This year has been a mixed bag for health and safety management. Highlights include the safety systems of the HSE being praised for the part they played in delivering the Olympic project safely and on time without a single fatality and for limiting construction accidents to just 0.16 per 100,000 hours worked on site, way below the industry average of 0.55.

European Safety Week focussed on bringing together safety management and employees to improve safety and productivity while the British Safety Council banged the drum for health and safety for young people.

The Health & Safety Executive’s annual stats showed that the number of major injuries at work continued to fall in the year to March 2012, as did the number of cases of work-related ill-health. That said, however, there were still 173 fatal injuries.

Sadly, we continued to see incidents like this: “Norfolk company prosecuted after risk assessment failure”, which are eminently avoidable with the right safety management systems. And even though events like this: “Excellent turnout for first Craigavon farm safety event ” are highly commendable, there’s still no accounting for the foolishness of some people: “CCTV catches worker being lifted on forklift”.

The Mythbusters panel launched this year by the Health & Safety Executive, has proved entertaining and infuriating in equal measures. Lazily trotting out health and safety as a reason for prohibiting perfectly routine activities has undermined safety rules to the extent the government thinks it acceptable to combine health & safety management with red tape for the sake of a sound-bite.

But, all told, there is much to be celebrated in the industry and here at SHE Software we’re excited at what 2013 will bring. We’re approaching a time of unparalleled opportunities in health and safety and we hope to see companies take safety management more seriously and work harder to give employees the confidence and wherewithal to do the same. Of course, it won’t be long into the New Year before preparations start for the Safety & Health Expo where we expect general technology and safety management software to play a bigger role than ever.

Technology doesn’t just improve process management, it ultimately makes it easier to be safe and therefore less of a chore for safety management professionals and staff to comply. Software has improved the way many industries operate and next year will be the tipping point for the safety industry. Happy Christmas, see you in 2013.