“In the world of construction, RAMS plays a huge part in everything,” says Jason Woodward, HSEQ Manager at PT Contractors. “But everything was paper-based when I arrived in 2017.”
At the time, the business was generating three tonnes per year in archive paperwork. Ninety-five percent of its business was won through competitive tender but many hours which could have been spent bidding for work, were instead spent producing RAMS. There was considerable room for improvement.
Jason was keen to digitalise many processes, including the production of RAMS. He believed this would save the business money, help it win new business, save a great deal of time and ensure that records could be held digitally for easy future retrieval.
"HandsHQ is a big part of the Q in my title as HSEQ Manager.”
“We spent a year in the vendor selection process,” Jason recalls. “When I saw HandsHQ, I realised it was a system that takes you by the hand. It would teach our guys how to consistently produce a quality set of RAMS.”
PT Contractors implemented HandsHQ’s cloud-based RAMS software in 2020. The company onboarded the solution during COVID, when construction was one of the few industries allowed to continue working.
“HandsHQ was invaluable through COVID,” says Jason. “We really depended on the ability to add photos. The majority of staff onsite don’t want to read through pages and pages of text. With HandsHQ we could add images so everyone clearly understood what needed to happen, exactly how and when.”
The PT Contractors team worked very closely with the onboarding team at HandsHQ to tailor their RAMS and COSHH content libraries so that they are bespoke to their business.
“We really feel that our relationship with HandsHQ is a partnership,” says Jason. “We’re not just buying a piece of software. HandsHQ shows a real understanding of our business. That partnership is crucial for people like myself when trying to change the culture.”
“HandsHQ has given us lots of lovely benefits,” says Jason. “It helps us to keep people safe onsite. Everything in the business is transparent; you can access it anywhere and anytime on any platform. HandsHQ has become a big part of the Q in my title of HSEQ Manager.”
Jason believes that the deployment of HandsHQ has supported him in improving the culture around HSEQ across the business.
“One overlooked benefit of digitalisation is that it can be a fantastic teaching tool,” Jason iterates. “This is especially true of HandsHQ. We can put it on the big screen and use it for training. This kind of collaboration helps you to fix or improve a process: to tweak it, review it and tweak it again.”
"It’s not just about time savings. At the same time, the quality and consistency of our RAMS has improved.”
Jason is clear that using HandsHQ to produce RAMS has also brought significant financial benefits to the company.
A time management assessment found that the time a site manager spends per year producing RAMS has fallen from 35 to 16 days. This time can now be redirected to proactive site management tasks.
“It’s not just about time savings,” Jason emphasises. “At the same time, the quality and consistency of our RAMS has improved. And we’re now paying our site managers to do the job they should be doing. They are walking around sites, proactively preventing errors before they happen. They can get out and measure things. As a result, we have fewer delays – so HandsHQ also brings financial benefit that way.”
“It’s too simplistic just to see the cost-benefit of time savings when producing RAMS; the savings are greater than that,” Jason continues. “We’re injury-free. We’re RTA-free. We’re operating on a different level. Customers now say we don’t want to tender for this work – we want to negotiate. Instead of most of our business coming from competitive tendering, 90 percent is now repeat business.”
"If we put HandsHQ on the big screen for clients, they’re wowed."
The improvement to the customer experience is felt and expressed across the board.
“Clients love our RAMS now,” Jason reports. “If we put HandsHQ on the big screen for clients, they’re wowed. When a client goes onto a site where we’re working, we ask them to also sign the RAMS. We hand them the tablet, they go through the photos and advice and sign it. Clients love it.”
Furthermore, PT Contractors has reduced its archive storage down to just a few kilos. As well as delivering cost savings and improving record retrieval, this is incredibly useful in audit situations. PT Contractors has achieved ROSPA Gold for the last five years and also holds ISO 45001 and ISO 9001 certifications.
“HandsHQ makes the auditing process a breeze. We can provide the records they need instantly,” Jason says. “The review and approval process is another big selling point - it’s a real step up from paper-based systems. There is complete traceability of who has approved what, and when it was approved. There is no cheating HandsHQ. As a result, there is more trust and traceability.”
“Everyone is involved,” Jason adds. “We can see people signing into HandsHQ, making comments and improving it. Over time, we can see how our RAMS are continuing to improve. We want to be the company that sets the benchmark.”
Jason concludes, “We work in very high-risk environments. It’s important for people to know they are supported. HandsHQ helps us to ensure that projects are delivered on time, on budget and without incident.”
PT Contractors is a multi-disciplinary, family-run building and civil engineering company based in Southampton, England. Founded in 1984, it works on a diverse range of projects, including some of the South’s largest local authorities, major utility companies, Government agencies and private sector clients.