The 4 Top Health and Safety Best Practices for Field Service Organisations
There are an estimated 1.6 million people in the UK currently suffering from work-related injuries or illnesses. In addition to 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 — especially field service organisations that often expect their technicians to use dangerous equipment or work in potentially hazardous environments.
In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of following health and safety best practices at work. We’ll also share how you can stay safe at work, including carrying out a risk assessment and consulting workers on health and safety. Finally, we’ll explore how field service management technology gives you all the tools you need to provide your employees with a safe working environment.
The Importance of Good Health and Safety Practices at Work
In addition to being morally wrong, failing to prioritise the health and safety of your workers may 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:
1. Loss in Productivity and Delayed Projects
Currently, UK companies lose around 38.8 million working days to work-related illnesses and injuries. For field service organisations, such a 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 projects from being put on hold.
Plus, a safe workplace results in happier employees who are more loyal to your business. In fact, companies with highly engaged employees enjoy 21% greater profitability, indicating how vital staff happiness is to the success of your organisation.
2. Reputational Damage
Did you know that companies risk losing 22% of potential business if prospective customers encounter a negative article in their search results? As such, it’s paramount that you maintain your company’s reputation to avoid any bad press. Organisations that care about the health and safety of their staff can build a sense of trust between them, their staff and customers much more effortlessly
3. 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 average fine sits at an eye-watering £150,000. 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.
Stay 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 employers — and anyone else who visits your site — from injuries or illnesses caused by the work environment. As daunting as that responsibility may sound, it doesn’t have to be a logistical nightmare consisting of paper-based forms and admin-heavy tasks.
Here are the top four ways you can protect people on-site using health and safety best practices and state-of-the-art field service management technology:
1. Conducting a Risk Assessment
Carrying out a risk assessment is one of the best ways to ensure that everyone will remain safe on-site. Risk assessments enable you to examine potential causes of harm and decide whether they have preventative measures in place that comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Although it is a legal requirement to document your evaluation if you employ five or more people, it is still a good idea to keep note of your findings so that everyone in the organisation can refer to them at any point. Now more than ever before, risks in the workplace change constantly, so you will need to update your record 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)
Fortunately, conducting and documenting risk assessments needn’t 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.
2. Consulting Workers on Health and Safety Policies
Sadly, in just one year, 142 people in the UK suffered a fatality at work. To prevent such tragic accidents, you should share your risk assessment results with your workforce. Providing employees with a strong understanding of potential hazards, and the measures you’ve put in place to mitigate them, will help to lower the risk of injuries or illnesses.
For example, if your staff frequently work in dangerous situations, you’ll need to share safe working practices and explain what tools and equipment you’ve provided to help them carry out the work safely.
Ensuring everyone has the right gear is paramount to good health and safety at work but, if you’re currently relying on manual sign-in and sign-out sheets, you may find that there isn’t enough to go around. Human error can cause inconsistencies in your inventory — perhaps your workers accidentally took items without recording them, or maybe their handwriting is illegible.
The good news is, the best field service management platforms help you to keep track of your assets in real-time, regardless of their location. You can create a detailed register of items, track item movements, see a record of fitted parts and add serial numbers, barcodes or QR codes to each item.
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.
3. Making Sure Your Technicians Assess the Safety of Every Site They Visit
As we mentioned earlier, it’s crucial to conduct a workplace risk assessment to keep your staff safe on-site. But what about your field-based technicians who travel to different customer sites every day? According to the Labour Force Survey, around 693,000 people sustain an injury at work.
Luckily, you can significantly lower the chance of injuries on client sites by providing your field-based workforce with a mobile application that links to your central system. You’ll be able to set up mandatory workflows and risk assessment documents that your technicians must complete via their mobile devices before they can begin the work or fill out their timesheet.
During the risk assessment, your workers can highlight potential hazards, which will immediately alert your back office team. The team can then work with your technician to eliminate the risk and safely get the job back on track. As such, your employees can rest assured that they won’t sustain an injury on the job and will also be able to complete all jobs without any obstacles.
4. Ensuring Your Technicians are Being Safe on the Road
Data from the Department for Transport indicates that there were 131,220 road casualties of varying severity during the year June 2019 to June 2020. Unfortunately, the risk of an accident only increases the longer your technicians 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:
1. Driver Behaviour Analysis
When you use a field service management platform like BigChange, you’ll be able to use GPS vehicle tracking to monitor your drivers’ behaviour on the road in real-time. The system will capture information on idling, speeding, cornering, braking and harsh acceleration to provide drivers with a score that you can track over time. As a result, you can build an accurate picture of technicians who may require additional training to ensure that they’re driving as safely as possible.
2. Proactive Vehicle Maintenance
Not only does unplanned maintenance cost three to nine times more than planned preventative maintenance, but it can also put your technicians at risk. Defective vehicles can break down on the road, increasing the chances of collisions.
Field service management platforms enable you to catch potential issues before they become perilous and costly. Technicians can use their mobile devices to complete daily electronic vehicle walkaround checks and report problems to your fleet manager, who can take action to resolve them rapidly.
3. Smart Scheduling and Optimised Routes
Decreasing the amount of time your technicians spend driving each day is another sure-fire way to cut down the risk of road accidents. Thanks to technological advancements in recent years, you can now keep technicians’ driving times to a minimum.
Using an intelligent scheduling assistant, field service management platforms such as BigChange suggest ways to optimise your workers’ routes and keep them as short as possible.
Your back-office team will be able to assign technicians to jobs based on location, qualifications, skillset and vehicle type, meaning that you can attend to more bookings each day confident in the knowledge that your workers are safe.
Technology is a Key Component to Following Health and Safety Best Practices
There are many harsh consequences for businesses that don’t follow health and safety best practices. From costly legal battles to expensive fines and a destroyed reputation, your company risks being devastated by the fallout of not adhering to the latest guidelines. However, field service management software can transform the way businesses keep their people safe on the job and make it simpler than ever to remain compliant.
With a platform like BigChange, you can take advantage of the following:
- A mobile application that gives technicians access to all health and safety documents
- Real-time GPS vehicle tracking and driver behaviour analysis
- Digital vehicle maintenance records
- Complete visibility over your inventory
- An intelligent scheduling assistant that optimises every route
- Electronic records of every risk assessment
With so many health and safety features available at the click of a button, you and your team can spend less time managing stacks of paperwork and, instead, focus on doing what you do best.
Help Your Employees Stay Safe at Work with BigChange’s Field Service Management Software
Your people are your most important asset.
BigChange gives you the power to keep your employees working safely and ensure their personal information is secure and up-to-date.
With our online driver behaviour analysis, risk assessments, method statements and vehicle walkaround checks, you can rest assured that health and safety are a number one priority.
Want to find out more?
Discover how BigChange can make your business grow stronger, arrange a free demo today.
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