Construction health and safety management case study
Since 1962, Clifford Devlin has been providing specialist services to the construction industry. Now celebrating more than 60 years, the business has grown to become a leading provider of demolition, construction and asbestos management services.
Demolition has been at the core of Clifford Devlin’s business since its inception. Today the firm offers a full range of demolition services, on buildings ranging from schools and residential buildings, through to medium-rise office blocks. The business’ building division – originally established in the 1990s to support complex demolition projects – is now a multi-disciplined, stand-alone service capable of delivering complex schemes in its own right.
For nearly 40 years, Clifford Devlin has also been providing asbestos remediation to support the construction sector. A corporate member of ARCA for the last 30 years, Clifford Devlin typically works to support reactive and planned maintenance programmes for local authorities and housing associations. Today, its asbestos division numbers more than 20 highly trained operatives. The firm’s attention to detail extends to its fleet of custom-built site vehicles, with air-tight waste compartments for asbestos-containing materials (ACMs), ensuring fibres aren’t released during transit.
Clifford Devlin’s asbestos management division faced much the same challenges as other leading contractors. Legacy systems revolving around paper-bound site and project management were reducing the efficiency of its field teams. The delays in processing paperwork from its sites limited the usefulness and timeliness of the information being gathered there. And the recording and processing of mandatory safety data had grown to become a significant drain on time and resources.
With teams tasked to multiple sites and clients, Clifford Devlin needed a system that would streamline the gathering, recording and sharing of information between its site and management teams. And rather than sifting through folders of paperwork after the end of a job, it wanted the ability to generate meaningful insights during a project, allowing it to act on safety and quality issues as they arose.
In 2020, Clifford Devlin became an Assure360 customer. Assure360’s secure, cloud-based system provided the business with a modern, digital alternative to slow and onerous paperwork. The Assure360 Paperless app allowed the company’s site teams to ditch paper in favour of streamlined and efficient record keeping. The app’s ease of use has allowed supervisors to complete their mandatory checks more quickly, and freed them from the need to process and submit reams of paperwork afterwards.
Clifford Devlin also moved to the Assure360 Audit app for completing site audits. As with Paperless, Audit’s cloud data synchronisation means that information gathered on site now appears near-instantly on the office team’s web dashboards.
With no need to wait to recover site folders after a project, managers have gained a real-time view of what’s happening on their projects, allowing them to react to safety or quality issues before it’s too late to fix them. The Assure360 system also allows the business to demonstrate this better site management to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). It makes it easy to evidence that site issues are being recorded, and that appropriate actions are taken to prevent recurrence.
What the client said
For our site teams, it makes jobs easier, there is considerably less paperwork and the system is reasonably easy to use. From an office point of view it collects all the data we require and streamlines what our admin team have to do. Where we are not using paper, we are not printing out hundreds and hundreds of Permits to Work that subsequently have to be scanned for saving into our electronic post completion records, so it’s cost-effective and time-effective for both our contracts managers and our administration team. All of our project information is in one place and allows us to access what we need almost immediately.
From our dashboard in the office we can see what has written in the site diary or when a work area has been completed, without making that phone call to the site team – we can just look at the Assure job record file. We can see in real-time what’s happening on that particular job. If, for example, the personal monitoring comes back with an elevated reading, we get an email, which allows us to react straight away, identify the possible reason and take immediate action so that operatives don’t continue to work at raised levels, as opposed to finding out there has been an elevated reading after the work has been completed.
The feedback from the guys is that it’s a lot better than working with all the vast amount of paperwork they used to do. One, it’s streamlined the paperwork that they have to do on site and two, it lets them add time stamped diary entries, so that if the client raises a question or there is any other issue, we can refer back to exactly when and what happened on the job, on a particular day.
When it comes to licence renewal, the system provides us with the information to demonstrate to the HSE that where issues arise, or we have identified a problem, we have taken action to resolve it immediately. We can physically demonstrate performance, corrective action and trend analysis, as the data collected from Assure is provided to our management team at our monthly compliance meetings.
- Steven Greenhalgh
- Compliance Manager, asbestos division
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