Safety software isn’t just another mobile app or simple program designed to improve project management and communication. It’s a complex software model and management system that can decrease incidents and save lives. So when you see safety software being advertised as “free,” it’s a good idea to adopt an attitude of caution. Free safety software may sound like a great deal, but saving money in the short run isn’t worth the risk.
The right safety software used in the right manner can change the landscape for workers operating in high-risk positions. Unfortunately, poorly designed software can have the opposite effect.
The real price of free safety software
Anyone in the tech industry knows that good software doesn’t come cheap. Developers and programmers spend hundreds of hours coming up with a design that can perform a specific function as efficiently as possible. A truly advanced software solution is a valuable tool, and its value is magnified when it helps to protect human life.
Read on to learn about the real price of free safety software.
Viruses, malware, and spyware
The dangers of free safety software start with its origin. Many of us have been around long enough to know how easy it is to download a virus disguised as something else. What we don’t realize is just how smart malicious hackers have become.
Nearly every day a new virus or form of malware is reported by major digital security brands like Symantec. Hackers want access to your personal information, and they’ve learned to appeal to your needs to get it. Free software that offers an essential service is a perfect front for someone who wants to infect your computer, collect confidential data, and make a profit off of your misfortune.
The risk increases when you’re introducing the software into a company intranet. Giving hackers access to all of your company and employee information isn’t exactly a positive ROI. In these cases, free safety software can end up costing you everything. However, when you’re responsible for the safety of the men and women you employ, hackers are the least of your concerns.
Many of us are familiar with the phrase, “you get what you pay for.” This rings especially true with low-end free safety software. A good program will allow you to track incidents, communicate with safety professionals, and identify and mitigate risks.
Risk reduction through an analysis of employee behaviors and on-site reporting is a top priority for any organization. Free (and even cheap) software rarely has a complete suite of features necessary to aid in risk management. Trusting inferior software to analyze safety data and organize necessary information can lead to inaccurate reporting. This translates into a poor safety plan, which is bad for everyone.
Complete failure with no support
Dealing with a computer crash is never a fun experience. However, when a computer crash results in the loss of data that you were legally required to report to OSHA or another government entity, it’s a thousand times worse. This can mean fines, delayed projects, and an ineffective safety plan.
Free safety software often comes with no support and lacks the maintenance updates necessary to keep it operating at an optimal level. When you purchase high-performance safety software, it usually comes with a customer support team. If something goes wrong, help is only a phone call away.
Outdated software is also prone to failure and lacks the benefit of the most recent safety best practices. This gap in information can lead to legal problems and lost information that could’ve been used to keep workers safe. Free safety software has no safety net and could leave you in the dark at a critical moment.
An unattainable learning curve
It’s easy to misuse safety software when there’s a complete lack of customer support. When you choose safety software, it’s essential that you and your employees be trained on how to properly use it. Without that training, it’s easy to overlook inputting important data. A lack of understanding also leads to misinterpretation of the information, and this results in inaccurate reporting.
Having the proper training also gives everyone using the software an idea of how it fits into their daily routines. This training is an important part of building a safety culture, and it raises awareness of the safety plan as a whole. When you try and replace a full-service safety software with something free, you risk employees not understanding how to use it.
Every organization has a duty to protect its employees; OSHA oversees this duty and it’s enforced by the judicial system. If you’re failing to provide your employees with the best safety plan possible, you could be risking criminal charges.
Trusting free software for anything related to risk mitigation and safety can put you and your employees in a bad position. It’s essential that all responsible parties be diligent in the development of a safety plan, and this is hard to do with a poorly designed program. Negligence is a very serious charge and one that can be avoided.
SafetyTek created quality software with a proven track record of reducing workplace accidents. Poorly made software that contributes to even one accident can cost you tens of thousands of dollars. The ROI you can expect for something free is often the same that you’ve invested in it—nothing.
This is by far the most serious problem associated with the use of free safety software. The goal of everyone is to make sure that every employee goes home at the end of every day in the same shape they arrived in. Any tool that makes this possible is an asset to an organization, and quality safety software can make a huge difference.
Invest in safety- it’s worth it!
Free safety software just isn’t worth it. Reach out to SafetyTek to learn more about what we can do for you. Feel free to post questions or comments below, and check out our Facebook page for more on the latest in safety!