Updating your Health and Safety (H&S) systems can be complicated and time-consuming. By necessity, compliance obligations have always been in a state of constant flux.
But now, with scientists discovering more about coronavirus all the time, policy makers are issuing new guidelines with more frequency than ever before. For contractors, there’s never been a harder time to stay on top of onsite H&S compliance.
A cost we can ill afford
If not managed properly, the extra time and effort needed to ensure onsite compliance will come at a high cost. When we factor in all the other costs of COVID-19 (the Office for National Statistics found that as many as 1 in 10 construction firms were operating at a loss during peak pandemic disruption), more costs are something the industry can ill afford.
A legal obligation
While H&S compliance may be more complicated in these topsy-turvy times (and more expensive) onsite compliance is more important than ever.
We all have a duty to stop the spread of the virus. We follow the guidelines to protect ourselves, others, our businesses and the economy.
But integrating COVID tracking into our onsite H&S compliance systems goes beyond a moral obligation. The government have issued specific instructions for construction sites in Working Safely During Coronavirus.
There are 7 vital considerations for contractors and inspectors that must be factored into your H&S site management systems.
(Bear in mind, the guidelines are different in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. And also, that these guidelines apply to COVID alert 1 (medium) areas. COVID alert 2 (high) and COVID alert 3 (very high) each have their own restrictions, as set out by local authorities.)
- Update your site risk assessments & ensure these are shared with your team.
- Clean site surfaces more regularly & make provisions for hand sanitisation.
- All site visitors must wear face coverings.
- Social distancing measures must be implemented on site. This will entail, for example, site analysis, additional signage & one-way systems.
- Increased ventilation – site windows and doors should be left open & ventilation systems should run constantly.
- Test & Trace – by law, most sites will have to participate in the NHS Test & Trace system.
- Those exhibiting COVID symptoms must be denied site access.
While all of these 7 points will have some impact on your H&S inspection systems and the way that you manage your site, it is arguably the Test & Trace requirement that will be trickiest to implement.
Luckily, there is an easy way to ensure compliance.
Digital H&S systems
Digital, cloud-based H&S systems have a host of benefits over outdated paper or ‘analogue’ records and checks. But during the pandemic, when the need for H&S compliance is even greater, and the requirements are more complex, digital H&S will prove especially useful. It will simplify the management of H&S, saving you time and money. It will provide schedules and notifications to ensure that onsite H&S inspections are carried out thoroughly, within deadlines. And, if it’s keeping on top of ever-changing regulations that is causing you concern, the best digital H&S systems will automatically adapt to new rules in order to keep your worksite compliant, no matter what.
Zutec Health & Safety
Zutec’s Health & Safety module is easy to use and offers a comprehensive list of features to help you maintain onsite H&S compliance throughout COVID disruption.
- Adapt to new regulations promptly – Inspection checklists will be automatically updated making it easy to maintain compliance.
- Integrated COVID compliance survey – Easily complete site surveys and checklists for COVID compliance via your tablet or smartphone. Scheduled reminders ensure checks are not overlooked.
- Labour monitoring & induction – New recruits be easily brought up to speed with your onsite H&S policy through digital induction, making sure everyone is trained to observe safe working practices. Labour monitoring keeps records of site attendance, very useful for integration and verification with the NHS Test & Trace system.
- Increase efficiency – Zutec’s Health & Safety module is easy to use and will streamline your H&S management. This means less time onsite for inspectors – vital while site capacity is limited by social distancing measures.
- Work remotely – Our cloud-based system can be accessed anywhere. This means that report analysis or data entry can be completed remotely. Communication between inspectors and contractors is facilitated through the platform too, which helps minimise unnecessary face to face contact.
Zutec’s Health & Safety module is a cost-effect way to ensure site compliance and peace of mind. With Zutec, you will quickly identify risks and eliminate hazards, significantly reducing the time and effort usually associated with a separate H&S file. All of our systems are fully integrated and easy to use. To implement COVID tracking on your site, choose Zutec Health & Safety.
Contact Zutec now for more information on our Health & Safety module.