Information Services

In safe hands: New Accident and Incident Reporting system launches

The University of Edinburgh’s Health and Safety Department has launched a new system to support the reporting and recording of any accidents or incidents which affect its staff, students and visitors while working, studying and living on UoE grounds. The new system has been developed by The University of Edinburgh’s Information Services Applications (IS Apps).

Smiley face above the words 'stay safe'

The move has been prompted by IS Apps’ phasing out of a number of web applications as it ends use of a longstanding platform.

IS Apps has begun a gradual move away from using web applications development platform Adobe ColdFusion which has been a supported technology within the department for many years.

As part of the ColdFusion phase out, a project was launched to rewrite the UoE’s current Accident and Incident Reporting (AIR) system.

This project worked to replicate the functionality of the current AIR system but utilising more up-to-date applications to ensure the system is futureproofed.

It additionally reviewed outstanding issues affecting Applications Management and considered additional functional requirements defined by the Health and Safety department.

In order to create the new system, the project team migrated all data from the previous AIR system database, stored in Oracle, to its replacement – MariaDB – before decommissioning the previous AIR application.

Due to the project being one of the first ColdFusion rewrites, the team overcame a number of challenges to deliver their objectives.

This project was the first time integration of PowerBI with MariaDB had been attempted. Although it was hoped integration would be simple, idiosyncrasies within PowerBI and MariaDB created additional challenges – not least the set-up of data-flows for reporting tools.

The project team also discovered sharing of data sources to other teams required design pattern changes and identified technical expertise will be needed in future integrations to ensure that the correct data is available to end users.

Unexpected behaviour was also encountered by the team when shifting from TEST to LIVE infrastructure.

Nonetheless, all of the difficulties were navigated, and the project successfully met all of its objectives and has now gone live.

Andrew Stewart, Senior Project and Programme Manager, said: “Whilst the project experienced and overcame a number of difficulties, the entire project team worked extremely well together, found ways around difficulties, and were extremely supportive of one another.”

Essential to the success of the project was the collaboration between the IS Apps and Health and Safety departments, which was a rewarding process for all involved.

Angharad Jenkins, Health and Safety Projects Assistant, said: “As with previous IS projects, I had a very positive experience working with the project team.

“When carrying out the user testing, the developers were always happy to help clarify any questions I had and were quick to fix any issues I came across. The collaborative approach and good communication amongst the team helped to advance the project and made it enjoyable to be part of.”

Candice Schmid, Occupational Hygiene and Projects Manager and the project sponsor, said: “Apart from ensuring that our system can now continue to be supported going forward, we were also able to add more value to the users by giving them the option to develop and manage downloadable management information (MI), as well as some other small improvements to enhance the user experience.”

She added: “Working with IS Projects is always a pleasure and this project group, in particular, worked well together as a team. Moving from ColdFusion to Python, which was pretty new to everyone on the team, was a major learning curve but the project team explained the best way of taking it forward at all stages."