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VMS Stakeholders Series: Safety Managers

VMS Stakeholders Series: Safety Managers Photo

When considering a visitor management system (VMS), it’s crucial to account for all stakeholders in the initiative. The reason is simple: a VMS project scope impacts processes across a number of enterprise departments. Each department should have a role in shaping how visitor logistics are structured and how they impact overall facility operations. One of those departments is Environmental Health and Safety (EHS).

Visitor safety as part of EHS processes

Consider the challenge safety professionals have. Imagine the complexity of assessing risk and minimizing hazards at a manufacturing facility in which production equipment and heavy machinery operate alongside people in a continuously dynamic environment. Despite the difficulty, safety directors have an imperative: to keep everyone on site safe, whether employee or guest. 

However, guests present a distinct challenge. Typically, guests aren’t familiar with the workplace or aware of the risks within it. They don’t know how to act, where to go, or what to do if an incident occurs. Worse, this doesn’t just put them at risk; it endangers employees as well.

VMS has a role in creating safe environments

VMS can help ensure that the procedures in place to maintain safe environments are executed across the enterprise every single time they are supposed to be. That last aspect — the consistency — make eyes light up among safety managers.

Here are some of the VMS features relevant to safety priorities and how they enhance procedures:

Emergency response: The VMS guestbook includes a roll-call feature that shows which guests remain signed in at any given time. Through the guestbook, users can alert visitors and hosts by email or SMS, and compose a message identifying a problem and communicating instructions. This can be done from any mobile device. In the event of an emergency, this clear communication channel is crucial for ensuring people don’t get overlooked in the haste of an evacuation. Once out of harm’s way, visitors can be marked safe in the guestbook. Integrating with emergency response platforms like Everbridge adds another layer to emergency preparedness and consolidates visitor information with overall emergency protocols.

Videos & documents: Safety-related videos and documents can be embedded into the guest sign-in process. This means that upon sign-in, a visitor will learn about the environment and acknowledge that they’ve been provided safety information. Automating this as part of the check-in processes helps to ensure awareness of workplace hazards, protective equipment, and emergency procedures. Those responsible for ensuring a safe environment can gain confidence that guests are informed before they step into the workplace.

Watchlists: Safety professionals can identify individuals that may pose a threat to employees and add them to internally-developed watchlists that automatically notify personnel if a restricted person tries to enter. External lists curated by third parties, including those used by enforcement agencies, can also be integrated. 

Permission bundles: In the case of an emergency, approved users can access the guestbook quick alert and notification features so that they can communicate with hosts and guests. Safety stakeholders may prefer to have a number of people granted access to these features so that they can multiply their efforts during situations when time is of the essence. 

For each of these elements, a safety manager may have an optimal configuration in mind for meeting objectives.

Get input from safety stakeholders at the outset

The EHS department should have a role in defining VMS operations related to guest safety and emergency procedures. Identifying this stakeholder’s needs, communicating the options, and integrating elements that enhance safety and automate processes for each site promises to not only satisfy this department — it promises to make the enterprise a safer place for all.