisations’ desire to benefit from it have changed monumentally. We no longer hear refrains like “we’re not ready yet” or “my data is my competitive advantage”. We now hear comments like “we need more data!” and “I need better data to do my job.”
EHS has matured too. Since our inception in 2016 the company has been quietly adding sophistication to the platform. We’ve built machine learning algorithms to line up taxonomies, automate integration and identify incorrectly classified data. We’ve streamlined the UI, added support for many new data types and constructed a mobile app.
The best part of our mad experiment has been building our team – an amazingly brilliant and super skilled team.
We really don’t think there is another company like ours out there. We’ve managed to pair broad safety domain knowledge, advanced analytical know-how, cutting edge software developers and crazy talented data scientists…and they are all dedicated to the cause.
Beyond coding, we’ve been experimenting and researching. EHS isn’t just about collecting data, it’s about extracting insight from that data. We’ve had some pretty astounding findings which we will be releasing over the coming weeks.