How to manage safety inspections

Inspecting equipment - Petzl

Maintenance of personal protective equipment 

In order to ensure safety equipment stays in working condition to keep equipment users safe PUWER requires it to be ‘maintained in an efficient state, in efficient order and in good repair’.

The frequency of inspection and how you should maintain equipment is defined after taking full account of the intensity of use, user competence, operating environment and manufacturer’s recommendation. Any breakdown maintenance, instructions and critical-safety information can be found within the maintenance documentation provided by the manufacturer. 

Know which equipment you have present and how to maintain it with the manufacturer data.

The Papertrail PPE directory can be used by anyone to look up any specific manufacturer data provided by Papertrail partners. Search using the name, serial number, barcode or RFID from the following manufacturers: DMM, Palm Equipment, Petzl, Singing Rock, and Teufelberger.

Who can manage safety inspections?

In accordance with PUWER, regulations 8 and 9, safety inspections should only be carried out and managed by a competent person who has been provided with sufficient training, instructions and information. In some cases, there is the option for inspections to be carried out by a manufacturer or a specialist contractor if there is a higher volume or high-risk work. You can find out more about who a competent person is here.

What to use to manage your safety equipment

When getting started with managing equipment, paper forms or spreadsheets are adequate for listing equipment, date of manufacturer, and when it was last inspected. If your inventory is growing then reliable and smart equipment management software such as Papertrail have been developed to simplify managing safety equipment. Users can create records, inspections, inspections reports, equipment inventories and add reminders to work through collaboratively. An inspection report should include the details of what is wrong and needs improvement and also details of what is in full accordance with the requirements of your policy or regulations.

A cloud-based software service allows you to access your equipment inventory from anywhere, at any time without using the internet.

Papertrail is designed for managing PPE and health and safety equipment to protect employees in your workplace. With Papertrail, you can set daily, weekly, monthly or 6-monthly inspection schedules for all your equipment, and get notified whenever another inspection is due – all inspections are stored securely in one location making them easy to manage.

You can review and improve your inspection management system today for FREE! Download our 5 Step Management System Review Workbook, created for equipment managers to ensure your PPE management system is effective.

Image from @bigwa11 (Instagram)

How to protect your working at height business

Health and safety policy statement

As an equipment manager, you are responsible for the health and safety of your business. Health and safety laws such as The Work at Height Regulations 2005 require employers and those in authority of any work at height activity to ensure that the work is properly planned, well supervised and carried out by competent people in order to protect you, your employees and the public from workplace dangers.

Write a health and safety policy 

Ensure you have a health and safety policy in place describing how you will manage safety in your business, clearly stating the roles of who is responsible. It is a legal requirement to produce a health and safety policy if you employ five or more people in your business. Prepare your health and safety policy using this article including examples and templates to help you write your own policy. 

Employers are liable to ensure the employees carrying out work are trained and competent, all equipment must be properly maintained to be used correctly. 

It is important to decide who will help you meet your health and safety duties, this must be a competent person. A competent person is someone with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to manage health and safety. Read more here on what a competent person is. 

Image result for work at height

Prevention is better than cure 

Being ahead of the game is literally a matter of life and death – when things go wrong people suffer injuries which are sometimes fatal. Therefore it is important to assess the risks and that you put measures in place to protect yourself and your employees when you are carrying out any work and never cut corners when carrying out safety procedures!

All protective equipment must be maintained in an efficient state and good repair so it protects the user, inspections should be carried out and kept up to date to ensure the job can be carried out safely.

The benefits of inspecting your equipment 

Lower risks of accidents at the workplace

Regular inspections of equipment decrease the chances of an accident happening when carrying out work, however, injuries do still happen on the job but most of them are preventable. Carrying out routine reviews of your inspection systems is a safety measure for you and your employees.

Prevent six-figure fines

Avoid huge fines and serious violations with regular inspections ensuring safety at all times.

An example of this is a construction company that was fined for placing employees at a higher risk of injury by failing to comply with work at height regulations. HSE has published this press release which explains that the company did not implement any measures in place to prevent fatal injuries. Although no accidents had taken place, as of yet, the company was fined £26,666. HSE also has other press releases related to this that you can find here.

Increase productivity

It is impossible to complete your contracted work even if only one piece of your equipment is faulty. When equipment fails your projects may be disturbed resulting in you missing deadlines. Inspections are crucial as you may not regard the seriousness of an issue until it is too late. Equipment failure can be all of a sudden or gradual, by carrying out regular inspections you can prevent disaster and replace any pieces when necessary instead of waiting for the equipment to stop working.

Papertrail is designed for managing work at height PPE and health and safety equipment to protect employees in your workplace. With Papertrail, you can set daily, weekly, monthly or 6-monthly inspection schedules for all your equipment, and get notified whenever another inspection is due – all inspections are stored securely in one location.

You can review and improve your inspection management system today for FREE! Download our 5 Step Management System Review Workbook, created for equipment managers to ensure your PPE management system is effective.


What is required in an Equipment Management System?

Inspecting equipment

A personal protective equipment (PPE) management system is a system that includes managing, monitoring and maintaining PPE. Most current approaches to PPE management fall short; using spreadsheet software, such as Microsoft Excel, and even paper-based records to complete inspections is still very common.

A PPE management system must track several variables per item, including:

  • Product name
  • Serial number
  • Purchase date
  • Inspection history
  • Latest inspection
  • Current status

Barcoding
Using barcoding software can help you easily pull up product information and details, improving accuracy and reducing human errors.

Reporting tools

Reporting is a critical feature to have in any equipment management system; the information generated quickly in reports will help you increase your efficiency and create a seamless workflow.

Features of Papertrail

Papertrail allows you to build smart checklists, conduct audits and inspections, and file reports straight from your phone. Papertrail features everything you need to keep accurate records and stay compliant.

Each record is time-stamped and can be accessed instantly and even offline to easily access and manage your equipment on the go. Synchronise your mobile device before performing inspections to complete inspections offline. Papertrail is compatible with all iOS and Android devices.

Create, manage and audit your records. Plan in customisable inspection schedules, status reports, workflows, integrations, task management, checklists and care and maintenance schedules using our app. 

Use our PPE Product Directory to look up specific manufacturer product data and equipment information is provided by the Papertrail Partner manufacturers (Papertrail partners). Search for equipment from manufacturers such as DMM, Palm Equipment, Petzl, Singing Rock and Teufelberger and import equipment data seamlessly.

We use barcodes, serial numbers and RFID technology to speed up the process of carrying out inspections and to manage a large inventory of equipment; simply scan the barcode or RFID tag so it appears on the app, then continue to complete any other information.

Quickly and simply generate reports, exports and certificates to provide the evidence you need for proving inspections and compliance.

Engage and work efficiently with your team, manage user permissions and add your team members for accountability. Easily set and restrict folder access with our user management option. 

You can read even more about Papertrail’s great features here.

Review your existing PPE management system and see how you can make your system more efficient. Download our 5 Step Management System Review Workbook, created for equipment managers to ensure your PPE management system is effective and compliant.


The Power of Inspection Checklists

image for checklists

All PPE used must be inspected for safety and compliance purposes. PPE inspection checklists are used by equipment managers to help identify tasks that require PPE, ensure staff are using the right equipment and reduce the risk of accidents or fatalities.

Why checklists are important
Checklists can be very effective when carrying out inspections. It can be challenging trying to remember everything to check when inspecting equipment if you have one item; this is a concern for equipment managers and businesses when relying on staff to carry out many tasks, inspections and jobs. Checklists provide guidelines to ensure PPE is being inspected correctly.

Checklists not only help you carry out many tasks, but they can also be used to show compliance in claims of negligence by providing evidence of a risk management system being in place. However, excessive dependence of checklists may hinder performance when dealing with time-critical situations such as a medical emergency on a work at height accident.

Intensive training for a reliable way to use checklists can help integrate more adaptive and flexible problem-solving techniques. All inspections must be carried out by a competent person with a full understanding of the potential hazards related to PPE and how to comply with regulations – read more on what a competent person is here.

Benefits of incorporating checklists in your PPE management system:

  • Checklists provide guidelines for those managing inspections and can help to keep the staff in your team organised.
  • Employees will feel a lot more confident and accountable when performing inspections when following the checklists.
  • As you are inspecting the kit following the checklist guidelines problems can be avoided before accidents occur.

Checklists available using Papertrail
We developed our checklist functionality to remind equipment managers the mandatory checks to determine the result of an inspection and to present evidence carried out to determine the equipment is safe to use. Read here for a step by step guide on how to inspect a record using a checklist in Papertrail.

Papertrail inspection checklists view
 

Checklists from manufacturers
Inspect your equipment using manufacturer checklists, we work closely with Petzl, Teufelberger, Palm and Singing Rock to easily import equipment from our PPE Directory and utilise checklists provided by equipment manufacturers. Find a list of all manufacturer checklists available in Papertrail here –  checklists are also available in Czech and German.

In addition to standard checklists, we can also create custom checklists; these can be used for anything, click here to read more about the process of creating a custom checklist.Papertrail manufacturers

We also appreciate that you may not want to use the generic inspection checklists. Don’t worry, if this is the case you just simply don’t assign the checklists to your records. The option will always remain for you to add them but won’t show until you need to use them.

If you are a manufacturer of PPE and Fall Protection equipment and you would like to make inspection checklists available to your end users through Papertrail please contact us.

Using Papertrail alongside checklists can help you significantly cut inspection times by over half! Smart PPE management systems can help reduce administrative workloads. Download a copy of the white paper for FREE on ‘How to design and develop a smart PPE management system’, created for Equipment Managers to guarantee you’re making the most of your PPE management system.

Get ready to change your view of PPE

If you know Papertrail then you’ll know we’re passionate about modernising the way personal protective equipment (PPE) is managed, to improve safety and efficiency while cutting costs.

It’s a message we try to spread in all our communications, including this blog. And it’s not just us who are banging the drum for more advanced PPE management.

DMM, for example, has been leading developments in PPE for more than 30 years, and is a big advocate for smarter management systems.

That’s why this month I’m delighted to welcome DMM’s product manager, Rob Partridge, on Papertrail’s first-ever webinar: ‘unlocking the secret to smart PPE management.’ This webinar is aimed at novice and experienced PPE managers alike and will help you:

  • See why PPE manufacturers such as DMM now recommend all their customers adopt smart management systems.
  • Understand how you can immediately save money and improve efficiency with smart PPE management.
  • Experience how quick and easy it is to implement smart PPA management systems.

The 45-minute webinar is completely free and will kick off at 4pm GMT on Thursday April 19th. Besides hearing from myself and Rob, you can get to ask us all those niggling questions you’ve been wanting to get answers to.

To make sure you don’t miss you place on this unique webinar, take a minute to sign up now and block out your diary at 4pm on the 19th. I look forward to you joining us for what will undoubtedly be a really valuable interactive session.

FREE WEBINAR – SIGN UP NOW!!

Making sure your white-knuckle experience is safe

How do you make sure your customers are perfectly safe while giving them the thrill of their lives? That’s the dilemma facing UK-based Zip World, which has built a business on pushing the boundaries of what is possible with a pulley suspended on a cable.

In 2013, for example, it established the record for the longest zip line in Europe, spanning a mile and sending riders along at more than 100 miles per hour. The following year, it opened Zip World Velocity, the first four-person zip line in Europe.

And in 2015 it inaugurated Zip World Caverns, the world’s largest fully underground zip line course. Other Zip World attractions, including Bounce Below, Zip World Fforest and Zip World London, all vie to offer thrill seekers the very best in white-knuckle rides.

Naturally, though, Zip World takes care to make sure its customers are perfectly safe all the time. Items such as carabiners and harnesses are inspected every month, while the cables and other zip line components are checked daily.

Carrying out the checks is only part of the story, though. As its business has grown, Zip World has needed to professionalise the way it recorded and stored inspection reports. So in 2014 the company introduced Papertrail to manage all of its inspection activity.

Today, the system handles more than 7,500 records on behalf of 46 members of staff, who deal with critical business functions ranging from employee qualifications and certification to the management of equipment across five venues.

The company is now enjoying a host of benefits too long to go through in a short blog post. But if you want to find out more, take a look at our new Zip World case study. And then get in touch to find out how your white-knuckle experience could be just as safe.

Contact us now for more information about how to make your business safer and more efficient.

Improving council services with better inspections

Collecting waste might not sound like a dangerous affair. But it happens to be one of the riskiest occupations in the UK, mainly because it involves operating heavy machinery and operatives working alongside large vehicles in the highway.

This means local authorities need to keep a close eye on health and safety standards in their refuse collection operations. It is important to carry out regular inspections and deal rapidly with any shortcomings.

But maintaining first-rate inspection regimes is not easy when waste collection crews are constantly on the move, often labouring outside of normal working hours with little time or opportunity to stop.

At the City of Cardiff Council, the inspection team found a way to overcome this problem: using Papertrail for its safety equipment inspection records.

With Papertrail, inspection results can be logged from anywhere, using mobile devices, and the system could be set up to trigger alerts regarding follow-up actions.

In April 2017, Papertrail was rolled out across the Council’s waste collection services, which covers two shifts consisting of 120 workers and 36 vehicles. Today, Papertrail is helping to improve the quality of Cardiff’s waste and recycling collections in many ways.

To get the full story, have a look at our Cardiff Council case study. And if you are interested in getting similar results in your organisation, then get in touch.

Contact us now for more information about how to make your organistion safer and more efficient.

Let’s help the UK make working at height safer

I’m unaware of the last time working-at-height safety was a government priority. But last month the UK Government issued a call for advice on this very topic.

More specifically, a committee investigating working-at-height injuries and fatalities put out a statement, through an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Working at Height, seeking information to understand fatal fall causes and solutions.

The committee is concerned that falls from height, and falling objects, account for the highest number of preventable fatalities and injuries across all sectors in UK industry, according to the APPG.

“The APPG will seek to understand the root causes and propose effective, sensible measures to reduce this toll and send people safely home from work,” it says.

For now, the APPG is asking industry players to provide answers to eight simple questions, such as ‘what are the primary reasons for falls?’ or ‘are there specific measures you believe are necessary?’

As a business committed to improving operational safety through improved personal protective equipment management, at Papertrail we are naturally delighted that this issue has been taken up by the UK administration.

And we are keen to spread the word so the APPG gets as much support as it can from industries employing working-at-height practices.

To get involved, take a look at the APPG’s questions and submit your responses by March 2, 2018, to appg@workingatheight.info or Working At Height APPG, 32-34 Great Peter Street, London, SW1P 2DB.

Contact us now for more information about how to make your organisation safer and more efficient.

Welsh and proud of it

Papertrail is a global company, with customers stretching from North America to Australia. We pride ourselves on offering a platform that is available anywhere, anytime. So, clearly, we are not overly preoccupied with geography.

That said, we originated in Wales and still value our Welsh heritage. Wales, after all, has a long tradition of innovation. Its mining and metallurgical industries helped to power the industrial revolution.

The country later reinvented itself as a haven for light industry and services, and in 2008 became the first nation in the world to be awarded Fairtrade Status.

More recently, Wales has also focused on the sustainable exploitation of natural resources, with activities ranging from offshore wind farm development to outdoor leisure activities.

Today, Wales is the third-best recycling nation in the world and 43% of its electricity comes from renewables.

This environmental focus, coupled with the relative strength of the Welsh rural economy, made Wales the perfect birthplace for a personal protective equipment (PPE) innovator such as Papertrail.

We have grown up with a keen appreciation of the challenges faced by outdoor workers and we have baked that know-how into our platform: Papertrail was designed from the ground up to be easy to use in the field.

And this ethos seems to be working well with local customers. Notwithstanding our global client base, some of our biggest users are based in Wales. We serve renewable energy companies, public sector bodies and PPE providers across the country.

Take DMM, for example. DMM’s carabiners, ropes, pulleys and other PPE products are sought after by outdoor enthusiasts and working-at-height firms alike. But keeping records of the life history of each item can be an onerous process.

We are both leaders in our fields, with a reputation for quality and customer service. Now Papertrail helps DMM’s large corporate customers save up to around GBP£50,000 a year.

It’s a similar story with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. The hospital group has locations all around our Conwy head office.

But it’s not the location that counts, so much as a spirit of innovation that has seen the Health Board use Papertrail as a key tool in improving operating theatre safety. We are pleased to be part of its success.

Speaking of innovation, perhaps nothing beats the technology operating out to sea at Gwynt y Môr. Offshore wind energy barely existed a decade ago, yet today it is helping to power thousands of Welsh homes… with a little help from Papertrail.

Thanks to our platform, says Justin Grimwade, business information manager at Gwynt y Môr’s owner, Innogy Renewables UK, “we are able to improve our health and safety posture by streamlining processes and information.”

As an innovative business, we’re obviously glad to see any organisation using our platform in new ways like this. As a Welsh company, though, we’re particularly delighted to see our country leading the way.

Contact us now for more information about how to make your business safer and more efficient, no matter where you are.

Could greener energy yield a ‘safety dividend’?

The UK energy system ended last year on a high note. According to the National Grid, 2017 was the greenest year ever for electricity in the country. Renewable energy sources provided more power than coal for around 90% of the year.

This is clearly great news for those concerned about climate change. But increasing the UK’s reliance on renewable energy may have another, less obvious advantage, linked to safety.

Coal, oil and gas are all hard to get out of the ground. They can catch fire or explode when handled. And they are major sources of air pollution. This all means they can have a significant impact on health.

Coal, for instance, is thought to cause 100,000 deaths per trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity, which is about the amount that Russia consumed in 2014. For the same amount of electricity, oil kills around 36,000 people. Natural gas results in 4,000 deaths.

The death rates from renewable energy, meanwhile, are comparatively small. Rooftop solar panels, which are made in pristine lab conditions and have practically no pollution or maintenance risks during operation, have a mortality rate of 440 per trillion kilowatt-hours.

Wind power is even safer, with a mortality rate of just 150 per trillion kilowatt-hours. Naturally, these figures should not discourage renewable energy companies from striving to improve safety.

But it is also clear that simply switching from fossil fuels to wind and solar could cut energy sector-related deaths by two or three orders of magnitude, which is a major achievement.

The key, of course, will be for the wind and solar industries to maintain or improve their safety records wherever possible. This won’t happen automatically.

On the contrary, even though wind and solar are inherently safer than coal, oil or gas, the fact that renewable energy sectors are growing rapidly means special emphasis needs to be placed on keeping safety standards high while scaling up production.

Part of this will need to be through improved training and policies. Part of it will be through the application of technologies ranging from drone-based inspections to personal protective safety equipment management systems, such as Papertrail.

Provided renewables firms make sure this remains a priority, the move to clean energy could deliver a safety dividend as well as better deal on climate.

Contact us now for more information about how to make your wind business safer.