Established in 1983, Asbestech has grown to become one of the leading asbestos and hazard-removal businesses in the UK. With a nationwide presence, supported by five regional offices, Asbestech delivers the highest quality solutions for major clients in the public and private sectors. Originally focused only on asbestos removal, today Asbestech has extensive hazard-abatement expertise spanning specialisations including lead paint and ventilation cleaning. In addition, the company has expertise in reinstatement work to replace hazardous materials with modern alternatives.
Already an Assure360 customer, Asbestech was using the system to reinforce and extend its culture of safety, quality and performance. In particular, Assure360 had helped the company dramatically improve the way it audits and analyses its performance on site. However, despite enjoying increased efficiency, and having gained a more dynamic view of where to focus investments in process, training and support, operations director Phil Neville was keen to target further improvements.
In particular, Neville was aware that the Assure360 Paperless app might offer significant productivity gains, by reducing the on site paperwork burden for Asbestech’s supervisors. However, for various operational reasons – the company had yet to move forward with the upgrade.
Things changed at the peak of the Covid-19 lockdown. As Neville successfully renewed the company’s asbestos-removal licence, he realised how much adopting Paperless would have helped with the questions asked by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). At the same time, Assure360 was working on a revised Paperless app which would support Asbestech’s existing Android mobile device infrastructure, and the company became part of the beta testing programme.
Asbestech used the momentum of the lockdown to implement improvements to the way it manages jobs on site. In addition to investing in updated Android tablets and the Assure360 Paperless upgrade, the company installed remote working tools including Zoom. Doing so immediately helped increase face-to-face contact with teams using the new virtual tools, and reduced the need for staff and paperwork to travel between office and site locations.
In addition, the switch to Paperless allowed Asbestech to improve and streamline its processes on site. With supervisors no longer needing to make and manage paper records, more time was available to supervise asbestos-removal work. With data regularly synchronised to the cloud, rather than languishing in folders in the site office, contract managers gained a real-time view of supervisors’ checks, helping identify and correct any issues as they developed.
What the client said
“We used a paper-based system before. We’d do our checks then we’d have to go and finish our paperwork – it was very time consuming that way. Even so, I was a bit sceptical about using a paperless system at first. I’m not the most computer-literate person in the world.
“The new system is better. Obviously it takes a few days to get used to the app – but once you do it’s quicker. It’s exactly the same checks you’d be doing with a paper system, but you haven’t got the folder. You haven’t got the paper there – it’s just done on a small screen. It’s made my job easier.”
- Mark McGonagle
- Major works supervisor
“Paperless is a more efficient way of doing the paperwork on site. It means nothing gets mislaid or has a cup of coffee spilt over it, and you can always read it because there’s no poor handwriting to contend with. It’s very efficient.
“It wasn’t easy making changes during lockdown, but what prompted me to roll out Paperless in the middle of the pandemic was that I could see how much it would help our site teams, and also with the questions that the HSE were asking as part of our licence renewal.
“Removing the paperwork has really helped us. Now supervisors don’t need to bring reams of paperwork back to the office, which is good because that’s one vector through which the coronavirus might otherwise spread. It’s also good in terms of eliminating unnecessary travel, helping us meet the environmental commitments of our ISO 14001 certification.
“The other way in which it is a real godsend for us is that my contract managers get the information everyday, whereas before they were talking to the sites, but they wouldn’t see paperwork until they did a site visit or it came to the end of a project. Now we can see every day what paperwork’s been done – and quality check it. If one of the supervisors needs a bit of coaching on filling out his site diary effectively, we can jump on it straight away rather than wait until the end of the job.
“It has helped in other aspects of the business too. For example, we recently had a scheduled audit from the British Standards Institute as part of our ISO 45001 accreditation, and being able to run through the site info via the PC while screen sharing with the auditor made the process simple. The auditor commented that he thought the Paperless system was excellent, and that he wishes more of his clients he audits had it.”
- Phil Neville
- Operations Director
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