Since being founded in 2005, Polyteck has experienced significant growth to become one of the UK’s leading construction companies. As it grew, the company experienced frequent employee changes, generic RAMS and less than ideal document management due to the increase in work. We spoke to Polyteck’s Director of Operations, Guy Goodall, about how what was once a time-consuming, complicated process, is now a core part of the company’s safety success thanks to the relationship with HandsHQ which dates back to 2014.
“There was one word for it...haphazard.”
When undertaking the complex and high-risk work that construction companies such as Polyteck do, ensuring your health & safety documentation has been appropriately thought out is essential. The industry suffers from the largest share of fatal injuries out of any industry according to recent HSE figures. Not taking the time to fully appreciate the risks your workers face not only risks their lives, but it also puts your company at risk of significant fines and reputational damage. Polyteck had the additional challenge of also having a facilities management division, with a high frequency of work, all of which required RAMS documents.
“As with most companies, we had a pile of standard risk assessment templates and standard method statement templates,” said Goodall. “These would be copied from job to job, with edits to allow for site-specific changes.”
Goodall reported that it could take up to five days from when a document was created for it to be reviewed, rejected - which happened more frequently than they would have liked due to being too generic, or inaccurate referencing - corrected and to go through the full chain of approval.
“There was only one word for it,” continues Goodall, “haphazard. We had people coming and going on all of our sites. It was haphazard getting the information down on paper, for it to be the right format; and for that information to be correct.”
“You had engineers in the field creating the documents, then sending them to the office to understand what was written on the piece of paper. Once a document was finally approved, it would be left in a file on the site, or potentially misplaced in the office somewhere” said Goodall.
The process was laborious, long and messy and Goodall understood the need for a scalable method that could help the team work more efficiently.
Within the first ten minutes of a demonstration HandsHQ's risk assessment software, Goodall reports to being sold on the potential of the platform. “One of my initial thoughts was ‘wow, this is going to revolutionise everything’” said Goodall.
The platform was rolled out using a phased implementation to understand how it worked for Polyteck's business. As an early adopter to HandsHQ, the company was keen to gauge feedback from its clients, health & safety managers before a wider deployment.
Initially used on 2-3 projects every quarter across three organisations; the platform was then rolled out to the rest of the company. Today, Polyteck uses HandsHQ on small, planned preventative maintenance work through to £5m + projects whenever a RAMS or Construction Phase Plan is required.
Polyteck has seen the time taken to create site-specific RAMS drop from five days to two hours if the job is complex. Often, they can be created and approved within 20 minutes; and every single one is well thought out, and site-specific. As a result, document rejection has fallen from 9% to 2%, and productivity has tripled as a result. “We have a very low accident rate,” reports Goodall, “which is not solely down to RAMS, but it plays a cornerstone in that.”
“And as we are in the beginning stages of gaining our ISO 45001 accreditation, the availability of our documentation in the cloud - and not spread across offices and sites across the country - with a full audit history of changes made is incredibly valuable. Risk Register gives us security in the knowledge that everyone is always using the latest version of a risk assessment” ended Goodall.
The Polyteck Group is a London-headquartered construction and facilities management organisation working across the public and private sector.
The company prides itself on innovation, continuous improvement and best practice; and is committed to maintaining the highest standards of quality in the services it provides.