Asbestos management case study
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.
Asbestech’s mission is to build a culture of safety, quality and performance that’s unmatched elsewhere in the hazard-abatement industry. A fundamental part of this commitment is an emphasis on exemplary health and safety (H&S) practice throughout every project, underscored and supported by regular auditing and analysis.
Previously, the company’s internal auditing tool was an 18-20 page document completed onsite, analysed, then filed away for quarterly review. While effective, Asbestech was seeking a way to do more with its auditing data, improving its analysis to provide fresher and more powerful insights that could further improve site safety and the quality of the work being done.
Through a longstanding professional relationship with Assure360 founder Nick Garland, Asbestech became an early customer for the Assure360 system, principally using its powerful auditing tools and personal exposure monitoring features.
Assure360 has enabled Asbestech to dramatically improve the way it audits, interprets and improves its performance on site. “The massive advantage with Assure360 is that it covers more than our previous audit form used to,” explains the Asbestech Operations Director, Phil Neville.“With Assure360 you can do a quick site inspection, you can just do a paperwork check, or you complete an in-depth site audit of all the H&S aspects which encompasses environmental practice, quality systems and everything else.”
“The data gets fed back to a central cloud-based system, so when I open it up the first thing I see is a screen with headline charts and graphs. It’s immediately apparent if there are any trends I need to look at, if there’s any particular processes that have gone awry, or if there are individuals we need to coach.”
Neville explains that the system’s visual reporting has proved an invaluable tool in providing direction and feedback during monthly meetings with contractors and supervisors. “We can bring up the visual charts and show the teams: ‘These are the kind of things that are being picked up on site so we need to concentrate on trying to improve those.’ Because it’s pie charts and bar graphs, it’s much simpler for people to understand – rather than us just showing them a big spreadsheet full of numbers.”
Crucially, rather than relying on the time-consuming analysis of paper records to spot safety trends, Assure360 provides Asbestech with a dynamic view of where to focus improvements in process, training or support. The benefits include real-time improvements to safety and performance, helping Asbestech protect workers and building users, and deliver to the high standards that it and its customers expect.
Asbestech prides itself on having continually held full asbestos-removal licences since licensing was introduced. It recently submitted its first application under the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)’s new evidence-based system.
“The licence renewal used to be that you’d send them information such as your standard procedures and H&S manuals, and then they’d come in and spend a day or two interviewing you and going through everything in great detail,” says Neville.
Under the new system, however, the emphasis is on asbestos-removal contractors to collate and send much fuller records and evidence via email. Neville explains that Assure360 helps demonstrate that Asbestech is managing its site auditing systems well. It also helps with the ‘hot topic’ of personal exposure monitoring.
“Assure360 makes it very simple to demonstrate to the HSE that we are collecting personal exposure information, that it’s all being stored on a cloud-based system, and that management see and review it regularly. We can show that we use the information from it to identify trends, but also to identify our anticipated exposure levels – which we need to draw up our method statements. Ultimately we use it to make sure we are keeping our team members safe.”
What the client said
“The HSE has stated that they expect licensed asbestos-removal contractors to be ‘exemplary’. Assure360 helps us demonstrate that we are.”
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