The Government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reported 79,000 workers suffering from work-related ill health in the construction industry in 2019 and an average of 54,000 accidents per year (based on 2016-2019 data). Quality, health, safety and environment (QHSE) managers have a tough job in the construction industry. The role of the QHSE manager has never been so important but the job is demanding, often under-valued and underpinned with reams of regulatory paperwork. QHSE managers are the champion for safety at work and yet, at times, their job is fraught with barriers.
The latest health & safety software can help remove some of these barriers and act as an enabler for effective health & safety management.
Reducing the risk without creating stress for the QHSE Manager
Construction, by its very nature, is filled with health & safety issues. Working at height, moving objects, chemicals, heavy machines, power tools and manual lifting are just some of the potential hazards on-site. Added to that, every site is different, every workforce has different experiences and cultures and management teams can be hugely varied in their views and responses to health & safety regulations.
Although it is impossible to remove all risk from these environments, the QHSE manager’s challenge is to champion the safety of the workforce above all other business needs.
On the UK Government’s website, the chair of the HSE, Judith Hackitt, summarises the QHSE manager’s approach to health & safety perfectly: “There is a need for a sensible and proportionate approach to risk management, in short, a balanced approach – this means ensuring that paperwork is proportionate, does not get in the way of doing the job, and it certainly does not mean risk elimination at all costs.”
But taking this balanced approach is easier than it seems. QHSE managers, especially in the construction industry, often struggle with complex regulatory procedures, a lack of management buy-in and long hours as they struggle to fulfil a hugely complex and wide-reaching role. The QHSE manager and the health & safety procedures that they enforce can be seen as regulatory ‘red tape’ rather than the essential protectors and enablers that they are.
Breaking barriers with the latest software
The latest health & safety software is helping QHSE managers to break these barriers and adopt a more balanced approach to health & safety management. The software helps by making tasks easier and more automated and providing new and simpler channels for communication with the workforce.
Seven ways health & safety software can help the QHSE manager onsite
Make it easier for workers to engage with health & safety processes
Although health & safety is the responsibility of everyone, workers may see these tasks as ‘necessary evils’. When this is the case, simplicity is everything. PlanRadar provides an easy way for workers to access health & safety information, assessments and reports. Team members can access everything they need through the PlanRadar app, on their smartphone, even when they are offline.
Simplify health & safety communication
Repetition is key when you need workers to ingest and remember new information. Health & safety rules and regulations are no exception. We all know that posters and easy-to-remember mantras help key points sink in and become part of the status quo. PlanRadar enables you to schedule regular health & safety reminders to responsible team members. Everyone also has access to the latest guidance when you upload specific documents, such as COSHH labelling, personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements and manual handling rules.
Provide an easy way to complete health & safety assessments
PlanRadar comes with a range of customisable assessment templates for everything from health & safety audits to fire assessments. Simply choose the template you need and adapt it to your specific needs on each site. Users can access the template and complete the assessment. They can sign the assessment digitally and store it in the Cloud as part of a complete audit trail. They can also save any issues arising as tasks and assign them to the appropriate person for action.
Quick and easy incident reporting
Anyone should be able to report a health and safety incident as soon as they see it – with PlanRadar that’s simple. PlanRadar users can raise a ticket, assign it to a manager and attach all relevant supporting information so that the incident can be dealt with quickly. Users can upload images and voice notes and attach the whole ticket to the building blueprint for easy identification.
Form an audit trail for HSE reporting
Assessments and their tasks and findings all form part of an audit trail, saved within the PlanRadar software. Information can be instantly downloaded as PDFs for HSE reporting or RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Deaths and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) evidence.
Creating a culture of continuous improvement
By analysing previous audit reports and their findings, the assessments themselves can be used to identify emerging issues. Communication can be planned around recurring incidents to prevent them from occurring in the future. You can also schedule any additional checks that you need as regularly recurring tasks in PlanRadar.
Closed-loop defect reporting and resolution
When health & safety concerns and defects are loaded directly into the PlanRadar tool, QHSE managers can track their resolution. Updates from other team members result in a full audit trail. Users can generate real-time reports to show the risk and outstanding defects at that precise moment. QHSE managers can then schedule interventions if too many risks or defects are identified. You can also report regularly, providing an overall picture for management and highlighting where risks lie.
Adopting a ‘sensible and proportionate approach’ to health & safety management
By using the latest health & safety software, QHSE managers can start to reduce some of the stresses of the role. They can meet regulatory obligations in an automated and consistent way, with a full audit trail built as they complete assessments. Pre-defined templates reduce time pressures and automated reporting enables all stakeholders to see health & safety reports in real-time. By demonstrating the impact of a strong health & safety orientated culture, with clear communication, all stakeholders can buy into the benefits that health & safety brings, as a way to protect and enable the workforce.