When workplace procedures are not followed, safety and lives can be put at risk.
Take aviation. In 2010 the American FAA closed over 900 safety incident cases and took action against more than 850 mechanics. More than one-third of those actions (36%) were associated with not using the correct technical documentation for the procedure at hand, or not following the directions included in technical documentation.
Sometimes not following procedures can even be deadly.
Between April 2006 and April 2007 in a hospital just outside of the French city of Toulouse some 145 people received radiation therapy for brain tumors. Tragically, a poorly calibrated radiotherapy machine and inappropriate control procedures led directly to the deaths of 13 of those 145 people.
Studies show that some of the most common reasons for accidents and fatalities are that information is not used and instructions are not followed.
Why does this still happen? And how can the risk of accidents be reduced, and safety improved, through the efficient use of technical documentation?
Why Do These Accidents Still Happen?
Understanding why accidents led by lack of information usage still happen despite the existence of strict procedures can be incredibly frustrating.
After all, it’s not that these procedures aren’t rigorously documented – they are. Indeed, companies invest significantly in efforts to document the right and safe procedures to follow when maintaining equipment, using tools, and servicing products. The problem, though, is not with the documentation, it’s with ensuring usage of that documentation when it is actually needed.
Sometimes the documentation exists but cannot be accessed – it might be only available in a limited number of hardcopies, or not available onsite or online.
Sometimes the documentation exists but cannot be found – the relevant information might be hidden deep in a service manual or technicians can be easily confused by the volume of similar content. Technicians and service workers are left with only their best guesses based on previous experience.
Sometimes the documentation exists but it cannot be read on the device a technician has close to hand – a 3D rendering of a machine or an engine, for example, might not display correctly on a smartphone or tablet in the field, leaving the technician to rely on imprecise 2D sketches or textual descriptions.
When the right technical content can’t get to and be read by the technician when and where they need it, accidents happen – but there’s a solution.
Content Technologies to the Rescue
Content Delivery Platforms (CDPs) are designed to serve the right content in the best format for the user. With a CDP the relevant technical content and the safest procedures are always available to the people who need them at the very moment they need them.
CDPs such as Fluid Topics are focused on the user experience with technical content. They achieve this by connecting, collecting and transforming all that content into an intelligent knowledge hub, and then deliver that content to the user in a manner that is suited to the content channel and the device that the user has in their hand.
To drive a truly efficient usage of technical documentation and reduce user risks, companies need to turn to CDPs that are specialized for technical content and benefit from dedicated capabilities. Such a CDP must:
- Handle content in any format. A CDP for tech content can deliver a detailed and complex 3D graphic to a mobile device just as easily as it can deliver text. Audio and video content, checklists and image files – a CDP with advanced viewing and reading capabilities can ingest and render any type of content so that a technician is never left to guess the best option from incomplete information
- Come equipped with a smart search engine. A CDP search engine has to understand the specificities of tech content, understand the different versions and variants of different products, and return search results that are relevant to the problem at hand. Smart search engines cut through the noise and serve results that are precise and contextualized
- Enable Offline access. Users may have to operate products and machines in remote or highly secured areas where no internet connection is available. In order to ensure user safety continuously, a CDP must enable offline access to your documentation, sync all needed content on the user’s device, and refresh it when they are back online.
Adopting the right CDP means that users will no longer be at a loss for the right procedure to follow or the correct way to configure and service a machine.
Focus on the User Experience to Reduce Risks
Technical documentation and strict procedures exist to ensure user safety – yet that same documentation is only successful in this role if it is read and followed.
New content delivery technologies like a CDP ensure that the right technical documentation is available to users whenever and wherever they need it. With a focus on the user experience and packed with features that make tech docs easy to access and read, it’s easier than ever for users to stick to the procedure, follow instructions, and keep themselves and others safe.
Want to learn more?
These ten points, and much more information on Dynamic Delivery, are detailed in a white paper Dynamic Delivery: What it is and Why it Matters.