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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Understanding the Health and Safety Managers struggle to promote a safety-conscious culture within the organisation in order to effectively manage musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace, we outline the various processes and documents that are encouraged to when reviewing organisational manual handling systems.

Understanding the challenges faced when a faulty system disrupts the functionality of the individual and organisational become detrimental to business performance. When faced with the option of improving and adapting new systems, decision makers are better placed to ask themselves whether they can afford workplace injuries or ill healths and what actions they should take to prevent them. However, much of the problem could be prevented or reduced by following existing health and safety regulations and guidance on good practice.

INTRODUCTION: Understanding Musculoskeletal Disorders.

According to the European Agency of Health and Safety at Work , Musculoskeletal disorders are injuries and disorders that affect the human body’s movement or musculoskeletal system (i.e. muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, discs, blood vessels.) They encompass  Back Pains and Injuries or Repetitive Strain Injuries.

Affecting approximately 9.6 million adults and 12’000 children in the UK, they are often normalised, however, tackling MSDs helps maintain the employees quality of life reduces the chances of disabilities and work absenteeism (Graham Stringer (2011), Hansard (1342).

An organisation’s hesitance to implement protective measures in regards to preventing workplace accidents is detrimental to business success. Throughout Britain, work-related ailments result in ove 8.9 million working days lost due to Musculoskeletal disorders, costing employers billions through  affecting workers’ performance. However, many organisations fail to successfully analyse the safety of their workforce systems, recognise potential issues and take preventive action.

Causes

Analysis and preventive action against MSDs is often difficult as there is no primary cause. Unfortunately, they do not occur instantaneously but rather occur over an extended period of time as a result of an incompetent safety management system. Instead, various factors, both physical and psychological factors contribute. These causes may contain, but are not limited to:

  • Manual handling that may include bending and twisting.
  • Repetitive or forceful movements.
  • Awkward and static postures.
  • Poor working environments (vibrations, poor lighting or cold).
  • Fast-paced work.
  • Prolonged sitting or standing.
  • High demand for work.
  • Decreased job satisfaction

Section 1:  Injury Management.

According to Health Response UK, figures show that an estimated 1.2 million people in Britain suffer work from related musculoskeletal disorder accounting for the most significant cause of absenteeism at work. Hence, developing a workforce system centred around the maintenance of an employee’s return to employment before an injury, disability or illness can effectively decrease symptoms from furthering. Ideally, effective injury management should minimise work disruptions, reduce costs and be beneficial to employees physically, psychologically and financially.

Organisations may consider implementing injury management policies, as a way to manage accidents within the workplace. A comprehensive and concise management policy must determine the process in which retention, rehabilitation and work employment will operate in the occurrence of an injury.

When constructing an injury management process, it is essential to consider the following:

Early intervention: It is vital that the organisation is equipped to identify and tackle issues at the first warning of distress. In many cases, prompt responses can prevent the symptoms from proceeding and ultimately aid in the employee’s recovery by analysing the cause and effect. With early intervention, it easier to enable the employee to work or return to work immediately, under better circumstances without further risk.  

Documenting Absenteeism:  Considering that one-third of the long-term sickness absenteeism in the UK is attributed to MSDs, it is negligible that it is a critical issue that affects business performance and legal costs in the long run. Taking this into account, the health and safety management system should ensure that adequate measures are taken into account to record and analyse information of sickness absenteeism and alert the appropriate people of these instances to enable early communication and intercession.

Seeking Professional Advice: Though most health and safety managers become very familiar with injury management procedures, it may often feel tedious seeking help for all incidents. However, it is essential to consider the costs broader implications and false diagnosis can result in. Instead,  providing the employee with immediate medical support and ensures that appropriate procedures are taken in order to manage injuries effectively. This entails seeking professional consultation from their general practitioners (GP), a physiotherapist or other appropriate medical professional to conclusively determine the most appropriate course of action for safe recovery.

Consistent Communication:  In the case of a work injury as a result of an MSD, a system supporting consistent and effective communication with the injured employee should be in place. This provides encouragement and motivation as you plan for their return to work. In some cases, interviews may be set in place to consult and include them in organising their return.

Workplace Adjustments: It is important to realise that the next step of action after a workplace injury must always be followed by the risk assessment and review of an accident investigation report. Workplace adjustments must be put in place to prevent similar re-occurrences and improve the environment, stopping further progression in the symptoms. However, as mentioned above,  medical consultation from a professional is required during this procedure.

 

 Section 2: Determining The Cost Of MSD

The management’s capability to deduce relevant and practical solutions in regards to the occurence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders is directly pertinent to their perceived impact and scale of costs (or even potential costs)  on an organisational level.

According to a survey undertaken by the HSE (1996) it was estimated that musculoskeletal disorders within the organisation typically cost (encompassing both direct and indirect costs)  employers between £590 million and £624 million annually. The expenses comprise of more than the simplicity of medical bills, compensation and time taken off work. Instead, they stretch and are not limited to the expenditure on administration and staff recruitment, damage to equipment, goods and materials, and the implications of insurance industry administrative costs for insurance premiums.

Taking this into consideration, the HSE prioritises the prevention and resolution of MSD’s within the workplace, focusing on the prevention of back pain and upper limb disorders.

Section 2.1: The Impact on Organisational Performance.

Customer’s experience – An organisation’s success is determined by the level of customer satisfaction and experience. Unfortunately, when injured employees are a result of unsafe conditions, an organisation’s ability to adequately fulfil customer demands becomes difficult. Satisfying customer expectations becomes unrealistic as they cannot be expected to do without or wait for their orders.

Ideal Clients-  Certain clients influence your profits more than others, these are called ideal clients. These clients invest in the company more than the service itself, taking into consideration the mission, values and ethics of the business. With an inaccurate safety management system, these clients might be harder to attract because of the misinterpretation of ethics.

Productivity – It’s seemingly obvious that the direct impact of most incidents within the organisation is increased absenteeism. Within absenteeism, growing costs emerge such as paid leave, medical expenses and decreased productivity, effectively reducing the incurred profits earned by the organisation.  By taking into consideration that employee wages are constituted as investments, it is essential to understand that by inputting permanent safety management tasks allows employees to work the same amount of hours and lessen the potential loss of revenue.

Company Reputation- A company’s reputation determines the level of safety and security that the outside world assumes concerning the organisation. According to research undertaken by the HSE, an estimated 43’000 cases arise each year from employees falling from a height. With inaccurate data and derived trends, it becomes increasingly difficult to resolve safety risks and hazards, ultimately increasing the detriment of the brand’s reputation. Hence, though it is realistically unachievable, there must be an internalised culture to make every customer and employee a raving fan.

Higher Turnover – An organisation is composed of three core structures, the people, the task and the technology. Hence, it is essential to understand that when employees are valued and taken care of, it builds a foundation of loyalty and motivation in such a way that the succession of an employee’s needs is directly associated with the completion of organisational goals. In practical terms, promoting a safety-conscious workplace culture decrease absenteeism, attracting and sustaining industry top talent.

Insurance premiums- The organisation’s inability to protect employees and control associated compensation costs by preventing work-related musculoskeletal injuries can cost the business tens of thousands, in medical bills, overtime pay, lost revenue or time. Without effectively putting protective measures in place, the odds of increased insurance premiums are near to inevitable. Ordinarily, insurance rates are calculated by multiplying the workers’ compensation premiums with a consonant based in the injury losses incurred over three years. Hence, when this consonant continues to augment, MSDs become increasingly costly,

Section 3: Manual Handling Risk Assessment  

Assessing the potential risks of an organisations manual handling system becomes crucial to preventing musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace. Additionally, it allows the policy to be revised with relevancy and accuracy for improvements and emphasis.

The Process:

The collection of technical information and identification of risk factors allows management to identify the potential improvements that the organisation could benefit from accurately. The procedure in which the task is carried out must be documented accurately, dissecting it to stages and summarising the information. Furthermore, occasional review systems can be put in place to reevaluate the efficiency of the improvements,

When accumulating information, it is essential to consider the type of information that is valuable and required in order to evaluate the system accurately. Ideally, it is necessary to gain a vivid understanding of the reasoning behind the process and to ensure the appropriate supervision is available during the process. This information may include:

  • The physical measurements and weight of the load.
  • Common postures during the manual handling,
  • The operational tasks and space available.
  • The duration of the work.
  • Quantified handling activities to be carried out.  

Following the collection of critical information, it is essential to evaluate the information and consider whether they could be a risk factor to the system. Recognising the risks associated with the task is critical. Additionally, each assumed risk factor must be justified by the relevant information and statistics. Common risks may include:

  • Heavy loads,
  • Repetitive force and movement,
  • Sudden force,
  • Unstable posture,
  • Obtaining the load from a strenuous height.

During staff consultation, it is crucial that a review system is set in place to ensure the information is correctly evaluated and understood. An objective review will help ensure that the suitable improvements are put in place that the staff will directly benefit from by identifying those that should be avoided and incorporated to achieve success. Topics such as the following must be considered during the meeting.

  • The effect of adopting mechanical aids – for all or part of the task;
  • Optimising the space of the work area or materials;
  • Providing sufficient, safe manual handling training technique;
  • Constructing and effectively communicating the secure system of the work plan to the staff.

Following the adoption of an improved manual handling system, it is essential that a continuous review system is put in place to ensure that the recommended improvements are actively efficient and effective, by starting the risk assessment process again.

Section 4: Preventive Action

Taking into consideration the augmenting costs of musculoskeletal disorders within the workplace, it is increasingly important to consider preventive actions to ultimately decrease the symptoms and overall chances of such instances occurring within the workplace. Unfortunately, when deciding the solutions that are worthy of implicating, it also important to recognise the numerous possible responses, hence seeking expert advice is essential for insight on severe and unusual incidents that are likely to occur.

When seeking to improve the current manual handling system and ensuring that preventive actions are being actively practised, continuous risk assessments and employee involvement must be carried out throughout the process. Additionally, it can be beneficial to consider the following and potential changes that can be made accordingly:

Workplace Layout:  The process in which the current workplace is laid out could be a contributing factor to past incidents. Investigating ways in which the environment can be improved to promote healthy working postures aid in decreasing symptoms and ensuring overall safety.

Equipment: Ideally, the equipment and tools that are used in carrying out tasks must be designed ergonomically and suit the functions to ensure increased productivity and maximise safety. In situations such as these, managers may consider the practicality of the equipment and various factors that may exert stress and pressure such as the weight of the tool, the efficiency and length of the handle and lastly the maximum grip diameter.

Workers: The effects of developing a workplace culture that encourages the awareness of these risks, while providing relevant training can bring a difference to the way protective measures are incorporated and increase employee involvement.

Management: Ultimately, management should aim to decrease the most significant cause of musculoskeletal disorder by reducing the occurrence of repetitive and prolonged tasks in poor postures. This can be done by designing a roster in which such duties are rotated and resting periods are included. Additionally, ensuring that a relevant MSD policy is documented and effectively communicated to the employees.

Section 5: What Kind of Equipment Prevents Musculoskeletal Disorders?

The suitability of equipment is often requisite to the industry the organisation is a part of. Taking the healthcare industry into consideration, apparatus often aims at maintaining the safety of patient handling. Hence, motorised patient cars are implemented to reduce strain and awkward postures when moving the patient from one area to the other. This same concept can be incorporated in various other organisations that may be in manufacturing or material handling when transporting supplies within the warehouse.

Before proceeding with the purchase of new equipment, it is essential to consider which material is most relevant to the organisational pain points. Purchase specifications can be documented outlining the proper health and safety legislation, codes, guidance and appropriate standards.

Ideally, purchases must:

  • Be environmentally friendly,
  • Be durable and non-disposable.
  • Reduce strain, pressure and awkward postures.
  • Undergo a hazard assessment.
  • Include suitable emergency stops and safety devices.
  • Meet HSE electrical standards.

Awareness is crucial when preventing the recurring incidents within surrounding organisations as well as your own. The effects of presentation expenses are minuscule in comparison to the lifelong impact that both the employee and employer suffer.

About Unisaas

At Unisaas, we offer a variety of products that are ergonomically designed to reduce the push, pull, and lift strain of these kinds of tasks. If a customer requires something uniquely designed to accommodate their use, we also build custom equipment to the customer’s specification.

Our customers are site Managers working in industries ranging from aerospace through to waste management. As part of their role managers are always looking for ways to improve Health, Safety and efficiency in the workplace and environment – our solutions introduce new and innovative ways to effectively protect your people and your environment.

We’re a specialist provider of bespoke Materials Handling equipment, helping manufacturing companies to protect their people and their environment. We do this by assessing your requirements and providing the right equipment.

Find out more at; www.unisaas.co.uk

Contact us: 020 3805 1080

References

  • Health and Safety figures show that an estimated 1.2 million people in Britain suffer work-related musculoskeletal disorder. 60% of all work-related illnesses are the result of back, neck or limb problems. Back pain is by far the most common and accounts for 119 million lost days at work.
  • Management of musculoskeletal injury is a crucial issue for every employer, from the implementation of relevant Health & Safety legislation to managing related sickness absence (real or unjustified) and injury claims.
  • 7.8 million people live with chronic pain. 49% of those diagnosed with chronic pain have been forced to take time off from work. In 1998, back pain alone cost the economy an estimated £12 billion. (Source: British Pain Society pain Survey 2005 & Pain 2000).
  • Weekly, 3000 individuals are forced to give up work due to a prolonged illness, disability or injury. 25,000 are restricted to live on benefits every year through workplace injury. The financial and social implications are enormous within society.
  • Trade Union Congress (TUC) is advising governing and professional bodied that employers should be legally bound to provide rehabilitation for employees.

https://www.healthresponse.co.uk/health-response-uk/musculoskeletal-injury/

http://www.hsa.ie/eng/Publications_and_Forms/Publications/Manual_Handling_and_Musculoskeletal_Disorders/Guide_on_Prevention_and_Management_of_Musculoskeletal_Disorders_MSDs_.pdf

https://www.ek-tech.com/case-studies/musculoskeletal-disorders-case-studies/musculoskeletal-disorders-impact-workplace-white-paper/

http://www.hsa.ie/eng/Publications_and_Forms/Publications/Manual_Handling_and_Musculoskeletal_Disorders/

https://osha.europa.eu/en/tools-and-publications/publications/factsheets/4/view

https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/fi/publications/report/2007/managing-musculoskeletal-disorders-uk

https://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/~/media/Files/Data%20and%20stats/State%20of%20MSK/PHS-08_StateOfMSKReport.ashx?la=en

http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/musculoskeletal/msd.pdf

https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/Documents/college-social-sciences/social-policy/hsmc-library/snappy-searches/MSD.pdf

http://www.arthritisireland.ie/go/fit_for_work/msds/msd_costs

November 14, 2018

IP Ratings Explained

Ingress Protection (IP) and what it means

The IP Code (or International Protection Rating, sometimes also interpreted as Ingress Protection Rating*) consists of the letters IP followed by two digits and an optional letter.

As defined in international standard IEC 60529, it classifies the degrees of protection provided against the intrusion of solid objects (including body parts like hands and fingers), dust, accidental contact, and water in electrical enclosures.

It is published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The equivalent European standard is EN 60529.

The standard aims to provide users more detailed information than vague marketing terms such as waterproof.

The digits (characteristic numerals) indicate conformity with the conditions summarized in the tables below.

First Digit: Solids (E.g. The ‘5’ in IP56)

The first digit indicates the level of protection that the enclosure provides against access to hazardous parts (e.g., electrical conductors, moving parts) and the ingress of solid foreign objects.

Level Object Size

Protected Against

Effective Against
0 Not Protected No protection against contact and ingress of objects
1 >50mm Any large surface of the body, such as the back of the hand, but no protection against deliberate contact with a body part.
2 >12.5mm Fingers or similar objects.
3 >2.5mm Tools, thick wires, etc.
4 >1mm Most wires, screws, etc.
5 Dust Protected Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment; complete protection against contact.
6 Dust Tight No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact.

 

Second Digit: Liquids (E.g. The ‘6’ in IP56)

Protection of the equipment inside the enclosure against harmful ingress of water.

Level Object Size

Protected Against

Effective Against
0 Not protected
1 Dripping water Dripping water (vertically falling drops) shall have no harmful effect.
2 Dripping water when tilted up to 15° Vertically dripping water shall have no harmful effect when the enclosure is tilted at an angle up to 15° from its normal position.
3 Spraying water Water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical shall have no harmful effect.
4 Splashing water Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect.
5 Water jets Water projected by a nozzle (6.3mm) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.
6 Powerful water jets Water projected in powerful jets (12.5mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.
7 Immersion up to 1m Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1m of submersion).
8 Immersion beyond 1m The equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which shall be specified by the manufacturer. Normally, this will mean that the equipment is hermetically sealed. However, with certain types of equipment, it can mean that water can enter but only in such a manner that it produces no harmful effects.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Within the construction industry, Health and Safety Managers struggle to surveil the various processes and documents that accumulate when reviewing organisational safety management systems. It becomes easy to assume the inaccuracy of reports forgetting to accommodate for faulty integrated data systems. Managers often end up with disjointed data that is hard to translate in real time during evaluation and decision making.

Understanding the impact of the visibility of business data and using integrated safety management software to resolve the challenges faced when trying to pull reports from varying disparate systems becomes detrimental to business performance. When faced with the option of “real” data and statistics, managers and decision-makers are better placed to ask themselves whether they can afford workplace injuries or ill health, and what actions they should take to prevent them.

INTRODUCTION: Understanding A Health and Safety Manager’s Role in the Integration of Safety Management Systems.

Ideally, an effective safety management system must be optimised to eliminate any possibility of safety risks and hazards. Implementing a coherent and effective safety management system goes beyond the construction of occupational safety and health policy programme and planning the process of accident and illness prevention. It takes into account the selection and development of the integrated system allowing for the evaluation of the competency of facilities, operations and equipment.

During the foundations of a Safety Management System, Health and Safety Managers suffer from attempting to monitor the various processes and documents that accumulate during the continuous evaluation of the system’s performance against agreed standards. However, with scattered reports of risk assessments, audits and keeping track of delegated tasks with incompatible management systems, the chances of obtaining inaccurate data increases at the cost of time and effort.

There are two central concepts to the monitoring and prevention of health and safety incidents.

  1. Active Monitoring;

This is the preventive process that refers to the monitoring of developments, installations and designs, operations of the management systems. Activities often include:

●     Staff Members evaluate PPE on a continuous basis.

●     Surveillance that is designed to identify potential health risks.

●     Inspection regimes to evaluate functional pieces of the plant.

  1. Reactive Systems;

This is often a monitored response to accidents and incidents by investigating evidence of poor health and safety practices to identify potential improvements to the methods.

●     Venturing through the evidence of accidents and incidents.

●     Keeping track of previous health absence cases.

Section 1: Managing Safety Risks (Traditional Vs Digital) .

Traditional Methods

Traditionally, Health and Safety Management systems were initially based on the pursuit of safety in the construction industry. They often commenced by investigating and analysing incidents. Hence, traditional methods of managing safety risks were geared towards reactive systems and were rarely preventive.

The extent to which an organisations auditing depicted a realistic perspective of its current health and safety management performance. This relied heavily on the accuracy, reliability, and validity of its criteria. However, this lead to the increase in tedious paperwork as the organisation sought to continually record detailed information, keeping relevant documentation in the hope that good audit performance could be obtained, and legal compliance would be met (Blewett and O’Keeffe 2011).

The performance of Safety Management Systems (SMS) was the primary focus adopting the assumption that successful SMS and safety practices directly equated to absolute safety. With this assumption, audit criteria were to be extremely specific to evaluate the organisational health and safety systems by ensuring that each safety practice was both present and capable. However, in the analysis of The Gretley Mine Accident, Hopkins (2007), concludes that “experience is now teaching us that safety management systems are not enough to ensure safety” (p 124).

Digital

Over the years, the adoption of cloud management and documentation systems have transformed the way in which Health and Safety Managers can efficiently curate accurate data improving the tedious paper trails and methods that are associated with the traditional forms of data management.

Traditionally, organisations hesitated to record immensely detailed audits as they often resulted in tedious paperwork and were primarily costly when it came to data integration. Regardless of whether this occurred in a more realistic evaluation of their performance. However, the Digital approach to data management evades the time-consuming methods of recording, compiling, distributing and integrating data. It allows for the acquisition of a vast amount of data on safety that can be evaluated subsequently. The benefits of higher efficiency and productivity include possible cost reductions of 25 per cent or more in end-to-end credit processes and operational risk, through deeper automation and analytics McKinsey & Company (2018).

Additionally, cloud data management allows for the accurate re-evaluating identifying possible correlations and trends that may increase the chances of workplace accidents/tool malfunctions. Any incorrect or misused practices can be immediately detected remotely. Results derived from the accounted data relevant to a specific point in time are available without having to expect them after days/weeks.

Section 2: Determining the Cost of Disjointed Data.

Four Principles of Effective Data Management Systems.

Data should be:

➢   Documented only once.

➢   Immediately available.

➢   Available company-wide to relevant employees.

➢   Displayed on a single application or interface.

Steps To Determining the Cost Of Disjointed Data

1.    Review and Analyse Potential Problem

By implementing a feasibility study, investigating the deficiencies in the current data integration structure and testing them against the initial criteria and goals, it is easier to construct a systematic approach to intercept the current issues. The results obtained should ideally improve the management’s ability to navigate preceding steps when advancing the system, ie.

●     What personnel, training practices and technical assets are currently in place and which resources are needed to improve the structure?

●     How long does it take to collate data from these disparate systems,?

●     How much data is left out because it’s too much hassle to retrieve?

●     Are you managing information in multiple locations?

2.    Defining in broad terms a computer-based solution or other

Following systems analysis, it is substantial to develop an accurate problem statement, outlining in broad terms the computer-based solution that may be compatible. Ideally, a problem statement helps narrow down on undiscovered needs. Hence, it should be:

User-centric; focusing on making the role as a Health and Safety Manager efficient and effective without having to dedicate excess effort.

Broadly defined; a problem statement shouldn’t outline specific technical requirements or focus on a unique approach to resolving the problem.

Manageable; Constraints and criteria be set to narrow enough to make the project manageable.

3.    Identifying the Cost of the Management System

The adoption of a new and integrated system naturally generates substantial and intangible expenditures. Tangible expenses associated with inventories are requisite when augmenting or replacing the old methods. However, intangible costs may appear in the form of efficiency, time spent on user-training, and organisational culture and workflow changes.

Tangible Costs: The Cost-Benefit Analysis allows for the direct comparison of material expenses during decision making. Possible solutions are refined by assessing the profits of the new solution against the initial expenses and ongoing costs. By assigning monetary values to these benefits, determining the merit of an advantage becomes effective and effortless.

Intangible Costs: Evaluating the intangible costs is often difficult as they are associated with attitudes and perceptions and measured with varying methods. It becomes increasingly difficult for Health and Safety Managers to be critical and honest about the fissures within the systems. Indexing intangible items and encouraging the respondents to disagree or agree on a five-point scale can be used to quantify the benefits of intangible expenses. Additional methods can be implemented to ease the effects of unpredicted liabilities such as user acceptance testing, parallel running, and user training.

4.    A management report with the selected course of action. 

Documenting a comprehensive plan is defining the project scope, analysing potential weaknesses and strengths and evaluating the economic, operational and human factors that affect possible progress determines the possibilities of a management systems success. A practical project scope should specify the goals, key personnel, resources, budgets, phases and timelines in detail. In turn, intercepting any chance of unprecedented issues arising.

Section 3: The Digital Approach.

Reason #1 – Cost Reductions

The estimated expenses of the processing and integration of various data forms on different platforms are often hidden behind the mask of initial individual costs. Hence, incorporating a digital data control system reduces the joint expenditures of auditing, user training, injury, and information management software as only one solution applies to all.

Reason #2 – Cost Avoidance

The advancements in cloud data handling systems, machine learning tools, and analytics allow for accurate real-time processing, reporting, and monitoring methods. Successively, this eases the initial integration of informational sources aids in the efficient evaluation of potential credit threats, decisions and monitoring the overall risk management process.

Reason #3 – Increased Productivity

Strategic digital technologies are considered as essential enablers of productivity and better services [Eurostat, 2016]. A digitalised management strategy optimises the effort and time taken when carrying out tasks with flexibility, efficiency, and functionality regardless of the amount of information processed. The organisation’s decision-making process when determining the adaptation and responses to external stimuli and internal demands become more calculated and fluid.

Section 4: Implementing Safety Management Data Integrated System

1.    Define and document current integration challenges and priorities

Following the completion of a detailed management report, it is essential that the problems and priorities be outlined and discussed with the service provider. Understanding the maximum and current capacity of data that may require processing and the appropriate situations is essential. With a better understanding, a tailored approach can be devised to tackle these recurring issues directly.

2.    Determine the appropriate integration design.

A common misconception when implementing new information systems is that the implementation itself will aid in an improved approach. Unfortunately, that is rarely applicable. The full benefits are obtained when the organisation is aware of the full capability of the software and grasping the relevant frameworks. A simple integration system designed to target the deficiencies within the current process is detrimental to the succession of the new solution. It is essential to consider:

○     Whether a one-way or two-way integration interface is applicable.

○     A suitable interface medium (keep in mind –

○     The checkpoints put in place to effectively monitor and control the process.

○     The security policies and measures are taken to ensure data protection.

3.    Implementing the integrated data system

The primary goal is to continually work to provide actionable and time efficient processes to ensure they are carried out accurately each time. A departmental General Management Acceleration Programme must be developed to ensure a continuous system of report and analysis. An integrated data management system should ideally allow for:

●     The creation of risk assessments, audits and any other type of document utilising a versatile Template Management system.

●     The implementation or delegation of tasks to variant users or contractors logged into the system until they are closed out.

●     Allow for the operation of multiple projects at multiple sites, stock control, record keeping and ad-hoc spending.

Pro Tip:

A follow up with the service provider may be beneficial a few months following the initial implementation to ensure that the maximum benefits are realised and to gain insight on best practices that could be incorporated to better adjust to unanticipated changes.

Section 5: Business Performance; Implications of Disjointed Data Systems.

The consideration of the scope and scale of costs (or even potential costs) of disjointed data when considered on an organisational level determines the management’s ability to deduce relevant and practical solutions on resourcing and implementing directly integrated health and safety management. Ultimately, overcoming common limitations that may arise.

In the construction industry, heightened awareness is crucial when determining the recurring accidents, illnesses and incidents within surrounding organisations as well as their own. The effects of presentation expenses are miniscule in comparison to relevant trends, evidence and statistics. However, the underlying limitations often remain unidentified until it is too late. Hence it is essential to evaluate the competence of a safety management system and its effect on the subsequent;

Customer’s experience – An organisation’s success is determined by the level of customer satisfaction and experience. Unfortunately, when injured employees are a result of unsafe conditions, an organisation’s ability to adequately fulfil customers’ demands becomes difficult. Maintaining customers becomes unrealistic as they cannot be expected to do without or wait for their orders.

Ideal Clients – Certain clients have a much more significant impact on your profits than others, these are called ideal clients. These clients invest in the company more than the service itself, taking into consideration the mission, values and ethics of the business. With an inaccurate safety management system, these clients might be harder to come by due to the misinterpretation of ethics.

Company Reputation- A company’s reputation determines the level of safety and security that the outside world assumes concerning the organisation. According to research undertaken by the HSE, an estimated 43’000 cases arise each year from employees falling from a height. With inaccurate data and derived trends, it becomes increasingly difficult to resolve safety risks and hazards, ultimately increasing the detriment of the brand’s reputation. Hence, though it is realistically unachievable, there must be an internalised culture to make every customer and employee a raving fan.

Incentives Alignment – An organisation is composed of three core structures, the people, the task and the technology. Hence, it is essential to understand that when employees are valued and taken care of, it builds a foundation of loyalty and motivation in such a way that the succession of an employee’s needs is directly associated with the completion of organisational goals. In practical terms, promoting a friendly workplace culture, decrease absenteeism, attracting and sustaining industry top talent.

Culture – Effective operational management systems create an empowering workplace culture that allows its employees to thrive. Unfortunately, the efficiency of Safety Management is not an exception, creating an environment that considers, encourages and implements safety precautions and improvement is essential. Instead of having a segmented approach to safety management, the values are integrated with colleagues to promote team spirit.

Time Management Evaluations – It is crucial to objectively evaluate your current system to identify time-consuming tasks and tools that can automate these tasks. Time becomes an expense when ineffective systems are implemented, increasing work hours and wages. Calculating the potential money saved on hours spent on tedious data integration tasks when multiplied by the number of your employees can help monetise the cost of an ineffective information management system

Revenue – By taking into consideration that employee wages are constituted as investments, it is essential to understand that by inputting permanent data integration tasks allows your employees to work the same amount of hours and lessen the potential loss of revenue due to their inefficiency.

About Unisaas

Unisaas is a cloud-based Safety Management Software designed to effectively manage Health & Safety, Assets, Contractors, Projects and much more. Our software allows real-time, detailed reporting and empowers your entire organisation to share ownership of business processes. It will enable real-time, accurate reporting & empowers your whole organisation to share ownership of business processes where all your statistics and data can be viewed on one page thanks to an interactive map, which zooms into the floorplans of every site.

Our team of experts work closely with our clients, internalising your needs and exploring suitable solutions. They create a detailed specification & work hard to tailor the software to the day to day needs of your unique business. Here at Unisaas, we prioritise functionality, efficiency, adaptability and user acceptance.

Find out more at: https://unisaas.co.uk/

Contact us: Unisaas Ltd, Kemp House, 160 City Road, London, EC1V 2NX

 

 

References

Blewett, V. and O’Keeffe, V. (2011). Weighing the pig never made it heavier: Auditing OHS, social auditing as verification of process in Australia. Adelaide.

Hopkins, A. (2007). Lessons from Gretley.

McKinsey & Company. (2018). Digital risk: Transforming risk management for the 2020s. [online] Available at: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/risk/our-insights/digital-risk-transforming-risk-management-for-the-2020s [Accessed 10 Jul. 2018].

Eurostat (2016). Cloud computing – statistics on the use by enterprises. [online] Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=Cloud_computing_-_statistics_on_the_use_by_enterprises#Factors_preventing_enterprises_from_using_cloud_computing_.282014_survey.29 [Accessed 17 Jul. 2018].

Identifying the source of inefficiencies and whether it’s worth fixing.

Chances are you’re the type of person who won’t bother to read down to the bottom of this post, so let me make my point very clear now: Do not even entertain purchasing any type of business software, ever, unless you are 110% certain that you know precisely what problem you are trying to solve, and the exact cost of leaving it unresolved. 

As the managing director and founder of Unisaas Ltd, it is perfectly within my own interests to sell our suite of business management modules. However, when clients come to us for the first time, it’s all about the demo and the functionality and then the cost (in no particular order). But this, in my opinion, is the wrong tactic.

Firstly, you cannot evaluate and choose a solution, unless you are crystal clear as to the problem. And if I am to show you a solution, I also need to be crystal clear about that same problem. We’re not in business to make a ‘quick buck’ and I have personally turned prospective clients away when we haven’t both been clear as to the problem and the solution.

We start the conversation by establishing the challenges faced in your particular industry sector and what it is you are trying to achieve. Having established this we then form a list of priorities to establish what needs resolving first, then calculate the cost of leaving these issues unresolved.

Nearly every single organisation that I speak to, the problems that they talk about actually come down to one fundamental cause – They’ve previously gone ahead and bought multiple software platforms and are having a nightmare either trying to integrate them or collating the data from systems that can’t be integrated!

Sound familiar? Here’s how to help you understand what it’s costing you NOT to fix the problem…

Are disjointed and disconnected systems wasting valuable time & money? 

Let’s just say you’re working some safety management software. In another department someone is using contractor management software. Then some of your colleagues are running project management software. Alongside of this your sales team will be using client management software, or a CRM system, and so on. You will probably be thinking of other examples.

When management wants to see a report of what’s going on, how long does it take to collate data from these disparate systems, and how much data is left out because it’s too much hassle to retrieve?

If yours is a large organisation, it would be unrealistic to say that you could be losing 50+ hours a month, at £50 an hour by the time you’ve taken into account wages and operational costs. Already we’re at £2500 per month in wasted time.

So you look for a fully integrated ERP system which costs £50,000 – £100,000 per year, because of the wonderful efficiencies it brings. But if you haven’t clearly defined that the cost of the problem is actually just £30,000 per year, it won’t be very long before your accountant establishes this and suddenly you’ve wasted more time and more money to no effect.

Are you managing data in multiple locations? 

Large organisations will likely be having this same problem across multiple sites or locations. The same data is being entered in and utilised in much the same way at different locations, yet still not properly integrated, and possible costing a similar amount over again.

This is not anybody’s fault necessarily, I don’t agree with the blame game, it’s simply because your data is disjointed and can’t quickly and easily be retrieved, collated and reported on.

Surely, as you’re reading this, the realisation is becoming clearer of just how much time and money is being wasted for no better reason than that the various software systems you may have in place, simply don’t talk to each other.

Time to integrate. 

Now I’m not going to pretend that I know how your business works or what the costs are in each department, suffice to say that for every mistake, for every hour wasted, for every task overdue, for every injury or incident, for every lost client, for every late project, for every item of lost inventory there is a cost associated to that. I think £50,000 per year would be conservative, if we’re brutally honest.

Again, you will be thinking of other more specific examples.

One thing I will say with reasonable certainty, is that for the current software systems that you are using, there is nearly always overlap in functionality. So, if you are spending, say, £50,000 – £100,000 per year on multiple software systems, and there is let’s say a 30% overlap in functionality, it’s not unrealistic to say that you are wasting £15,000 – £30,000 a year on replicated functionality.

This is over and above the £30,000 per year we thought about at the beginning of this post.

The final point to consider is the labour required in trying to manage fragmented data from systems that aren’t even designed to integrate. This is soul-destroying work and usually larger organisations will have a full-time person just to over see the manual flow of data between systems, and could quite easily be using up 10 hours a week manually importing and exporting and using excel as the medium on which to bring all this data together.

That’s 10 hours at, shall we say, £20 per hour including operational costs. £200 per week x 52 = £10,400 per year.

Total costs…

Cost of the problem – £30,000

Cost of loss – £50,000

Cost of duplicated functions across software – £15,000 – £30,000

Cost of managing data – £10,400

£105,400 – £120,400

Now this is conservative, and somewhat hypothetical I agree, but unrealistic? I don’t think so.

Is this a problem that needs solving?

Absolutely, assuming that there is a system that exists that will bring all these areas together and cost less than the problem (which there is, by the way). I wouldn’t be drawing your attention to this if I didn’t feel that there was any value in Unisaas Business Management Software.

But that is not my objective right now. I want you to understand that before any buying decision takes place, you need to understand these cost areas with extreme clarity, and only then can you decide what represents good value for money.

Once you have this clear understanding, it will help you to focus when sales guys are showing you all the wonderful functions of their systems, without paying any attention to your problems, which are currently costing you a lot of money every day.

So even if you see a product that looks the part, you will not be duped into buying it if it will cost you more than your problem. That makes sense, right? If it is going to save you money then you can be confident when presenting the solution to the board for their approval – of both the product and you.

1) Are your RAs too subjective? Unisaas allows you to collaborate with your team both up and down, so everyone gets involved and can assist in accuracy

2) Are your RAs difficult to implement? With Unisaas, you can delegate tasks to your workforce so that they can get involved in the process. We call it “buy-in”.

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risk assessment

Typically in a small business, the owner is the one who find themselves working all hours of the day and night, wearing all the hats of sales, marketing, accounts, distribution, and whatever it takes to get the job done within the constraints of a limited budget.

As the business grows, generally one of two things start to happen and this is often the way the business is shaped going forward. Either the owner continues to run their own ship, maybe hiring an “admin” type person to try and keep things tidy behind them, and continues to sail into a whirlpool of “busyness” where juggling tasks and fire-fighting becomes the norm. These business don’t generally grow very big, and if they are fortunate to stay around they will earn the owner a living at best, as well as a good old chunk of stress.

The thought of delegating tasks out to people they hardly know, being certain that only they themselves are the ones that can do the tasks as well as they can be done, is totally foreign to them. They would hardly entertain the thought.  (more…)

team safety

There’s no “I” in team. A common phrase that’s heard across a wide range of industry sectors and it’s very true, there are many teams who have been both successful and otherwise who will testify to this. In fact you don’t have to follow sport too closely to realise that a team full of superstars is not necessarily a superstar team, whereas a well organised, tight-knit unit can achieve far more in far less time.

It’s what sets the special forces apart from the regular army. You have a small team of highly trained, highly focussed personnel who implicitly trust those to the right of them and those to the left of them, those in front and those behind. How many stories are told of these small units challenging overwhelming odds to emerge victorious on the other side with minimal casualties, when the opposition who often totally outnumbered them was left decimated and defeated.

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HS tools

If you’re going to carry out any job efficiently you need tools. The right tools.

Anybody who has ever tried to carry out a job with either not enough tools, or not quite the right tools will immediately relate to the frustration of being slowed down and hampered by the inefficiency of being ill-prepared.

Even the smallest tool, a hammer or a screwdriver, can hold an entire project up if it is not made available, showing just how important it is to have the right equipment at the right time for the job on hand.

Some tools never change, or at best they may develop slightly over time. A hammer for example, has essentially remained the same for many years, just a few tweaks here and there to make them slightly more ergonomic, but that’s all. Likewise, some tools radically change or are even made pretty much obsolete, consigned to the area of “The Past” or “Traditional Workmanship”.

Health & Safety is no different.

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health and safety rubbish not needed

Don’t misunderstand me, I know full well why H&S guidelines and legislation exists, and I respect that.

What gets me is the stymied and stagnated, close-minded yet sanctimonious approach to health and safety we see in today’s industry, where safety in actual fact comes second to making sure that I, the person responsible, have covered my back with bureaucracy and red tape.

Practicality goes out the window common sense evaporates so long as I, the responsible person, can prove that I did my job and ticked all the boxes, then that’s all that matters.

Now I realise that’s a bit harsh, and I mean no disrespect to the genuine H&S guys out there who have an incredibly difficult job to do, even on a good day, but let me give you an example of what I mean…

Every week or so I pull in to my local BP garage unchecked by any security, hop out the car, and without any form of risk assessment. (more…)

Industry threats
  1. There have been more £1m+ fines in the past 12 months than in the previous 20 years combined
  2. Average fine per offence has increased 102% according to last year’s HSE report covering the year to April, with this figure set to rise once a full year’s data is available
  3. The largest fine for a breach of health and safety imposed in the year was £5m
  4. The Guideline coincides with increased sentencing powers for Magistrates’ Courts, which are now able to impose unlimited fines (imposing a £1m penalty in one recent case)
  5. 95% of health and safety cases prosecuted result in convictions while 84% of HSE initiated cases carry a financial penalty – according to last year’s HSE report covering the year to end of March
  6. Cases against directors have tripled in the year to 31 March with 46 cases. Just one employee was prosecuted in that period.

Sadly there are no Super-Heroes coming to take this threat away, it’s down to the business owners and directors to make sure they’re playing the game.

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busy, easy risk assessments

Let’s face it, most of us are pretty busy for most of the time and a lot of that time is spent in the whirlwind of day to day activity.

What we’ve found over the last 10 – 20 years is that anyone involved in Health & Safety in any way are particularly busy, to the degree where often things are perhaps not as efficient as they should be.

So when faced with the opportunity of trying to implement a new system which will improve efficiency. It often seems that the biggest barrier standing in our way is the time and resource to implement the system properly.

We are quite literally too busy to stop. We need to take a step back and put a system in place that will free up huge amounts of time!

In the blur of the whirlwind we “zero in” on the metrics that matter and focus entirely on the things that haven’t been done to try and boost output figures as best we can with what we’ve got. (Or put another way, using the stick not the carrot).

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digital risk assessments

An effective Risk Assessment process that is respected at every level, will play an important role in the safety of all the staff throughout your organisation.

Intelligent writing and recording of risk assessments plays an essential part in the success of an organisation. Not just because of the improvement in safety figures but also because of a marked improvement in culture. We explored how the methods used in industries currently are terribly outdated and ultimately have a negative impact on the overall culture of an organisation.

Paper Risk Assessments  vs Excel Risk Assessments

Paper systems – It’s fair to say that it’s unlikely that many people will go 100% paperless any time soon. However whilst this is a traditional way of recording and storing information it has inherent problems. How many of you have filing cabinets jammed full of paperwork. That is going more yellow and dog-eared as time goes on?

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H&S 2017

Over the last 3 decades it appears that workplace fatalities have been decreasing on average, year on year. However, recent data shows that this seems to be leveling off.

2016/17 saw 137 workers killed at work in the UK.

The Health And Safety Executive say that, “You do not necessarily need specific training or qualifications to carry out a risk assessment”.  The above quote by HSE possibly suggests that almost everyone (within reason) should be able to carry out a Risk Assessment of the work they are undertaking.

OK, they add a caveat to say ” you must appoint someone competent to help you meet your health and safety duties.”

The use of the word “Competent” here is of course vitally important and is there to cover your back should something go wrong, because you can then point to your “Competent” person and divert the spotlight temporarily.

So then the word “Competent” has to be defined (also conveniently vague) “A competent person is someone with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to manage health and safety.”  (more…)

unisaas health and safety technology blog

Coming from a “Tech Geek” that’s a bit of an odd title. When I say “Tech Geek” I’m talking about the type of person that loves new techy gadgets, the guy that finds himself buying the latest device or software just because…

And don’t get me wrong, technology is moving at an insane rate right now, people are talking about “Killing Robots” which puts a whole new dimension on the whole world scene. The weird and wonderful imaginations that were once consigned to the limits of Sci-Fi or James Bond films, are now becoming a worrying reality.

There’s no question that technology has a firmly established place in our society, and the correct tools in the correct context have seen huge shifts in efficiency and effectiveness that we would never have got without it. Think motor vehicles, for example. It was only just over 100 years ago that motor cars started to replace the traditional horse and cart method. Now we’re looking at fully autonomous vehicles being available in the next few years, an advancement that has developed significantly only in recent years.

But Health & Safety seems to be different for some reason. 

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Over the last 10 – 20 years I have spent the majority of my working life dealing with Health & Safety professionals in many different industries – Food, Chemical, Automotive, Steel, Aerospace, Construction, etc. etc.

The vast majority of these people are very good and able professionals whom I would happily trust if I were ever under their care from an H&S perspective.

However, they all had certain things in common.

  1. They were almost always ridiculously busy
  2. They often had massive challenges communicating their safety processes to their colleagues
  3. Despite their best efforts, staff repeatedly ignored safety advice

There are no doubt many more common denominators that you will be able to come up with, but nevertheless these guys, professionals that they are, soldiered on, focused on doing their job to the best of their ability.

The really good ones spent a lot of their time on the shop floor. Yes they were qualified and had passed their respective exams, but they understood the importance of working with the guys at the coal face, to get to grips with what these people actually do in their day to day roles.

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