Asbestos management case study
The Horizon Environmental group was founded in 2011 to deliver comprehensive asbestos removal and land remediation services to the construction and public sector across the UK. Focusing on consistent high quality work and exemplary health and safety practice, the business has grown rapidly.
Today the business has expanded beyond the UK, delivering international asbestos removal services to British government sites overseas. It has also worked across Europe, Africa, Asia and in the Middle East. Horizon remains dedicated to maintaining the highest standards, upholding practices that create long-term value and enhance the firm’s reputation for honesty, integrity and safety.
As a large asbestos services company, Horizon Environmental is typically responsible for multiple asbestos-removal projects at any one time. With major clients including several NHS hospitals, projects can often be complex, and last for many weeks. In order to maintain the very high standards to which it aspires, the company uses a system of internal auditors who visit sites on a round-robin basis. In addition, an external auditor is contracted to provide regular independent audits.
Operating a business of this scale, with this level of oversight, in such a heavily regulated industry, requires a huge amount of record keeping and organisation. This is hard enough to achieve using paper-based systems, but such traditional approaches also have the effect of ‘locking up’ valuable data and insights.
Additionally, businesses using many auditors face the challenge of ensuring consistency. While multiple auditors provide a broad base of insight and experience, differing auditing approaches and report formats can make it harder to identify trends, or produce and act on consistent training needs analysis.
Horizon Environmental has long been mindful of these challenges, and aware that emerging technology could provide solutions. In 2014 it became one of the earliest adopters of the Assure360 system, leveraging the Audit app to manage audits and generate insight. In 2018 Horizon was involved in the design of Paperless, Assure360’s digital supervisor support tool, and the company became one of the launch customers for the app..
Horizon’s use of the Assure360 platform has become fundamental to its ability to manage the high volume of audits it conducts. Assure360 Audit provides a framework through which Horizon can ensure a high level of consistency between auditing approaches, obtaining meaningful and comparable results between auditors. In addition, the app helps Horizon to track and report data, providing insights that help contract managers deliver high quality outcomes on time.
Horizon was already familiar with many benefits of Assure360 Paperless. For example, the system has helped the business liberate critical safety data from site folders, allowing it to respond to process or training issues at the time they arise, rather than when the paperwork finally comes back. Under the coronavirus restrictions, however, the system proved its worth in other ways, such as by helping support remote-working staff, and showing live on-site progress to contracts managers working from home.
Most recently, Horizon benefited from Assure360’s help during its early 2021 licence renewal. By drawing on the licensing modules built directly into the database, the company was able to streamline and accelerate its application by providing high-quality reports in the required format. In addition, the Assure360 team was available to provide support and advice based on its experience with guiding other customers through the process.
What the client said
“Our internal auditors picked up the process very quickly.
“With Paperless, myself and the contracts managers really like the real-time monitoring that’s available. With your archaic, traditional site folders, you wouldn’t really get to see the bones of the project until completion – or on a longer project when we did a changeover of the paperwork. The Paperless system allows us to have that real-time monitoring and see that all the checks and everything have been done in real time.
“In Covid, where we obviously had a lot of staff working remotely, we were able to tap into the Paperless system and have a real live feed of activity on site and how things were progressing. And with the picture functionality that’s been rolled out in the latest version, that’s really, really helped in that respect as well.
“Rolling out Paperless has reduced the strain on the administrative side of the business, which obviously allowed us to allocate staff to other projects in the business, which has been massively beneficial.
“When it came to re-licensing (in early 2021), using Assure360 we could directly generate reports from the vast amount of data in regards to exposures, personal monitoring – all that kind of really technical stuff. We used those as part of our submission, our supporting evidence. We had a very good experience of the new licensing process.
“I would highly recommend the whole Assure360 system. The auditing side I think is fantastic: it allows us to have a real in-depth understanding of how our sites and staff are operating. We’ve got the training needs analysis feeding into that, which once again is extremely helpful.
“The whole system – from Audit and Paperless to the cloud-based database and what you can pull from that – I think is a really useful tool. I would highly recommend it to other licensed removal companies.”
- Tony Baker
- Operations Manager
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