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The 4 Top Health and Safety Best Practices for Field Service Organisations

3 February 2022

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Read this article to find out more about the health & safety best practices your company should be following to protect your employees and you business.

On average, 141 people die each year as a result of work related accidents in the UK. In addition, there are an estimated 1.6 million people in the UK currently suffering from work-related injuries or illnesses.  With many of these accidents and injuries occurring off-site, health and safety is a critical focus for field service organisations. 

Alongside being inconvenient for staff and businesses alike, health problems inflicted by the workplace can cause severe reputational, operational and financial damage. 

Subsequently, companies must take every precaution to protect their employees. This is particularly important in field service organisations where technicians are expected to use dangerous equipment or work in potentially hazardous environments. 

In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the importance of following health and safety best practices at work. We will also share the top 4 best practices you should follow to improve health and safety. 

Why is good health and safety practice so important in field service organisations? 

In addition to being morally wrong, failing to prioritise the health and safety of your workers can have severe consequences for your business. 

Let’s take a look at some of the main issues your company could face if you don’t help your staff stay safe at work: 

⏰Loss of productivity and delayed projects: Currently, UK companies lose around 36.8 million working days to work-related illnesses and industries. 

This significant loss of business hours can delay important projects and eat into profits. So, it’s crucial to have robust health and safety measures in place to prevent this from happening. It can also have an impact on customer service as projects are delayed and technicians have to return. 

🤕Reputational damage: did you know that companies risk losing 22% of potential business if prospective customers encounter a negative article in their search results? Customer experience is essential in today’s competitive market so ensuring a good reputation is essential. 

As a result, it’s paramount to have health and safety practices in place to maintain your company’s reputation and avoid bad press. 

💰Legal battles and financial repercussions: in 2016, the Sentencing Council introduced harsher penalties for companies that fail to competently manage health and safety matters. 

Now, the Crown Court can issue an unlimited fine or imprisonment. If one of your employees is injured or becomes ill due to a hazardous workplace, you could find yourself involved in a legal battle that ends with a costly fine.

Staying safe at work: The top 4 health and safety best practices for field service businesses

As an employer, it’s your duty to protect your employees, and anyone else who visits your site, from injuries or illnesses that occur in the workplace. 

Although this can seem like a daunting responsibility, it doesn’t have to be a logistical nightmare. 

Here are our top four ways to protect people on-site through health and safety best practices and state-of-the-art field service management software. 

  1. Conduct a risk assessment 

Risk assessments are one of the best ways to keep everyone safe on-site. They enable you to examine potential causes of harm and decide whether you have preventative measures in place that comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

While it’s a legal requirement to document an evaluation if you have five or more employees, always keep a note of your findings so that anyone within the organisation can refer to them when required. 

Risks in the workplace change constantly, so records will need to be updated at frequent intervals. 

For example, you may need to conduct a new assessment when:

  • The workplace has caused a health and safety incident
  • Someone has reported a near-miss
  • There have been significant changes within the workplace (e.g. new equipment)

Conducting and documenting risk assessments doesn’t need to be an admin-heavy task. 

With a field service management platform, you can keep a digital record of each review, saving you the hassle of manually writing out and storing your findings.

  1. Consult workers on policies 

In just one year, 142 people in the UK suffered a fatality at work. To prevent these accidents, share your risk assessment results with your workforce. 

By providing employees with a strong understanding of potential hazards, and the measures in place to mitigate them, you’ll significantly lower the risk of injuries or illnesses. 

Ensuring all employees are aware of procedures and have the right equipment is paramount. However, if you currently rely on manual sign-in and sign-out sheets, there can be inconsistencies and inaccuracies. 

How can this be prevented? 

  • Keep track of assets in real-time 
  • Keep a detailed register of item movements
  • Track items movements 
  • Track fitted parts 
  • Add serial numbers, barcodes and QR codes to pieces of equipment

Plus, since your back-office team will have access to all your customers’ booking details, they can assign stock and equipment directly to each job, meaning your technicians will always have everything they need to stay safe and complete the project the first time.

  1. Ensure technicians assess the safety of every site they visit 

It’s crucial to conduct a workplace risk assessment to keep staff safe on-site. 

But what about the field-based technicians who travel to different customer sites every day?

When technicians arrive on-site, they should be provided with the essential information they need and have an idea of the layout of the site and the work that needs to be carried out.

As a result, they will be able to scope for potential issues and risks to stay safe on the job. 

How can mobile applications help?

📱Allows field-based workers to complete risk assessment on a mobile device

📱Highlighted risks can be sent to back office staff 

📱Back office staff work with technicians to eliminate risks and get jobs back on track

Consequently, employees can rest assured that they won’t sustain an injury on the job and will be able to complete all jobs without any obstacles. 

  1. Ensure technicians are safe on the road 

Data from the Department for Transport shows that there were 137,013 road casualties of varying severity during the year June 2021 to June 2022. For your road technicians, the risk of an accident increases, the longer they have to spend on the road. 

Therefore, you must ensure that you put measures in place to keep your technicians safe when travelling between jobs. There are three key ways you can maintain the safety of your workers who have to get behind the wheel:

🚚Driver behaviour analysis – understanding technicians driving habits can help organisations to build an accurate picture of technicians who may require additional training to ensure they’re driving safely. 

🧰Vehicle maintenance – unplanned maintenance costs three to nine times more than planned preventative maintenance. Not only that, defective vehicles can break down on the road, putting your technicians at increased risk. Preventative maintenance can keep technicians safe and reduce the chances of collisions occurring.

🗓️Smart scheduling and optimised routes – decreasing the amount of time technicians spend driving is another significant way to cut down the risk of road accidents. Using job scheduling tools allows organisations to optimise technicians routes to keep them as short as possible and reduce the risk of accidents.

Key takeaways 

People are your most important asset. Accidents and injuries that occur in the workplace can not only impact the business’ bottom line, it can damage employee trust and relationships with the organisation. 

In addition, organisations can face large fines if health and safety procedures are not followed correctly. 

Following health and safety best practice helps to keep your employees safe and productive. Modern technology provides field service organisations with the tools to ensure that technicians are provided with everything they need to complete their jobs safely and efficiently. 

BigChange gives you the power to keep your employees working safely and ensure their personal information is secure and up-to-date.

Want to find out more?

Discover how BigChange can make your business grow stronger, arrange a free demo today.

BigChange.com

3rd February 2022

BigChange

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