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Workers want to feel safe when coming back

Many jobs require physical presence of workers at the place of work and employees throughout all industries are asking themselves about the dangers of coming back to work. As the problems of children care are slowly getting resolved by schools opening up again, still employees are feared of the possibility to get sick at work, possibly putting the loved ones at home in danger as well. Therefore, the employers are in the responsibility of providing a safe environment. If workers don’t feel safe to go back to work, they won’t – as we can see for example at Amazon, where employees went on strike because they didn’t feel that the company had their back and was doing enough to keep them safe.

Stand-alone solutions do not leverage the full potential

Right now, COVID-related tracing apps are a big hype. For the tracking of COVID-cases within Germany, SAP is working on a solution with Deutsche Telekom to support the tracking of infection chains. Other companies are also working on similar Apps to be used in a business environment but most of them share one disadvantage – they are reactive and generic. They can help in following up a case by giving possibilities to assess the amount of potential infected people and informing them to get tested, but they cannot provide an active and effective protection of the workforce, taking into account whether an individual employee might be an at-risk individual and therefore needing different instructions than other employees. How can a proactive COVID-response look like?

Integrated approach of EHS, HR and operational processes to effectively protect the workforc

When thinking about the key players that must be involved in an effective response to the COVID-19 situation in businesses, one quickly thinks of the Environment, Health and Safety (EHS)-Team, the experts at the company to ensure the employee safety. The Human Resources Team is important as the main contact point. Finally, for an effective execution the integration of the operations teams is indispensable.

Information from different disciplines needs to be combined for an effective COVID-response; Source: SAP

How does SAP support an overarching and proactive COVID-response? The key element of this equation obviously are the SAP EHS solutions. The basis for a pro-active approach are risk assessments, which can be conducted with SAP EHS Health and Safety, based on location, similar exposure group or job function, to give the company a full picture of the potential risk within the factory and define adequate controls. Connecting the Operations Teams to this information in real-time, enables quick responses, alerts in case of a potentially critical situation and support the development of appropriate risk mitigation strategies like personal protective equipment and the adjustment of shift plans and processes according to the risk assessment in the respective areas.

The SAP EHS Occupational Health solution helps to manage health surveillance protocols and can store the health history of employees and additional illness information provided by an HR solution like SAP Human Capital Management. Employees identified to be at-risk for infection or with severe medical issues can be assigned to specific health surveillance protocols following the official guidelines provided by relevant agencies (e.g. test type, test frequency, recommended treatment, absence from work,…).

The EHS-team can now match the required medical services with the available capacities, schedule appointments for employees and inform the employees right away about the scheduled appointment and provide them with additional information. The results of the medical services can be managed again in the SAP Occupational Health solution, completing the health profile of the employee. Like this, the situation for the respective employee can be evaluated again to determine the further way of action, communicate it to all necessary stakeholders and monitor the execution.

By integrating different SAP solutions, a holistic COVID-response is enabled; Source: SAP

Enhancing capabilities by leveraging IoT

SAP is not only known for providing state-of-the-art software with a strong support for integrative approaches but also to include access points for partner solution wherever they provide additional value for the customer. In this context there is a particularly high potential for supporting IoT scenarios.

As air quality can have an effect on transmission risks of COVID-19, monitoring the air quality continuously in high-risk areas is an effective risk mitigation strategy. With risk limits put in place, locations with high transmission risks can be proactively detected. With this information the health and safety practitioner of the operational team to take corrective action right away.

For mitigating the COVID-19 risk and having effective responses portable devices carries by the worker can support greatly. Portable devices carried by the workers when entering the shop floor, allow to observe the movements of workers all over the facility. Combined with SAP EHS risk assessment data, geo-fencing scenarios are possible, where the worker gets informed via vibration of the mobile device, whenever entering a high-risk area or getting within the physical distancing limits of other employees. In case of infections within the workforce, the movement history immediately identifies interactions to precisely conduct testing and other countermeasures.

Effective monitoring based on Real-Time analytics

With information changing by the minute, real-time reporting is an essential part in every response strategy. The embedded analytics tools in SAP EHS allow health and safety practitioners to get important insights whenever they are needed and provide an informative basis for a sufficient communication to employees, management and public. This supports the continuous monitoring and improvement of the risk-mitigation strategies put in place.

A tracing app can be an addition to the proactive approach, support the monitoring of the real-time illness situation and round off the COVID-response strategy with the tracing of potential infection chains.

Data protection is always ensured

Dealing with sensitive data, the secure protection of data is an important topic for SAP, which is considered during all steps of the development of for example the app or the fitness tracker approach. The SAP EHS Occupational Health solution is well established in the market and controls sensitive data by encryption and separation, so that it can only be accessed with specific authorization in compliance with existing data privacy regulations as for example the GDPR – across all SAP EHS applications.

Update your concept for workforce protection today

SAP customers can benefit by driving processes across different disciplines and merge information to ensure a secure working environment for their employees to work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The SAP EHS solutions are technically already part of S/4HANA and companies can enable those solutions easily by purchasing the respective engine license. For special use cases, SAP partner solutions can be implemented and combined with the strong backbone provided by SAP EHS solutions.

The SAP EHS solutions are the backbone of a proactive COVID-response and can be easily enabled; Source: SAP

Now more than ever - the health of workers must be a top priority

With SAP EHS solutions and the integration of HR processes and operational teams your business can profit from quick, integrated processes and an effective real-time monitoring. For further information reach out to your SAP contact or visit the SAP EHS product page. You can as well check out this episode of the Tom Raftery’s Digital Supply Chain Podcast, where SAP EHS Solution Owner Michael Censurato presents the SAP EHS solution.

Don’t lose any time and build up a pro-active Workforce protection to keep your employees and their families safe – with SAP Environment, Health & Safety Management!

Click here to learn more to learn about the proactive and holistic support of SAP Environment Health...