Road Maintenance: How tech can help manage risk assessment paperwork

Ensuring the safety of employees can be a tricky enough task when you’re managing office staff. But when you’re in charge of teams of road workers, it’s a major challenge. All employers have a legal duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees and if you have five or more workers, that includes the need to generate, maintain and store risk assessment paperwork and method statements.

Failure to do so doesn’t just put people’s health and safety at risk, it creates the organisational risk of prosecutions, fines and even imprisonment, for serious breaches.

What makes safety compliance so difficult in the road maintenance sector is the temporary and varied nature of the work – managing different teams doing different tasks in different locations.

Keeping on top of all the required paperwork becomes an admin juggling act with risk assessments needing to be completed and method statements created. But it’s a task which digital technology is helping companies to stay on top of. Here’s a look how:

Managing risk assessment paperwork

If a new job poses any significant new risks, things that aren’t covered by any existing RAMS, then a new risk assessment and method statement needs to be created. With a digital workforce management system, this is a task that can be scheduled, managed and monitored for each new job.

Using real-time information, it allows a manager to check that all RAMS documentation has been completed before any work starts.

Digital documentation

Any paperwork required can be provided in a digital format using services such as Google Docs. Template documents can be accessed and updated from wherever a fieldworker has an online connection.

By working digitally, it provides head office with instant access to any information that’s added or updated. If there are any management concerns or suggestions, they can be communicated immediately.

Photo friendly

The easiest way to highlight a potential safety risk is to show it. With digital documentation, photographs showing a particular aspect of a site can be taken via a smartphone and easily added to a RAMS report.

A workforce management system such as MyMobileWorkers, allows annotations to be overlaid on top of images – arrows showing the direction of traffic or circles around a particular hazard.

Controlling compliance

It’s no good having a method statement, setting out the exact safety procedures required for a task, if none of your employees is aware of it. With a digital management system, you can make a RAMS check part of their workflow.

Any relevant risk assessment paperwork can be provided to a worker via a smartphone app with an on-screen notification to confirm they have been read and will be followed.

Safety trail

A major advantage of using digital methods to manage RAMS is the accurate data it provides to show that all proper procedures have been followed. A digital workforce management system will automatically log the who, when and where of each RAMS related task.

They will also keep a log of any confirmations provided by field workers that they have read and understand the specific RAMS requirements. It provides proof of each and every step of safety compliance.

So while the foundation for effective safety compliance remains the same – training, knowledge and culture – the tools we have to manage it are changing. With proper use of digital technology, companies now are better equipped than ever to ensure safe working.

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Full image credit: san martin

by Shannon Hutton 27.01.2017

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