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.

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.

Floating wind: let’s not let safety sink

Last month was a momentous one for those of us who work alongside the renewables industry. The world’s first floating offshore wind farm began delivering electricity to the grid.

Located about 25 kilometres off the coast of Peterhead in Scotland, the Hywind Scotland project is not particularly far from shore. But floating turbine designers aim to go much, much further.

The whole point about floating foundations is they can be towed out to places where the water is too deep for existing bottom-attached structures. That extra distance means far more energy can now be harvested from the wind above the waves.

But it also means construction and operations teams must travel further to get on site, and there is greater distance to travel in the event of an incident.

So while the advent of floating offshore wind is great news for the industry, it also means project owners will need to revisit safety protocols and procedures.

As part of this, it will be vital to make sure all personal protective equipment (PPE) is properly maintained and checked.

Many offshore wind operators are already switching from manual inspection tracking methods to smart PPE management systems such as Papertrail.

It’s a move that not only improves safety, but also boosts efficiency and reduces costs, both of which are important considerations in the ongoing struggle to cut the levelised cost of energy for offshore wind.

Recent developments might mean it is a good idea to float the idea at your company, too.

Find out how one offshore wind contractor is maintaining an unblemished safety record with help from Papertrail.

Meet the companies managing PPE in a smarter way

A+A logo

Safety should always be top of mind in the workplace. But the upcoming A+A international trade fair and congress is a good excuse to make sure your health and safety systems are all up to scratch and in line with the latest best practice.

The show is always a great way to learn about safety-enhancing products and to exchange tips with industry peers. And if you look after personal protective equipment (PPE), it’s not just new products you should be checking out.

Companies around the world are also benefiting from smarter PPE management systems, which can help cut costs while improving safety.

The Australian working-at-height training firm 5th Point, for example, uses Papertrail to overcome what it calls the “daunting prospect” of inspecting industrial rope access equipment.

5th Point relies on equipment provided by DMM, which offers Papertrail as its standard PPE management system for customers.

Using the system, “you’re looking at saving up to 90% of your administration time during an inspection,” says Robert Partridge, product manager, without having an impact on health and safety standards.

That is probably why it has been adopted by companies whose workers operate in some of the harshest conditions in the world.

Technicians at Offshore Painting Services, for instance, maintain wind turbines out in the North Sea and cannot afford to work with faulty PPE.

The company uses Papertrail to help safeguard the integrity of its equipment, and has yet to suffer a lost-time incident despite logging hundreds of thousands of on-site man-hours.

If that’s the kind of PPE safety record you would like for your company, then book a demo or join us at A+A in Düsseldorf, Germany, from October 17 to 20.

  • Visit Papertrail at A+A at the DMM (Hall 6/F40) and SingingRock (Hall 6/C48) stands.

A Milestone For Papertrail: Inspections Reach 2,000,000

papertrail-two-million-inspections

Myself and the team at Papertrail are proud of our adventure background and fiercely proud of helping keep people safe along with our environmental responsibilities. When we took the concept of Papertrail to reality, the solution we had in mind was to deliver:

  1.  A technology that reduced the amount of paper being used in the trail of inspections for checking assets and safety procedures. The risk being loss of paper, or too much paper used, wasn’t just bad for the environment but it also increased risk with too many human steps in the process.
  2. A solution that made the whole inspection process a lot easier and therefore we could do more with the limited time we had. This was a fact of life, not enough time, too many tasks!
  3. Because of the insurance implications and regulatory pressures, the solution was to improve accountability and increase information transparency. This didn’t just speed up time of delivering what was needed and reduce frustration, it also demonstrated control.

Continue Reading…

5 Safety Regulations You Need to Know

Working at height

Why you must inspect equipment and keep records

As an Equipment Manager, it is necessary to inspect any equipment where there could be risks to health and safety. A risk assessment should be carried out to determine if there is any need for inspections and routine maintenance to ensure the continued safety of your colleagues. Inspections must be recorded and evidenced, a management system like Papertrail can help you complete inspections in a clear, efficient and systematic way.

mandatory-regulations

Regulations to be aware of

There are five main regulations that businesses with safety equipment must consider: 

  1. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  2. The Personal Protective Equipment At Work Regulations 1992
  3. PUWER 
  4. LOLER (if you’re using lifting equipment)
  5. WAHR (if you’re working at height)

1. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA, the HSW Act, the 1974 Act or HASAWA) is the main piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in the UK. The act clarifies the general responsibilities of everyone from employers and employees to owners and managers of the workplace for maintaining health and safety.

2. The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992

The Personal Protective Equipment At Work Regulations 1992 is a set of regulations created under The Health and Safety Act placing liability on the employer to ensure suitable personal protective equipment has been granted for those who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety at work.

3. Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)

These regulations aim to make work safer for anyone using and coming in contact with equipment, this includes employers, employees, contractors, suppliers and people who may need to access any equipment. The regulation ensures that equipment is kept in good order and that maintenance, training and inspections are carried out to suitable and sufficient levels to identify if the equipment can be used. 

4. Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)

LOLER places responsibilities on people and companies who own, operate or have control over lifting equipment. If any lifting equipment is provided you must manage and control the risks to avoid any injuries or damages.

5. The Work at Height Regulations (WAHR)

Falls from height is one of the biggest causes of deaths and major injuries for the work at height sector. The Work at Height Regulations was introduced to prevent death and injury caused by a fall from height.

Are you complying with these regulations?

Papertrail helps businesses to comply with health and safety regulations, as well as saving time on inspections and reduce risk.

Using Papertrail allows you to inspect several items and add inspections to multiple records at once, this saves you more time in comparison to logging inspection records individually. Read more on the features of Papertrail that can help you complete inspections and keep accurate records. 

You can review and improve your equipment management system today for FREE – created for Equipment Managers. 

Download our 5 Step Management System Review Workbook and discover how Papertrail can meet your safety management needs.

5 Steps to review your PPE Management System

PPE Management for Contractors: What you need to know

Climbing at height

What is PPE and when should it be used?

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is equipment designed to protect the user against health and safety risks at work. There is a vast range of PPE that provides different types of protection for the user. PPE can be used to protect the eyes, head, body, hands and arms, feet and legs and in high-risk places, the lungs. It can incorporate items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses.

Wearing and using PPE is required when employees or contractors are undertaking high-risk work. So, if you or your team are working at height, that’s classed as high-risk work. It is essential for everyone in the workplace to understand the importance of identifying and wearing the appropriate equipment. Carrying out a risk assessment identifies the hazard(s) that may occur and help to determine what equipment is needed. PPE must be regularly inspected for safety and compliance purposes.

PPE inspections on paper

How to manage work at height PPE

Whenever PPE is used, a detailed record must be created inclusive of the employee’s name, the equipment item, and the date. Many equipment managers create a simple spreadsheet – which indeed will suffice and introduce accountability amongst staff members. However, the more equipment you use results in an expansion of data that must be recorded, this can increase the risk of errors and the amount of time spent documenting inspections.

Volume of equipment graph

The management is often overlooked even though it is necessary when using any equipment, using a PPE Management System can boost the confidence in inspections and management of critical safety equipment.

Who is responsible for PPE?

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (1992) clearly states, according to Regulation 4, “Every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work except where and to the extent that such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective.” Therefore, according to the law, it is the employer’s responsibility to protect the employee by providing the correct PPE. The regulations also require that the equipment is fit for its objective by correctly assessing it, maintaining and storing the equipment following the manufacturer’s instructions, and utilising it accurately.

It is crucial for equipment owners to look after PPE and to provide suitable storage facilities when it is not in use to keep it clean and in proper condition. Contractors must ensure equipment is kept clean and in excellent repair, following the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule to discover shelf life and replacement periods. Intricate repairs and maintenance should only be completed by specialists, however, simple maintenance of PPE can be carried out by a trained user. Suitable replacement parts for PPE should always be readily available; it is also worth keeping a disposable supply of equipment for any potential visitors and third-party contractors that may be required to wear protective equipment.

Who is responsible for training and compliance?

Employers hold responsibilities concerning the provision and use of PPE supplied for employees. Wherever there is a risk to health and safety, employers are accountable to provide appropriate PPE alongside training to their staff members.

When selecting and using PPE, contractors should use equipment that is CE marked to prove it complies with the regulations. Employers should take the size, fit, and weight of the equipment into consideration when choosing equipment that suits the user; employers are expected to provide appropriate training in its usage. Employees should be informed as to why PPE is required, when to use it, how it can be replaced, and who/how to report any damaged equipment.

Complying with regulations is effectively a joint effort between the contractor and the employee. The contractor is accountable for training, ongoing development and supplying the appropriate equipment, whereas the employee ensures that training is working in practice, the equipment is stored safely and maintained, and that any incidents or faults are reported and fixed properly.

Papertrail User Management for PPE

How Papertrail can help you manage PPE

Papertrail is designed to reduce your workload, increase your productivity and manage health and safety inspections globally. Easily create and manage hundreds of items of equipment records in minutes, our PPE management system allows you to add: your entire equipment inventory – regardless of size, inspection evidence, manufacturer checklists, set reminders and notifications and manage your team’s user permissions. Read more about the features to make your management system work for you!

Are you effectively managing your PPE?

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.

5 Steps to review your PPE Management System

Counterfeit PPE: CE Certificate Checklist

carabiners

Counterfeit or illegal items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the market are on the increase. It was initially reported by the BBC over three years ago and referenced by British Safety Industry Federation

Supplying fake PPE can be life-threatening as often this equipment does not perform as they should, compromising users and exposing your organisation to a risk of harm or prosecution. Established equipment manufacturers such as DMM and Petzl are often the targets of counterfeiters looking to make a quick buck from users who are simply looking for replacement equipment to keep them safe.

Papertrail partners with equipment manufacturers such as DMM, launching a revolutionary new technology that helps counteract the rising problem of counterfeit PPE using RFID chips built into equipment at the point of manufacture to provide a durable and scannable unique identify. Read more on how DMM ID helps prevent the use of counterfeit PPE here.

Common types of counterfeit PPE 

Equipment that is popular and easy to reproduce are often targets for counterfeiters; please note: all types of equipment can be counterfeit versions. Examples of counterfeit PPE that have been found to date include anchors; ascenders; descenders; carabiners; dynamic ropes; harnesses; climbing equipment; helmets; goggles; ear defenders and many others. 

Read Petzl’s article with guidance on how to deal with fake equipment. Following these steps:

  1. Immediately remove the equipment from service. 
  2. Contact your in-country equipment supplier. 

How to spot counterfeit or illegal PPE

CE (Conformité Européenne) Certificates are the hardest piece of PPE to fake. All PPE must be supplied with instructions for use and be appropriately tested and marked with a CE marking – without it, the product is illegal to use as protective equipment in the workplace. 

CE Certificate Checklist 

If you answer ‘No’ to one or more of these questions, then contact your PPE suppliers immediately for advice.

ChecklistYesNo
Is the CE mark present on the product marking/labelling?
If present on the product, is the CE mark in the correct font and at least 5mm high?
For products, including respirators and chemical protective clothing, is the CE mark accompanied by a 4-digit number? (e.g. CE 0120)
Were written instructions for use provided within the product?
Are the instructions for use printed in the clear and legible text?
Is the name and address of the manufacturer detailed on the user instructions?
Does the certificate clearly contain the notified body’s name and number (4 digits)?
Is the notified body from within the EU? There are a few non-EU notified bodies and therefore caution should be taken?
Does the certificate show signs of tampering i.e. differing fonts and sizes, colour changes etc?
Does the certificate contain a date and notified body signature? (generally an individual)
Does the certificate have its terms and conditions included?
Does the certificate show a clear description of the product, including model references, specifications, and test references?
Does the certificate state that it is an EC type-examination certificate?
Does the certificate include a manufacturer’s name and address?
If a validity period is stated on the certificate, is it still current?

To confirm the authenticity of PPE, you can call the notified body in your country, who will be happy to check the certificate against their records. Find out who the notified body is in your country here. Alternatively, if you have purchased equipment that has a unique serial number, Barcode or RFID chip, you can validate its authenticity by searching the Papertrail Product Directory

DMM and Singing Rock serial number searches are currently available digitally, with many other reputable equipment manufacturers such as Teufelberger, committing to provide Unique Serials Numbers by 2020 . 

Unique equipment data is available to add to a Papertrail account with one click. The data includes all the certificates and relevant documentation, which should form as part of your equipment management record-keeping system. 

Gathering all the information for your equipment records is often challenging to do with a large inventory of safety equipment. If you are unsure you have all of the relevant paperwork, then it could be a good time to review and improve your inspection management system.

Download our 5 Step Management System Review Workbook, created for equipment managers to ensure your PPE management system is effective.