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Taking the pain out of safety compliance for construction company

By implementing WHS MONITOR™, Sydney’s QPA was able to successfully simplify the task of ensuring its subcontractors complied with safety regulations.

Construction company, Quality Projects Australia (QPA) specialises in renovations, extensions and basic building work. Covering the whole Sydney region as well as the Illawarra, the company has a special focus on creating outdoor entertainment areas as well as outdoor water-resistant kitchens.

QPA’s current workforce of eight includes two builders, a landscaper, two apprentice carpenters, and admin staff.

According to Safe Work Australia, construction remains one of the most dangerous industries in Australia. For the period 2016 – 2017, the industry recorded 13,280 serious injury claims; and in 2017 there were 30 workplace fatalities in the sector.

“We’ve been lucky in that sense. For us, up until now, WH&S has mainly involved keeping on top of compliance; and ensuring that our sub-contractors are licensed and insured.”

Jeremy Ebers, one of QPA’s Directors

As such, it is crucial that construction companies recognise Workplace Health and Safety (WH&S) as a top priority and work to meet all their legal obligations in this area.

QPA is one organisation that does this. Its dedication to WH&S compliance has proven its worth and the company has had no major safety incident in its six years of operation.

“We’ve been lucky in that sense. For us, up until now, WH&S has mainly involved keeping on top of compliance; and ensuring that our sub-contractors are licensed and insured,” said builder Jeremy Ebers, one of QPA’s Directors.

“Keeping track of all that information can be really difficult for a small business, particularly when you consider that at any one time we can be dealing with 30 or 40 sub-contractors from all trades.”

How HMR use WHS Monitor

To simplify this task, in the middle of 2018 QPA turned to WHS MONITOR™, a modular, cloud-based WH&S compliance management software system.

Incorporating eight core units comprised of a total of 120 unique, integrated modules, as well as an extensive proprietary database, WHS MONITOR™ enables organisations to simply and effectively comply with their WH&S obligations.

One of the advantages of WHS MONITOR™ is that it is suitable for all businesses, regardless of size or industry. It can be customised according to the requirements of each individual business. Those who use it can add or remove modules as they grow or their needs change. You 

QPA, with its frequent use of sub-contractors, chose the ‘Contractor Management’ module, as well as ‘Safe Work Method Statements’, ‘Material Data Safety Sheets’, and ‘Job Safety Analysis’.

Focusing on the Contractor Management module Ebers explained that, before purchasing WHS MONITOR™, he handled the entire compliance process himself.

“I did it all manually. We did have a template for a WH&S management but in every instance, I had to fill it out as a hard copy on site, then get all our trades to sign it,” he said.

“It was mayhem. Sub-contractors emailed me their certificates; I tried to set up my own reminder system through Office, which meant I’d get unexpected pop-ups letting me know I had to chase somebody up for renewals and things like that. It was a very painstaking process.”

So, have things changed since the switch?

“Completely. Using WHS MONITOR™, we can get all trades to complete online inductions and, if any of their details are approaching their expiry dates, we receive an email alerting us of the fact. It’s actually transferred a lot of the burden from us to the trades themselves. They update their own details, which means I don’t have to chase them up,” said Ebers.

He explained that, while he does most of this compliance work from a desktop computer in his office, on-site he and his employees tend to access WHS MONITOR™ through tablets and Smartphones.

“The subcontractors all have their own log-ins, which means they can digitally sign safety management plans for each job. Everything’s secure, saved to the Cloud,” said Ebers.

“Initially some of the subcontractors didn’t like the extra responsibility of using WHS MONITOR™, but they all soon came to realise that it works well for them too. They need to upload all their details when they first use it, but after that first use, it doesn’t take much effort at all.

WHS and peace of mind

“I think they’ve started to realise that this is the way of the future and they’ve become comfortable with it. It doesn’t just benefit us. It delivers them certainty too.”

According to Ebers, the implementation process went more smoothly than he had expected. Praising the whole team, he said the information he had received from WHS MONITOR™ had been clear and thorough.

“Whenever I call with a question, there’s never any confusion or delay. I receive immediate assistance and, to date, every issue has been resolved,” he said, adding that he has also been impressed by the number of unprompted follow-up calls he has received.

Concluding, Ebers said WHS MONITOR™ has made a significant impact on QPA’s WH&S compliance procedures. It has not only delivered him the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the business is meeting all its obligations, but also freed up his time and allowed him to concentrate on core concerns.

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