Integral UK delivers a wide range of high- quality mechanical and electrical (M&E) engineering services and maintenance across the nation. As part of this work, Integral produces somewhere between 2,000-3,000 risk assessments every year.
We spoke to John Rain, Head of Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) for Integral UK. He leads a team of seven HSSE professionals and a team administrator, each of whom looks after a different industry sector and region of the country.
“We want to make sure our engineers have everything they need to do their job well. Digitalisation is very important to our company. As well as saving the environment and reducing paper, it gives us better data and ensures the staff in the field have access to the information they need.” John tells us.
“ The speed and ease with which RAMS can be created, shared between people, and signed off is impressive.”
However, producing risk assessments and method statements (RAMS) relied on an extremely manual and paper-based process. John explains, “The amount of time it was taking to complete RAMS was excessive, especially on our larger projects. The quality was not what we wanted and there was a lack of consistency across the different risk assessments the team were producing. It was very difficult to sit in the office and understand whether all the risks had been identified or not.”
Integral began looking for a RAMS software solution that would help to standardise RAMS for the construction side of the business. When John and the team saw HandsHQ they knew it was just what they needed.
“HandsHQ is very good at helping us to understand how we can make the technology work for us,” John states. “The speed and ease with which paperwork can be created, shared between people, signed off by the relevant approvers and accessed by more than one person at a time is impressive.”
“ Since getting HandsHQ, we’re freed to look after the important aspects of safety – not the paper and processes behind it."
Integral began using HandsHQ in 2015. The team was immediately impressed with the improvement. John explains, “We streamlined our processes and have much better consistency in our RAMS.
We can now ensure that our RAMS are kept up to date and they are freely available to the guys working out in the field on their tablets and mobile phones.”
Based on the success of using HandsHQ for RAMS on construction projects, John began talking to the HandsHQ team about how the system could be deployed in Integral’s maintenance operations. “We worked with the HandsHQ development team to get our RAMS in a position where our clients were certain our RAMS reflected all the hazards our teams face. We now use the HandsHQ RAMS software across all of Integral.”
“ Without HandsHQ’s RAMS software, we’d be smothered by paperwork. HandsHQ makes life so much easier.”
“Instead of having folders and folders of RAMS sitting on shelves which, potentially, aren’t site-specific or suitable, we now have high-quality RAMS in a single, digital system,” reports John.
In the past, RAMS would be completed at the start of a job and nine times out of ten wouldn’t be looked at again. “We think it’s absolutely crucial to Health & Safety to review RAMS regularly,” explains John. “HandsHQ has transformed RAMS from a shelved document that was never looked at to a living document. The timestamps in HandsHQ are really useful. We can send prompts out to managers to remind them when RAMS need reviewing.”
From a H&S point of view, one of the most important benefits has been the ease with which engineers and site managers can update the RAMS documentation. “If anything changes onsite or anything unforeseen comes up that might cause potential harm, we can easily update the RAMS,” says John. “We can get an update sent out automatically so it’s seen by the guys straight away. HandsHQ enables us to confirm the field engineers have seen the update and signed off on it.”
Using HandsHQ to produce RAMS has also delivered considerable time savings. It has more than halved the time it takes to produce RAMS. Even by conservative estimates, that equates to more than 3,000 hours back to the business each year.
“Without HandsHQ, we’d be smothered by paperwork. HandsHQ has made life so much easier,” says John. “We’re freed to look after the important aspects of safety – not the paper and processes behind it.”
“ Within an hour of using HandsHQ, you’re comfortable using it to create and edit RAMS.”
For maintenance work, the savings are even greater. It used to take two to three days to compile a SFG20 schedule and risk assessment for a new building contract. With HandsHQ that is reduced to half a day – saving 2.5 days on each new contract. “Plus, we have much more user-friendly documentation,” says John.
HandsHQ’s ease of use is the feature most valued by Integral. “Within an hour of sitting with the system, you’re comfortable using it to create and edit RAMS,” says John. “In just a couple of keystrokes, you can edit and adapt a RAMS to suit you.”
“Everything is brought together in one place in HandsHQ – for our RAMS, our COSHH and our SFG20 maintenance schedules,” he continues. “It’s much clearer and easier for our engineers to understand. Centrally, we have a much better idea of the substances being used across the business and the risks we’re managing. Our RAMS rejection rate has been reduced. We’re now up to 90+ percent acceptance.”
“HandsHQ makes it so easy,” John continues. “We’ve built up a great relationship with the HandsHQ team over the years. They have a very hands-on ‘let’s see what we can do to help’ approach. We’re keen to use the software to continually develop and improve and it feels that we’re driving that together. At the same time, we’re feeding back into HandsHQ development to ensure it continues to lead the field and be the software solution everyone else aspires to.”
Integral UK provides integrated facilities management services to ensure safe, compliant and resilient buildings. The company has more than 1,000 directly employed mobile engineers across the UK, with hundreds more based on sites, keeping buildings safe, operational and compliant.