Construction health and safety management case study
Peter Cooper is surely one of the most experienced site workers in our industry, having begun his career aged 18, shortly after leaving school with few qualifications. During Pete’s 35 years at the coalface, the rules and guidance surrounding asbestos removal have changed markedly. Pete had already been in the industry a decade when asbestos was finally banned in the UK. And like all of us working with the material, he’s still dealing with its legacy.
Today Pete works as an asbestos supervisor for Vertex Asbestos Removal. Providing nationwide coverage from its base in Essex, Vertex provides a full range of asbestos management solutions to schools, hospitals and commercial premises, together with the offshore and marine industries.
After a couple of years working for a different licensed asbestos-removal contractor, Pete returned to work at Vertex. During his time away the company had rolled out Assure360 and begun to use the Paperless app. Not being particularly familiar with computers and technology, Pete was concerned that he may struggle to adjust to recording safety checks and managing other site information on a digital system.
Along with Vertex’s other supervisors, Pete received an introduction to the system from the Assure360 team. Supported by the growing library of instructional videos in the Help Centre, he quickly found himself learning the Paperless app and growing in confidence.
Today, Pete is an enthusiastic user and advocate for Assure360. Remarkably, through using the system, he has become more comfortable with technology in general. His new confidence has helped him adopt other solutions such as OneDrive, allowing him to work completely paper-free on site – and benefit from having more time available to actually supervise.
What the client said
In the years when I first started there wasn’t any personal monitoring as such. I never had that for probably the first 10 years of my career. There were no face-fits, you just got a full mask that could have holes in it, or cracked pipes. It just wasn’t regulated like it is now.
Wherever I’d worked before we’d used paper to record checks and manage the work. Apart from maybe having a couple of certificates on your iPhone it was all paper.
I’m not the best on computers and things, and I was a bit nervous about using Assure360 at first. We got a trial of the system, and Nick [Garland] came out and showed me how to do it, and from there I just got better and better at it. When you ring Nick he answers his phone straight away and helps you out with it. I’m clued up on it, but I’m still progressing with it – getting into all the things.
I’ve got used to Assure360 now, and it’s kind of turned me on to other things; it’s moved me over to working out how to use things like OneDrive as well. It’s done me a favour really; it’s got me used to doing things on iPads that I never thought I could have done.
I seem to have got better with technology now that I’m using it every day. I haven’t got any paperwork on my site whatsoever!
Paperless is better because you don’t worry about people spilling things on your paperwork, or the wind blowing it away, it’s always just there whenever you go back to it. And it’s quicker. When you went to fill your paperwork out it could take four or five hours, whereas with 360 it could take 20-30 minutes in the morning, then you just go back to it during the day.
I can use the free time to actually help my team: carry things and sheet up with them, whereas before I’d be sat here with my glasses on with my paperwork. It’s even better for the analysts with four-stage and signoffs and everything; no messing about with bits of paper to get the sign off – it’s all on there.
It’s a good system and I’d recommend anybody to try it. If you keep tapping at it it will come naturally to you – even for somebody who hasn’t got GCSEs or other qualifications. I prefer it to the old systems. It’s quicker, easier – everything’s better with it. You haven’t got to sift through lots of paperwork, or worry about something stupid happening to it. When I first came to work at Vertex I was handed a large hard file for every job. Assure360 is much better.
- Peter Cooper
- Asbestos supervisor
We’re really happy with how it is going – it’s much easier to plan projects and get the information to and from site. The transition over has also helped us to comply with our ISO 14001 requirements when it comes to carbon footprints etc.
- Glen White
- Managing director
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