The Barnwood Group has been a leading name in the construction industry involved in the highest-profile developments in Gloucestershire and beyond. Its four divisions work with household names including H&M, Cos, Jigsaw, Monsoon and JD Sports Signet Group, WH Smith and Vodafone. For the last two years, Barnwood has been using HandsHQ to create robust, consistent, RAMS across its portfolio of work. Nathanael Challacombe - Group Health, Safety, Quality and Environmental Manager for Barnwood Group - recently awarded '40 under 40' by Health and Safety at Work, discussed the impact HandsHQ has had on the business..
Before using HandsHQ, Barnwood used generic Word/Excel templates that were printed off and finished by hand for its risk assessments, method statements and construction phase plans. Further to this, each company within the group had a different template for their documents which caused inconsistency and confusion around the process.
Instead of a well-thought-out process that resulted in a bespoke document for each project, creating RAMS was more of an obstacle for the business. Nathanael said the team had a lightbulb moment when a client raised concern over the lack of a risk matrix in a RAMS that had been sent over.
“It was clear that we needed to standardise and make things simple. And that included encouraging everyone to write their own risk assessments” said Nathanael. “But for this to happen, we needed a solution that delivered consistency across the business; at the same time as improving the quality of our documents. Instead of a small change, we wanted to shift the whole culture of the organisation.”
Barnwood is dedicated to providing a safe working environment for its team, and all works are carried out in strict compliance with statutory provisions. The company is an accredited member of the Contractors Health & Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS), ConstructionLine, Safecontractor; and it been recognised as ROSPA Gold Award winners for the past three years. As such, Barnwood needed their RAMS and CPP documentation to exceed the exacting requirements set out in these programmes.
“Before HandsHQ, I didn’t know what people were writing for individual control measures. I wasn’t able to look across the whole group. As health & safety manager, I didn’t have the confidence to say that our RAMS are robust enough and that they comply with regulations” said Nathanael.
HandsHQ not only fulfilled the requirement to make creating project-specific RAMS, CPPs and COSHH assessments easy; it also delivered Nathanael central visibility and control across all of Barnwood’s divisions, which he hadn’t previously had.
“It’s simply a more efficient and robust way of working; I can see a RAMS as soon as someone creates it in HandsHQ,” said Nathanael. “It’s completely changed how we work at Barnwood. Now, when new people come into the business, they know that HandsHQ is the Barnwood way from day one.”
The platform has led to a complete step change in how workers perceive RAMS at Barnwood. Due to the simplicity of the platform, and how intuitive it is, the team at Barnwood can put a robust and compliant RAMS out to a client in a vastly reduced amount of time. And they enjoy doing it.
“What surprised me was how easy it was to roll out across the business,” said Nathanael. “The majority of people can just log in and get started; they don’t need significant training which would put a strain on our resources. I send the link, they play around on it to familiarise themselves; and most manage to create their first RAMS without any assistance. Those that do need help, instead of a 1:1 training session, it’s just a small tweak here and there. Everyone adapts to the platform so quickly.”
“Over the past few years, we’ve secured RoSPA gold awards for Health & Safety. HandsHQ is always part of our entries”
And a recent product launch from HandsHQ has made a significant impact on how the health & safety team at Barnwood operate.
“Thanks to Risk Register, I know that the control measures are the same across all of our operations. And if I need to change something, I can immediately implement that change across the business. The consistency and control are fantastic” said Nathanael.
The company has recently taken on a new Safety Manager who has the responsibility to go out to each Barnwood site and assess the operations. He is using Risk Register to add to the risk assessments across the group, to provide more up to date knowledge, and more controls.
“Barnwood is also going through the process of getting ISO 45001 and 9001 accreditation in the spring. Risk Register has helped get all our information in one place and led to the expansion of our use of the platform. We no longer use it solely for construction work, but also now for office risk assessments, transportation, legionella and fire risk prevention on site. It’s what I’ve always wanted.” said Nathanael.
“Over the past few years, we’ve secured RoSPA gold awards for Health & Safety. HandsHQ is always part of our entries; I embrace technology in managing safety on our sites, and HandsHQ is a core part of this,” finished Nathanael.