Digitisation accelerating safety in government
By Lou Boyle, National Manager - Local Government at Teletrac Navman
Friday, 01 April, 2022
Transformation comes from the top. It begins with the attitude and behaviour displayed by leadership and flows into an organisation’s core values.
Government agencies are faced with stringent regulations, tight budgets and deadlines, and the need to consider environmental impacts. With the pressure to provide vital services to the public in such demanding conditions, safety can be overlooked.
Using outdated systems to meet safety standards is inefficient and creates a big hurdle for the sector and its frontline workers. New technology can help bridge the gap between safety and efficiency, but only if leaders embrace digital transformation and set the tone for a safe work culture.
Creating a culture of safety
Employees are an organisation’s biggest asset. And for the public sector, like local government councils, equipment is a close second. Maximising asset utilisation is key to a project’s success; embedding a culture of safety protects your greatest assets and helps your organisation minimise risk while providing public services.
With governments needing to account for every dollar spent, safety can be de-prioritised and left up to the individual or blanket organisational policies to safeguard against risk. However, for policies to be effective, there need to be leaders driving accountability and values through actionable measures. Organisations need solutions that are fiscally sound and achievable on a long-term basis while significantly reducing the safety risks for their drivers and other road users.
Similarly, employees need solutions that support them in meeting deadlines while ensuring their choices align with organisational values and policies. Councils and agencies are rapidly moving towards a digital future, and leading technologies such as telematics and cloud-based solutions are proving integral for digital transformation in public sector fleets. The technology offers organisations the ability to achieve successful safety outcomes with GPS tracking, fatigue management, real-time dangerous driving alerts and more.
How digitisation is accelerating safety
Organisations now have the opportunity to invest in technologies that will reduce costs through more efficient operations while helping to embed a much-needed focus on safety at an individual and collective level.
Technologies are rapidly advancing and evolving to cater for workplace woes. They are providing leaders with large-scale flexible solutions at a lower cost. Embracing the benefits created by digital transformation will give organisations more opportunities to champion the culture they desire, which is essential when operating under public scrutiny. Digital systems produce actionable data and insights, allowing leaders to continually assess their policies and operations and be agile and adaptable to make changes that benefit their people.
Implemented digital solutions creating a safer workplace
Understanding the benefits of a safe workplace and valuing their employees was the catalyst for Murweh Shire Council to address risks to their staff, constituents and equipment.
Murweh faced the challenge of providing residents with a better service and ensuring vehicle maintenance and driver safety remained a priority. With the need to cover 40,700 square kilometres of council land, telematics and next-generation fleet management software was the answer.
John Wallace, Workplace Health and Safety Advisor at Murweh Shire Council, spoke about the benefits telematics has had in their line of operations saying, “[The use of telematics] means we can see our people, wherever they might be, and keep them safe while they’re out on a job. We’re also able to message them through their in-cabin device and stay in touch when they might be outside of regular comms range to make sure they’re alright or divert them depending on circumstances.
“We’re in constant contact with council workers, even when they’re four hours away from the depot on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.”
Safety extends beyond visibility
Safety goes beyond just aiding driver navigation and ensuring reliable communication. Using technology to generate reports and insights on vehicles’ performance and driver behaviour gives public sector fleet managers a clear view of their operation and the ability to fine-tune corrective actions.
Having instant access to data is one of the great benefits digital transformation delivers, helping government agencies implement a culture of safety and compliance while providing an efficient, cost-effective service to the public.
But a safe work environment is more than just compliance — it is also value-driven by leaders and communicated across the organisation through action. By adopting new technologies, organisations will prompt a cultural and behavioural shift towards embedding safe work practices from an individual level to a collective level and, at the same time, take a step closer to their digital future.
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