Digitalisation is a key strategic priority for Edge Ventilation. In a sector which is traditionally slow to adopt digital technologies, the team recognises the potential of streamlining operations, to gain significant competitive advantage.
HandsHQ was recommended to Edge Ventilation’s HSEQ Manager Paddy Keeble. At the time, the business used Word documents to produce its Risk Assessments and Method Statements (RAMS). This was time consuming, took a lot of thought and was prone to error.
“Compared to what we were doing before, using HandsHQ for our RAMS and training management is a no brainer.”
Paddy understood that by moving to HandsHQ, he could improve quality and save time on RAMS production and compliance. The company made the switch in 2018, opting to implement HandsHQ’s Training Register at the same time. This was a significant step up from the existing training administration system, which relied on Excel spreadsheets.
Paddy says, “HandsHQ is easy to use. That’s important in the construction sector, where not all the workforce is tech-savvy. It produces great-looking documents. They are laid out nicely and look really professional – which the clients like.”
His favourite feature is the COSHH library, which is comprehensively prepopulated. “We capture the majority of the details via the library, but then we can tweak it to make it project specific,” explains Paddy. “When we first implemented HandsHQ, I was surprised to see how extensive the COSHH library was - even obscure records for substances found only in the ventilation industry are in there! It’s had an unbelievable impact – the records are high quality and it’s rapid.”
Altogether, Paddy estimates that using HandsHQ’s RAMS software has saved the business 3,000 to 4,000 hours. Edge Ventilation produces 160 sets of RAMS per year. As well as making it much quicker to produce a set of RAMS, the automation around updates and compliance has saved a great deal of time.
“The quality improvement has saved time too,” says Paddy. “When engineers used to send through RAMS that were poorly formatted or didn’t look professional, it required time to be spent by the management team to fix them. That doesn’t happen now. Furthermore, in the last eighteen months, I can only remember two RAMS being rejected – and that was for administrative reasons, not the fault of the system.”
Moving to a digital system for RAMS has also enabled Edge Ventilation to pull in data from client systems. This is especially important when working on larger projects and partnering with big construction firms.
Paddy states, “HandsHQ works wonderfully for us. It’s a great product and so much better than what we were doing before.”
Adopting HandsHQ’s training matrix software has delivered similar time savings back to the business for Paddy and his team. Previously, all 30 directly employed staff and the larger team of approved sub-contractors had their own file on a server. All training records were stored there, taking up GBs of space. Paddy used an Excel spreadsheet to try to keep track of training expiration for compliance purposes.
“HandsHQ integration with iHasco is phenomenal. We’re never non-compliant.”
“Now, we just set someone up on Training Register from the information captured at their induction. The alerts are all set up so that we’re automatically notified when training needs renewing,” explains Paddy. “We simply didn’t have that kind of alert before. It’s helped us to be better. We are able to be much more proactive and streamlined in the way we manage staff competencies, training and certification.”
Paddy estimates that Edge Ventilation has saved around 1,500 to 2,000 hours in the two years since using Training Register.
His favourite feature is the close integration with iHasco eLearning courses. Anyone who works for Edge Ventilation must have four basic competencies: Asbestos Awareness, Working at Height, Manual Handling and Abrasive Wheels. Whenever a competency is due to expire, Paddy receives an alert and it takes just a click of a button to remind the employee with a link to the appropriate eLearning course.
“ We’d struggle to operate without HandsHQ now. It’s made life easier for us in almost everything we do.”
“HandsHQ integration with iHasco is phenomenal. We’re never non-compliant,” says Paddy. “It’s saved us a lot of money – especially when you buy the training credits in bulk. I estimate it’s saved us £4k to £6k per year on training costs. And the time it has saved is ridiculous. It’s so quick to administer. You can book training in just one click.”
“We’d struggle to operate without HandsHQ now,” says Paddy. “It’s made life easier for us in almost everything we do.”
“Sustainability is another big priority for us,” he adds. “As well as reducing our environmental impact by going paperless, switching to HandsHQ has also helped to reduce the carbon footprint from travel. Because the system can be accessed and updated on mobile devices from anywhere, detailed information is shared in real-time. We conduct regular site visits to proactively monitor H&S Performance. And would typically print new sets of RAMS regularly due to revision changes etc. HandsHQ has allowed us to cut back on our paper usage considerably, thus positively impacting our carbon footprint”
The time saved on compliance related Administration has allowed Paddy to concentrate on new, proactive health and safety activities. The business posture around health and safety has improved as a result. This year, Paddy has launched a new initiative called “Stop. Check. Go.” It has been designed to encourage staff and contractors to think twice if they are unsure about an aspect of work. They are encouraged to stop what they are doing and to check the RAMS on their mobile device before restarting safely.
“HandsHQ enables us to be more dynamic and proactive. We can adapt better to things beyond our control.”
He explains, “HandsHQ enables us to make changes quickly – so we can implement new control measures if needed. These are shared as an update on the ground and the notifications ensure we can be confident everyone has accepted the new RAMS. These changes can all be completed within half an hour – it enables us to be much more dynamic and proactive.”
Paddy concludes, “I would – and have – recommend HandsHQ to any business regardless of size, but specifically for small and mid-size construction businesses. It streamlines your processes and it makes all of your paperwork look really professional – which clients love. It reduces the time you spend on repetitive tasks so that you can focus more on value-add activities. Without doubt, it is an invaluable tool for RAMS and training.”
Edge Ventilation is a mechanical ventilation contractor specialising in all aspects of installation including fire-rated systems, exposed installations, datacentres and national infrastructure sites as well as high-profile and bespoke construction projects. It is a Constructionline Gold Member and Alcumus Safecontractor Accredited.