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An estimated 1.6 million people in the UK are currently suffering from work-related injuries or illnesses. Unlike office workers, a field-based workforce is susceptible to more risks because their location typically changes with every job. Such diverse risk factors at each site mean that filling out risk assessments is crucial so that your workers, assets, and reputation all remain intact and protected.

Many field service companies regularly deal with chemicals or hazardous substances, which comes with its own regulations. and COSHH regulations were introduced to protect employees from ill health when dealing with dangerous materials or chemicals as part of their work activities. 

In this article, we’ll take a deeper dive into the COSHH regulations. We’ll also explore how you can use technology to help keep your field service business compliant.

What are the COSHH Regulations?

Using chemicals or other hazardous substances at work can put people’s health at risk, so the law requires employers to control exposure to hazardous substances to prevent ill health. 

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) law was introduced to protect employees exposed to chemicals or hazardous materials at work. Uncontrolled exposure can be a significant risk to employee wellbeing, so the law requires employers to take eight steps to prevent ill health if their workers have been exposed to dangerous substances during business activities.

The eight steps outlined in the COSHH regulations are:

  1. Assess the risks
  2. Decide what precautions are needed
  3. Prevent or adequately control exposure
  4. Ensure that control measures are used and maintained
  5. Monitor the exposure
  6. Carry out appropriate health surveillance
  7. Prepare plans and procedures to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies
  8. Ensure employees are properly informed, trained and supervised

In 2016, the Sentencing Council introduced harsher penalties for companies that fail to manage health and safety matters competently. Now, the average fine sits at an eye-watering £150,000. So if one of your employees is injured or becomes ill because of dangerous working conditions, you could find yourself involved in a legal battle that ends with a hefty fine.

Aside from fines, not following the guidelines could result in the following: 

  • Lost productivity to your business if engineers take sick leave 
  • Vulnerability to prosecution under the COSHH Regulations 
  • Civil claims from your employees

The COSHH guidelines cover a range of hazardous materials, including: 

  • Substances used directly in work activities (adhesives, paints, cleaning agents)
  • Substances generated during work activities (fumes from soldering or welding)
  • Naturally occurring substances (such as grain dust)
  • Biological agents such as bacteria and other microorganisms (for example, COVID-19)

How Health and Safety Software Can Support Your COSHH Compliance

Adopting technology can help you be compliant with the eight COSHH steps. Here are just some of the ways you can use field service software to keep your workers safe on the job:

1. Assess the Risks and Prevent or Control Exposure

You’ll likely already be aware of the importance of risk assessments in field services. COSHH requires you to carry out a risk assessment on any job where an individual could be exposed to any of the substances mentioned earlier. 

When using a field service management platform with integrated health and safety software, your workers can fill out a checklist or risk assessment form on their mobile devices. They can then highlight potential hazards, which will immediately alert your back office team. 

If the worker identifies a risk, they can work with your back-office team to eliminate the danger and safely get the job back on track. As such, your employees can rest assured that they won’t sustain any health issues in carrying out the job and will also be able to complete the task at hand without significant delays.

Want to learn more about carrying out a risk assessment? Click here.

2. Ensure Control Measures are Maintained

The best field service technology providers have an asset management feature as part of their platform. All equipment, machinery, parts and safety gear are recorded on the register, so you’ll always have an up-to-date log of your stock. 

When an employee is working on a potentially hazardous job, your team can assign safety gear, protective clothing, or preventative equipment directly to the job case so that the engineer can turn up with the necessary equipment to get the job done safely.

3. Prepare Plans and Procedures

A mobile field service software can help your employees carry out work safely by ensuring they don’t miss any crucial steps. 

For example, you can create workflows, COSHH sheets and risk assessment forms that engineers must fill out before carrying out the work and filling in their timesheet. Mandatory safety documents ensure that all technicians stick to required plans and procedures that will ensure their safety.

4. Ensure Employees Are Properly Informed, Trained and Supervised

All your employees can stay informed when using field service technology. BigChange’s cloud-based health and safety compliance management software allows all essential documents to be readily available on the app, such as COSHH sheets, guidelines, risk assessments or job details. In addition, workers can access any training or procedures from the palm of their hand to ensure that they stay informed of all health and safety precautions wherever they are for a job. 

You’ll also be able to store all your risk assessments on the cloud-based platform so that records are never lost and all employees have visibility of the documents. Whether they work out in the field or the office, your staff can find documentation regarding COSHH regulations and see how the business handled any hazards in the past to ensure compliance in the future.

Cleaning Chemicals Safety is Made Simple on BigChange

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 digital risk assessments, COSHH guidelines and PPE and equipment log, 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 here and arrange a free demo today.

It’s no secret that legislations form a large part of facilities management, and — to make matters more complicated — they’re constantly evolving. In recent years, as serious issues such as climate change and COVID-19 have impacted the way businesses operate, facilities managers have had to stay ahead of the curve.

Unfortunately, with so many regulations to remember and implement, the risk of non-compliance is high. That’s why we’ve put together this helpful guide, which will explain the top six facilities management legislations you need to know. We’ll also share how facility management software ensures that your organisation is running compliantly. Read on to learn more.

Why Legal Compliance in Facilities Management is Important

When managing facilities, it’s crucial to ensure that your operations are running compliantly. Failure to do so could mean you damage the following:

Your Reputation

In today’s digital world, news — good or bad — can spread and even go viral online in a matter of minutes. So, if your business is found to be operating non-compliantly, there’s a chance your customers will find out and potentially cut ties with you. In fact, 41% of people in the UK say they would stop using a company following a security breach.

Your Operation

Breaches of specific laws will mean that an organisation must cease operating until it has rectified the errors. Depending on how long it takes to resolve the issues, the downtime could significantly impact your ability to deliver services and make a profit. 

Worse still, your employees may not feel comfortable working for an organisation with a poor compliance record — especially if you’ve breached health and safety laws. As such, you’ll lose out on the best talent and won’t be as competitive in the market.

Your Finances

Did you know that the cost of non-compliance is typically double the amount it costs to follow all rules and regulations? In addition to fines, a damaged reputation and halted operations also prevent you from bringing more money in, making it even more challenging to recover following an incident.

Staying Safe in the Workplace: The Top 6 Facilities Management Legislations

Here are the top six facilities management legislations you must be aware of:

1. Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations

The UK Government introduced the Health and Safety at Work Regulations in 1999 to reinforce the Health and Safety Act of 1974. They clearly explain what employers must do to apply health and safety measures to every work-related activity. There are certain duties that both employers and employees are required to follow, including:

Employer Duties — Risk Assessment

The primary employer duty within the Health and Safety at Work Regulations is to undertake a risk assessment to identify any potential hazards to people on-site. Aside from being good practice, it is also a legal requirement to document your findings if you employ five or more people.

Once you’ve carried out your risk assessment, you must then make arrangements to implement health and safety measures to control or eliminate the hazards you identified. For each potential danger, you will need to assess the severity and apply the hierarchy of risk control to ensure that you’ve adequately handled the situation. 

Want to learn more about how to conduct a risk assessment? Click here to read our in-depth guide.

Employer Duties — General

As an employer, you must appoint at least one competent person — usually from within your organisation — to manage health and safety procedures and ensure that you’re complying with legislation. It is then their responsibility to do the following:

  • Provide everyone on-site (including temp workers and contractors) with necessary health and safety information in an understandable format.
  • Arrange for every employee to receive health and safety training.
  • Prevent workers from being given tasks beyond their competence or physical capabilities.

If you’re sharing your premises with another employer, you will need to coordinate your health and safety activities. For example, you should exchange any information from your risk assessment and include details about the preventative measures you’ve put in place.

Employee Duties

The majority of the responsibility falls with the employer when it comes to staying safe in the workplace; however, the Health and Safety at Work Regulations do include certain employee duties. They must:

  • Report health and safety shortcomings
  • Report dangerous situations
  • Report incidents and accidents
  • Use equipment in accordance with training and instruction
  • Take reasonable care of their own health and safety, and the safety of anyone who will be affected by their work

2. Manual Handling Regulations

Approximately 21% of all non-fatal workplace injuries are caused by incorrect manual handling, resulting in operational, financial and reputational damage. Therefore, it’s crucial to prevent situations where your workers could be harmed when lifting or moving heavy objects. The Manual Handling Operations Regulations (MHOR) legislation was introduced in 1992 and later updated in 2002 to provide employers with rules that will keep their workers safe.

As an employer, you must:

  • Avoid the need for hazardous manual handling, as far as reasonably practicable
  • Assess the risk of injury from any manual handling task that cannot be avoided
  • Reduce the risk of injury from manual handling, as far as reasonably practicable

Again, you will need to conduct a sufficient risk assessment and put measures in place to reduce or eliminate manual handling hazards where possible. Failure to implement the requirements could be subject to actions from the regulatory authorities.

3. Display Screen Equipment Regulations

The Display Screen Equipment Regulations outline what employers must do to protect their staff from display screen equipment (DSE) risks, such as computers and laptops. Incorrect usage of DSE or poorly designed workspaces can cause musculoskeletal pains, wrist and hand pain, fatigue and eye strain, so it’s essential to ensure your office staff have the right tools to do their jobs.

Although the DSE regulations won’t apply to your field-based workers, it does cover anyone in your back office who regularly uses screen-based equipment as part of their daily work. As an employer, you must:

  • Do a DSE workstation assessment or train workers to carry out basic assessments
  • Ensure that workers take regular breaks from DSE work or complete other tasks intermittently
  • Provide eye tests
  • Provide adequate training and information for workers

As with the other regulations we’ve covered so far, you will need to conduct a risk assessment and record your findings.

4. Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 (WHSWR) outline the workplace’s minimum health and safety requirements, though they exclude construction sites. As the name of the legislation suggests, there are three key areas of focus:

Health

The ‘health’ aspect of the WHSWR refers to the following:

  • Ventilation
  • Temperature
  • Work in hot and cold environments
  • Lighting
  • Cleanliness and waste material
  • Room dimensions and space
  • Workstations and seating

Safety

The ‘safety’ aspect of the WHSWR refers to the following:

  • Maintenance
  • Floors and traffic routes
  • Falls into dangerous substances
  • Transparent or translucent doors
  • Gates, walls and windows
  • Escalators and moving walkways

Welfare

The ‘welfare’ aspect of the WHSWR refers to the following:

  • Sanitary conveniences and washing facilities
  • Drinking water
  • Accommodation for clothing 
  • Facilities for changing
  • Facilities for rest and to eat meals 

5. Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER)

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, otherwise known as PUWER, place duties on anyone who owns, operates or has control over work equipment — including businesses and organisations whose employees use work equipment. 

PUWER requires that any equipment for work purposes is:

  • Suitable for the intended use
  • Safe for use, maintained and inspected to ensure that it’s correctly installed and isn’t deteriorating significantly
  • Used only by individuals who have received adequate information and training
  • Accompanied by suitable health and safety measures, such as protective devices and controls. Such devices typically include guarding, emergency stops, adequate means of isolation from energy sources, clearly visible markings and warning devices
  • Used in accordance with specific requirements

In addition to PUWER, certain types of work equipment may also be subject to other health and safety legislation. For example, lifting equipment will also need to meet the requirements of LOLER. 

Some work equipment is subject to other health and safety legislation in addition to PUWER. For example, lifting equipment must also meet the requirements of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) and personal protective equipment needs to follow the PPE at work regulations. With COVID having a significant impact on how people use PPE in the workplace, it’s imperative to stay up-to-date with any changes to the legislation.

6. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulations

Following on from the previous point, let’s take a closer look at the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) regulations. Although PPE has gained attention throughout the pandemic, it has always been essential for any facilities manager to know how it should be used in the workplace.

PPE is equipment that protects the user against health and safety risks at work. You can provide such protection with items such as safety helmets, high-visibility clothing, eye protection, gloves, safety footwear or respiratory protective equipment (RPE). 

Whilst you may have taken every other precaution to reduce hazards on-site, you may still need to protect your workers against injuries to:

  • The eyes — e.g. flying particles
  • The skin — e.g. corrosive chemicals
  • The lungs — e.g. breathing in contaminated air
  • The head and feet — e.g. falling materials
  • The body — e.g.extreme temperatures

However, it’s important to remember that PPE should only be used as a last resort (except when facemasks are required due to COVID), and you should always try to put other health and safety measures in place first. If you require your staff to wear PPE on the job, you will need to provide it free of charge.

Facility Management Software Helps You Stay Compliant

Although we’ve covered the top six legislations, there are many more that you must consider depending on your industry. But, with so many other responsibilities on your plate already, how can you guarantee that your organisation is compliant?

The best way to manage your operations is by using facilities management job scheduling software like BigChange, which has many inbuilt health and safety features. Here are just some of the features you can benefit from:

  • Mandatory risk assessment and workflows that workers must fill out on their mobile devices before beginning work
  • Daily vehicle walkaround checks
  • Driver behaviour analysis

By digitising your health and safety procedures, you’ll have a complete record of the measures you’ve taken to keep your employees safe. As such, you and your employees can rest assured that your organisation is following all industry regulations and won’t get caught out for non-compliance.

Ensure Your Employees are Staying Safe in the Workplace with BigChange

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 here and arrange a free demo today.

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.

In an increasingly talent-short market, many field service businesses are forced to think outside the box to fill the skills gap and ensure that they can continue growing. 

One of the best ways to preserve usual activity levels without hiring additional resources is by using subcontractors. In fact, there are a host of advantages to using a subcontractor beyond simply maintaining business-as-usual — you could be looking at a 20-30% saving over hiring full-time staff. 

In this article, we’ll explain how to hire subcontractors and share how networking with other businesses can unlock opportunities to expand your reach further than ever before.

Hiring Subcontractors: 4 Simple Steps

1. Select Reputable Subcontractors

Finding skilled subcontractors to represent your organisation is critical to success. One of the best ways to find qualified professionals is by connecting with like-minded companies. In reality, networking is responsible for around 80% of all job fills. 

However, networking with other businesses can be a lengthy process and take time away from you that could be better spent on company growth activities. Fortunately, when you use a job management platform like BigChange, you’ll have instant access to a network of trusted field service organisations at your fingertips.

Instead of sacrificing office time, you can simply post your business on the network for free and start receiving connection requests immediately. If you have a particular project that you need subcontractors for, you can add requirements such as skillset, qualifications and rates. 

As such, you can guarantee that only the best people for the job will represent your company — your customers won’t even notice the difference.

2. Put a Legal Agreement in Place

As with any professional agreement, you should ensure that you protect yourself and your worker legally. Although they are not considered employees, subcontractors still have rights, and you must ensure that you are aware of them before putting together a contract.

In your contract, you may wish to specify the following:

  • Payment dates and the amount
  • Working hours
  • Clauses stating who is responsible in the event of unsatisfactory work
  • A minimum notice period (for both the contractor and your organisation, should you wish to terminate the contract)
  • Details of who supplies the materials
  • Clauses stating how you or the subcontractor will deal with complaints

Putting a contract together should reduce the likelihood of discrepancies and eliminate confusion over responsibilities.

3. Make Communication a Priority

Did you know that over 50% of high-performing organisations regularly invest in tools that aid communication? Maintaining contact with workers is even more imperative for field service businesses, where most of the workforce is scattered across the country in various locations.

With job management software, you’ll have complete visibility over who is working for you and where. As a result, you can easily keep track of your active jobs and ensure the subcontractors carry them out to your usual high standards.

For example, you can set mandatory workflows and risk assessment forms that the technicians must complete from their mobile devices before beginning the work. The results come through to your back office instantly and enable your team to mitigate any potential issues.

Once the subcontractor has completed the work, they can attach photographic evidence to their forms and capture customer signatures as evidence of a satisfactory job. The job management platform stores all information, so you will also have an extensive record of the project and the person who carried it out for future reference.

4. Don’t Forget about the Customer Experience

In a market where competition for clients is fierce, brand consistency is everything. Customers appreciate it when they can recognise your brand, and businesses enjoy a 33% increase in revenue as a result. But, how can you maintain consistency when subcontractors are representing your organisation?

The solution lies with job management software like BigChange.

With the BigChange Mobile Application, your subcontractors will have access to all the features your usual technicians have. Consequently, they can provide your customers with company-branded documents and invoices, so it’s evident that they’re a representative of your business. 

Not only are consistent, electronic documents more convenient for your customers, but they also eliminate the amount of administration work required from your back office team. By liberating your staff from time-consuming processes, they can continue focusing on scaling your company.

Job Management Software Makes Networking with Other Businesses a Breeze

70% of field service organisations expect the ageing workforce and resulting skills gap to cause significant issues within the next five to ten years. Therefore, it’s paramount that companies look to new, innovative ways to continue delivering excellent service to customers.

With the BigChange Network at your disposal, you can harness the power of networking from the comfort of your chair and instantly collaborate with thousands of professional subcontractors worldwide.

Aside from simply helping you complete projects on time with limited resources, subcontractors also allow you to expand your reach into new locations, building your client base and boosting your bottom line simultaneously.

Hiring and Managing Subcontractors Made Simpler with BigChange

Complete large projects on time and to a high standard with BigChange.

Collaborate with thousands of trusted field service organisations via the BigChange Network. Gain full visibility over your entire workforce. Provide customers with the same level of service they’re used to with our personalised, company-branded templates. 

Want to find out more?
Discover how BigChange can make your business grow stronger, arrange a free demo today.

In 2020, plumbers were the most in-demand tradespeople, with 64% of people saying they required plumbing services at some point during the year. As such, there’s never been a better time to win new business and scale your company.

But, to run your organisation successfully and turn a profit, you need to know how to create financial documents correctly. In this article, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to write a plumbing quote and invoice. We’ll also discuss how to calculate the VAT rate on plumbing services, so you know how much tax to add to each job.

What is the VAT Rate on Plumbing Services?

If your taxable turnover is likely to be over the current VAT threshold of £85,000, then you must charge VAT on your services, otherwise known as ‘output tax’. Currently, there are three rates that a plumbing business can charge, which are as follows:

Standard Rate

The standard VAT rate on plumbing services is 20% and applies to work such as:

  • Domestic repairs and maintenance
  • Work to existing structures
  • Work to newly-built structures that don’t meet the zero rate criteria

Reduced Rate

There are certain situations where you can charge a reduced rate of 5%, for example:

  • Installation of energy-saving materials
  • Renovating a property that has been vacant for two years or more
  • Residential conversion work 

Zero Rate

You do not need to add VAT to invoices for zero-rate plumbing services, which include:

  • Services for a disabled person
  • Work on new build houses
  • Work on qualifying buildings if you are the main contractor — usually, these buildings are used for charitable or non-business purposes

For more information on VAT rates, visit the GOV.UK website.

How to Write a Plumbing Quote

Before you begin putting together a quote, you must examine the issue to assess the job’s complexity. Failure to carry out this vital first step could result in unexpected problems and additional hours of work. Your customers won’t be happy if the project falls behind schedule, and your bottom line will take a hit. 

So, visit the location, take notes and then send your customer an estimate that includes these details:

1. The Rate for Your Services

To set a rate for your services, you’ll need to calculate how much you require to pay your bills and make a profit whilst remaining competitive. Many plumbing businesses choose to quote their services in minimum blocks of time. Two hours is enough time to install a new sink, for instance. 

Subsequently, it’s a good idea to make a price card and rate list as a starting point. You can then tweak your prices depending on each customer’s requirement. Also, don’t forget to factor in any additional time you spent inspecting the problem initially, as that will have cost your team time that they could’ve used to attend to another job. 

Luckily, pricing your work needn’t be a headache. With a field service management system in place, you can create a digital rate card and price list that you can easily tailor to your clients’ projects at the touch of a button. 

2. Additional Fees

When putting together an estimate, you should always cover any other expenses you or your team will incur whilst carrying out the job. Your additional fees can include the following costs:

  • Travel; you can either charge a fixed rate or calculate your mileage
  • Union dues, pensions and insurance don’t need to be itemised, but you should include them as part of your hourly or base rate
  • Emergency call-outs that cover weekends, holidays or after-hours work
3. Supplies and Materials

More often than not, plumbing jobs require you to provide supplies and materials that add to your overall costs. So, once you’ve completed your initial inspection of the problem, you should make a note of the items you think you’re going to use and price them up. 

Your technicians should turn up at the job with all the proper equipment so they can fix the issue the first time, which is why you must be thorough with your list. Fortunately, field service management software is designed to give you visibility over how much stock you have available and ensure you have enough to carry out the work.

The platform allows you to assign supplies and materials to particular jobs, meaning no one on your team arrives at a job without the right gear. Plus, you will be able to see exactly how much stock you’ve assigned to the project, enabling you to calculate the total cost quickly.

Aside from your quotes being more accurate and straightforward to create, you’ll find that your first-time fix rate increases and your technicians can attend more appointments each month.

How to Write a Plumbing Invoice

Once a technician completes a job, it is a legal requirement to send your customer an invoice. Typically, invoices establish details such as what services your plumbing business provided, how much the customer owes you and the payment deadline.

Creating accurate invoices enables you to maintain your bookkeeping and helps prevent disputes or late payments. Here are the key elements you must include on your invoices:

1. Contact Information and Company Logo

Did you know that 75% of people recognise a brand by its logo? Therefore, it’s worth taking the time to add your logo onto each invoice you send so your customers know that the invoice has come directly from your organisation. 

Your company name and contact information must also be in a large font at the top of the invoice. Next, you should include your customer’s name and address to ensure that it reaches the right person or department. 

With modern field service management software, you can handle invoicing directly on the platform and create personalised documents in seconds. For example, you can add your logo into a pre-designed template for a professional-looking invoice. 

The template also pulls through all required information, including the customer’s address, and automatically adds it into the appropriate fields. As a result, there’s less margin for human error and a reduced chance of late payments. 

2. Invoice Number, Issue Date and Due Date

When used correctly, invoice numbers make it simpler for you to organise your sent invoices, track pending payments and keep a record of your income for tax purposes. The number should be unique, around three to five digits long, and clearly visible on each invoice.

Then, you must add the invoice’s issue date, showing the customer when you sent the payment request. Clients have a certain number of days after the issue date to pay the invoice, which you must indicate by including a due date.  

3. An Itemised List of Services and Parts

Customers should be able to see what they’re paying for, so you must include the information below:

  • A description of the job carried out, the number of hours it required, your hourly rate and the total amount billed
  • Parts required to complete the job, quantities, price per unit and the total amount

Remember, technical plumbing terms make sense to you, but customers will not share the same knowledge. Keep the descriptions simple, so there is no confusion on their end — if they need to ask questions or clarify details, it will delay the payment. 

You can keep a more in-depth description of the work in your CRM (customer relationship management) system for your own record. CRMs document all interactions you have with your clients, including any notes your team makes about the job, so you can refer back to specific details whenever you need them.

4. Before and After Photos

Since plumbing is a highly skilled trade, it’s crucial that your technicians take before and after photos to demonstrate the work they did. Customers may not understand how the plumbers fixed their issues, or the plumbing may be in areas they cannot access, like under the floorboards. Sharing photos provides your clients with peace of mind that their problem is resolved.

Using a state-of-the-art field service management platform, your technicians can take photos on their mobile devices and instantly attach them to the customers’ profiles. As such, both you and your clients will have a complete record of what the plumbers did. If there are any further issues down the line, it will be much simpler to look back through the job history and resolve the problem.  

5. The Total Amount Due

Although you’ve already created an itemised list of the costs, you must also provide your customers with a total amount due on a separate line. Ideally, the total should be in bold so that it stands out.

Getting the total correct is paramount to ensuring you get paid on time. Any disputes will cause a delay in the payment process, so you should always ensure that it’s right the first time. Many field service management systems include an invoicing and payment feature that automatically pulls accurate details and costs into a pre-made template.

By digitising your invoices, you not only save time on arduous administration tasks but also lower the risk of human error and thus get paid by the deadline. That’s a win for both your back-office team and your cash flow. 

6. Payment Terms

In addition to including a due date, you must also clearly state your payment terms:

  • Late fees: Once an invoice becomes overdue, you are allowed to charge late fees. However, you should tell the client exactly how much you charge in such situations. 
  • Accepted payment methods: Tell your customers how they can pay for your services. For example, if you’re using field service invoicing and payment software, people can pay from their mobile devices the minute they receive your electronic invoice. 
  • Guarantees and warranties: If you’ve included a warranty on any parts or you offer a money-back guarantee, you need to specify the terms. For example, how long is the warranty valid? Stating these details in writing mitigates the risk of disputes further down the line.
7. Personalised Note

According to research by PWC, 42% of people say they would pay more for a friendly customer experience. Consequently, it’s a good idea to include a brief, personalised note at the bottom of your invoices.

It’s not a legal requirement to add a note, but it is a friendly touch that will make you stand out from your competitors. You can thank your customers for their business or even use it as an opportunity to request feedback and referrals.

Customers will appreciate the kind message and be left with a more favourable impression of your plumbing business, meaning they’ll be more inclined to use your services again in the future.

Field Service Management Software Unclogs the Quoting and Invoicing Process

Eradicate the time-consuming aspects of quoting and invoicing by adopting a cutting-edge job management software for plumbers like BigChange. The system interlinks your CRM, asset management tool and pricing information so you can put together an accurate quotation in a few clicks. 

Then, once your technicians have completed their jobs, they can instantly generate invoices on their mobile devices and share them with customers in seconds. The invoices pull through all essential information, from final costs to photographic evidence, so your clients can check that they’re satisfied with the details straight away.

Plus, with BigChange Pay, making a payment has never been simpler. Instead of waiting days, or potentially weeks, to receive an invoice payment, your customers can pay the same day using a range of convenient online methods. 

Your clients will appreciate the speedy service, and you’ll free up more time to focus on doing what you do best. 

Make Quotes and Invoices for Your Plumbing Business in Seconds with BigChange

Create financial documents the fast way. 

With BigChange, you can generate and share invoices, quotes, estimates, purchase orders and credit notes in seconds. Our easy-to-use templates pull through pre-saved line items and automatically calculate job costs, so you don’t have to spend time manually inputting data. 

Want to find out more?
Discover how BigChange can make your business grow stronger, arrange a free demo today.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), UK companies lose an average of 38.8 million working days each year due to work-related illnesses and workplace injuries. Not only are occupational ailments inconvenient for workers and companies alike, but they also damage your reputation and have the potential to destroy your bottom line.

Therefore, for field service organisations to thrive in a competitive, post-pandemic landscape, they must make employee health and safety their number one priority.

Fortunately, thanks to technological advancements in recent years, maintaining visibility over your workforce and health and safety procedures needn’t be a headache. Read on to discover how you can use state-of-the-art job management software to look after your employees and avoid disruptions to business-as-usual activities.

Looking After Employees: How Do I Ensure My Staff are Safe at Work?

Historically, it has been tricky for field service organisations to gain a bird’s eye view of their entire operations to guarantee that health and safety procedures are being followed to the letter. Reliance on outdated legacy systems and manual paper-based administration methods create a significant margin for errors to occur. So, how can companies obtain accurate information and keep their workers safe?

At the opposite end of the spectrum, modern technology has the power to handle your health and safety measures without creating extra admin for your back-office team. Here are the top three ways a state-of-the-art job management platform can enhance health and safety in the workplace:

1. Manage Timesheets Electronically

Around 44% of businesses struggle with timesheet errors — some of them on a weekly or daily basis. However, apart from being time-consuming to correct, timesheet mistakes can prevent you from keeping an accurate record of working hours, leading to technicians potentially working over the legal limit per week. 

The good news is, inadvertent errors caused by manual timesheet processing can be a thing of the past when you move over to a job management platform. By providing your field technicians with a mobile application, they can easily log their start and finish, breaks, and travel times directly from their mobile devices.

The platform instantly logs the data from your technicians’ devices and reconciles it against detailed vehicle tracking reports and time-stamped records of job activities. As such, you’ll have an extensive, accurate record of each workers’ day and can ensure that they’re working within legal limits.

2. Maintain Your Equipment and Assets

Data collected by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) suggests that around 44,000 non-fatal injuries are caused by machinery at work each year. Unfortunately, the likelihood of being seriously hurt only increases when you don’t properly maintain your equipment and assets. 

Consequently, predictive and preventative maintenance is key to lowering the risk of harming one of your technicians on the job. With job management software, you can easily keep track of all your equipment and assets to ensure that they’re in excellent working condition.

For example, technicians can perform daily vehicle walkarounds and log the results in the app. Your fleet manager can then see common, recurring issues and work to mitigate them before they become a dangerous or costly hazard.

3. Carry Out Risk Assessments

As an employer, it’s your responsibility to protect your staff and anyone who visits your site from illness or injuries caused by the work environment. A risk assessment enables you to identify all hazards and work to prevent them before they affect people. In fact, if you employ five or more people, it’s a legal requirement to document your findings.

However, keeping a paper record of your risk assessments can be a logistical nightmare, especially if you need to refer back to them further down the line. In contrast, when you manage your risk assessments electronically, you create and view a complete record of your appraisals in an instant.

But, with a job management platform such as BigChange, risk assessments aren’t limited to your site exclusively. You can protect your technicians on customer visits by providing them with mandatory digital risk assessment forms that they must complete before beginning any work.

The risk assessment results instantly appear on your back office’s system, enabling your team to mitigate hazards and safely get the job back on track without any delay. 

Job Management Software makes Looking After Employees Straightforward

With businesses across the country shelling out an estimated £16.2 billion due to injuries and ill-health caused by the workplace, it’s evident that a lack of proper health and safety procedures presents a costly issue.

Since COVID-19 has impacted many companies countrywide, very few can afford to risk the fallout resulting from occupational harm. Luckily, technology provides a straightforward solution and ensures that your people feel safe at work.

Using BigChange’s job management platform, you’ll have access to the following health & safety features:

  • DVSA-compliant vehicle checks
  • Driver behaviour analysis
  • Risk assessments and method statements
  • Individual resource profiles that show how many hours technicians are working

Subsequently, you and your staff can rest assured that health and safety remain at the forefront of everyone’s minds, regardless of their location.

Create Robust Health and Safety Procedures with BigChange

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 here and arrange a free demo today.

Unlike office workers, a field workforce is susceptible to a broader range of risks because their location can change with every job. Diverse risk factors at each site make filling out risk assessments crucial so that your workers, assets, and reputation all remain intact and protected.

This article will be a guide on why risk assessments are so crucial to business operations.

What are risk assessments?

Risk assessments are the paperwork that businesses must complete to manage any dangers that a workplace presents. It’s a legal requirement for any employer to carry out risk assessments, and the results of each risk assessment must be recorded if there are five or more people involved in the activity.

Using risk assessments is a simple way to eliminate or reduce risks to the health, safety or wellbeing of employees or members of the public when carrying out business activities. Their primary purpose is to:

  • Identify hazards in a workplace
  • Evaluate risks in a specific place
  • To ensure action is taken or additional support is given in circumstances where risk is higher than ‘low’. For example, steps that would result from a risk assessment would be supplying more workers for a job or additional equipment to make the activity less risky.

Why are risk assessments important?

Apart from being a legal requirement, managing the risks that your field-based workforce is exposed to when you send them out on jobs is essential. 

It’s important to know that routine tasks don’t require a new risk assessment every time for mobile workers. A fresh review is needed only when the setting changes or the activity being carried out alters the level of risk to the worker.

So why are risk assessments important to your business? Let’s look at some of the reasons you should put time and resource into creating sufficient risk assessments for your business operation:

Protecting your staff health and safety

When carried out properly, risk assessments can prevent injury and even loss of life when large machinery is involved. 

Every workplace could have hazards or potential risks that could cause ill health, injury or even damage to tools and equipment. Potential danger on any job can be reduced by following the five steps to conduct a risk assessment so that any risks are noted, and the work is adapted to protect those who are carrying out the job. 

Software such as BigChange includes health and safety HR features, allowing you to attach risk assessments to individual jobs. Having all documentation digitally available for staff to access means everyone involved has transparency about the location’s risks and any measures that have been taken to protect those working at the site. 

Avoiding unnecessary costs

If you don’t fill out effective risk assessments, you could cause a myriad of issues for your business. 

If someone is injured during their work, then you will have to cover sick pay, as well as employing cover for the job. Costs associated with workplace accidents come in the form of fines, legal fees, or even civil action — and the cost could be in the tens or hundreds of thousands for even a minor accident. For example, a factory was fined £274,000 after two workers were injured by moving machinery on separate occasions. A cost like this could be a devastating blow to the business, and will most likely increase your insurance premiums.

Not only will you incur the financial loss, but you could also end up with reputational damage from any incidents. Clients or field workers may not feel safe after an incident occurs that you may have been able to prevent, which could further affect your bottom line due to loss of business and resources. 

Reducing your legal liability

The first question to arise when an accident happens is ‘who is at fault?’.

Risk assessments reduce the likelihood of incidents happening and demonstrate to employees, potential clients, and external bodies such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that ample steps have been taken to comply with the law and protect people from harm.

Improving your processes

When filling out a risk assessment, your business will find alternative ways to carry out an operation or process safely. In addition, this part of the risk assessment process is iterative, meaning companies can revisit it often to ensure that risk is at an acceptable level. 

Consistently looking at processes for carrying out work and ensuring they are continually being improved ensures that safety and security are always front of mind for your employees.

While risk assessments can be related to physical work activities, the company can also use them for key functions within the organisation. For example, carrying out a risk assessment before making a change will allow operations managers to make clearer decisions around changing software and facilities management systems to purchasing a new piece of machinery for their workers. So, the results of the risk assessment will mean minimal disruption during implementation and no increase in risk when it comes to security. 

How field service management software makes running your operation easier

We’ve seen that risk assessments aren’t just a means of solving problems but can be a great vehicle for your business to control changes and improvements to your operational processes.

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 walk-around checks, you can rest assured that health and safety are a number one priority.

In August 2021, we engaged Opinium — a research consultancy —  to survey field service organisations and learn about how they fared in the year since the UK’s strictest lockdown ended.

Did you know that 53% of field service leaders said breached compliance requirements harmed their business over the last year? With rules and regulations constantly updating, it can be tricky to keep up-to-date. But, in a post-pandemic world, organisations can’t afford to be complacent if they are to bounce back stronger than before. 

That’s why we’ve put together this helpful guide, which will share some ways you can guarantee your business is always meeting rules and regulations. Read on to learn more.

How Do I Ensure My Business is Meeting Rules and Regulations?

1. Conduct Risk Assessments

Health and safety procedures in the workplace are a must-have for any business to remain compliant. Around 693,000 people sustain an injury at work each year in the UK, but if your company is found to be responsible, there could be hefty fines to pay.

Fortunately, keeping your engineers safe on the job needn’t be an impossible task. When you use job management software to manage your operations, you can provide your field-based workers with an app that enables cross-communication between them and your back-office staff.

As such, you can set mandatory risk assessments that engineers must complete on their mobile devices before starting work or filling out timesheets. Then, should your workers encounter a potential hazard, they can send an alert to your back office. The alert allows your team to work together and mitigate the problem, getting the work back on track without delay.

Not only do risk assessments prevent jobs from coming to a halt, but they also give you peace of mind that your technicians are working safely and to industry standards.

2. Handle Customers’ Information Properly

Shockingly, 52% of businesses aren’t GDPR compliant, putting them at serious risk of operational, financial and reputational damage. Worse still, the chance of inadvertently breaching regulations increases as companies expand rapidly — so how can you ensure your customers’ data is always kept safe?

The best way to handle customer data and prevent it from falling into the wrong hands is by investing in robust, cloud-based software. BigChange’s complete job management platform secures all data in AWS (Amazon Web Services), the world’s most comprehensive and widely-used cloud system. 

The cloud encrypts all sensitive information — meaning it won’t be vulnerable to hackers — and creates backups, so you never have to worry about system crashes. As a result, you and your customers can rest assured that their information won’t be subject to a breach.

3. Monitor Employees’ Working Hours

Approximately 44% of businesses struggle with timesheet errors on a weekly or daily basis. Aside from creating more time-consuming admin, mistakes can give you an inaccurate record of working hours, so you can’t ensure your operatives have been working within legal limits.

When you digitise your timesheets and allow employees to fill them out via their smart devices, they can easily log their start and finish, breaks, and travel times throughout the day. The central job management system then reconciles employees’ data against detailed vehicle tracking reports and time-stamped records of job activities. Consequently, you’ll have an extensive, accurate record of each workers’ day and can ensure that their working hours are compliant with the law. 

Remove the Headache of Meeting Compliances with a Job Management Platform

In the last 12 months, more than half of the field service businesses caught out for breaching rules ended up paying a fine, losing work or suffering reputational harm. Such severe consequences are not ideal for companies that need to bounce back from the already damaging effects of the pandemic.

Therefore, you must modernise your data protection and workplace safety procedures to make them simpler to manage. With BigChange’s field service management software, you’ll have access to the following:

  • DVSA-compliant vehicle checks
  • Driver behaviour analysis
  • Risk assessments and method statements
  • Resource profiles that show technicians’ working hours
  • Secure customer records

Make rules and regulations a priority with state-of-the-art technology, and you’ll never have to worry about the harsh penalties of non-compliance.

Health and Safety Procedures in the Workplace are Prioritised on BigChange

The BigChange complete job management platform is helping field service businesses across the UK win more work, take control of their operations and deliver winning customer experiences.

Bring your customer relationship management (CRM), job scheduling,   live tracking, field resource management, health and safety procedures, financial management and business intelligence onto one easy-to-use platform and begin enjoying the benefits of a smarter way of working today.

Want to find out more?

Discover how your business can grow stronger on BigChange here and arrange a free demo today.

Get the full State of the Field Service Sector report here.

As people start heading back into the workplace post-pandemic, it’s never been more crucial to undertake a risk assessment to identify any potential hazards.

Currently, UK businesses lose 38.8 million working days due to work-related illness and injury. But, with COVID-19 presenting new threats to people’s health, organisations that want to continue with business-as-usual will need to invent new ways to protect their people and maintain a healthy workforce. 

In this article, we’ll explain what a workplace risk assessment is, why it’s so important and what you need to consider. We’ll then explore the benefits of workplace design and risk assessment before sharing how BigChange can help make the process simpler. 

What is a Workplace Risk Assessment?

As an employer, it is your duty to protect your employees, and anyone else on-site, from illness or injuries caused by the work environment. You can determine how to prevent incidents by conducting a legally mandated workplace risk assessment. If you employ five or more people, you must also document your evaluation.

A workplace risk assessment examines potential causes of harm. Organisations can then decide whether they have taken enough precautions to prevent them. All measures must comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and associated regulations by reducing the number of incidents in the workplace.

However, with COVID-19 now thrown into the mix, a standard risk assessment is unlikely to be thorough enough. For example, a traditional risk assessment may not consider if there are specific cleaning protocols in place to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Subsequently, your risk assessment should also follow public health regulations and current government guidelines. Workplace risk assessments help to ensure you’re keeping your employees and on-site visitors safe during the pandemic.

How to Carry Out a Workplace Risk Assessment

Every workplace has its own set of potential threats which could cause ill-health or injury. Threats vary in scope and nature and could range from a wet floor to something much more severe, like the spread of coronavirus. 

However, risk assessments help drastically reduce the likelihood of accidents or illness at work by raising awareness of hazards and enabling you to come up with a prevention plan.

Here are the main steps you need to follow when carrying out a workplace risk assessment:

1. Identify the Hazards When Conducting a Workplace Risk Assessment

The first step is to identify anything that can cause harm. On top of the common hazards you would usually look for, you must now also consider how people could transmit COVID to each other on-site. For example, if your spaces aren’t well ventilated, staff may be at greater risk.

Take a walk around your workplace and make a note of any safety concerns you have. Once you’ve created a list, it’s a good idea to ask other people what they think. Someone else may notice a hazard that isn’t immediately obvious to you, especially if they fall into a more vulnerable category. 

2. Figure Out Who Will Be Affected

For each hazard you listed, you must consider everyone that is at risk of harm. You don’t have to identify each person by name; instead, make a note of particular groups. For example, ‘on-site visitors’. By considering specific parties, you’ll be able to establish the best way of mitigating risks in the workplace for anyone who may be directly affected. 

Again, it would be best to ask someone else to double-check that you haven’t missed anyone. Remember, some people may be at higher risk than others, including:

  • New hires who are unfamiliar with the workplace
  • Younger, inexperienced workers
  • Disabled and chronically ill people
  • Pregnant people
  • People who aren’t on-site all the time
  • Members of the public near the site

You should then also consider the likelihood of an incident and the severity of the potential outcome. Covering all the worst-case scenarios of a workplace hazard will help you to develop appropriate precautionary solutions. 

3. Evaluate the Risks and Determine Precautions

Now that you’ve identified the potential hazards, you need to devise a way to avoid them. The best way to put preventative measures in place is to look at your current processes and determine whether they’re effective enough or need an upgrade. You then need to look at any threats where you don’t currently have any defences in place and implement a solution. 

If you can’t eliminate a hazard altogether, you should instead consider ways to control the risk. Here are some steps you can take to lower the chances of accident or injury:

  1. Try a less dangerous alternative: For example, if your workers use chemicals, research the safest option and switch out products to less harmful versions.
  1. Prevent access to the hazard: If people don’t need to enter hazardous areas regularly, consider putting barriers in place to prevent access.
  1. Reduce exposure to the hazard: Don’t expose anyone to potential threats unless absolutely necessary. You must ensure that all employees are adequately trained to deal with any hazardous situation they may find themselves in because of their job role.
  1. Provide personal protective equipment: The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 state that you must provide suitable protective gear to your workers who may be exposed to a hazard unless you’ve adequately controlled threats by other means.
  1. Ensure there are welfare facilities: You must supply your staff with first aid kits and ensure there are designated first aiders in your office. To help prevent the spread of COVID and other illnesses, you should also provide suitable hand washing facilities. 

4. Implement Your Plan

Companies with five or more employees must keep a record of their workplace risk assessment findings. With a field service management system like BigChange, you can keep an electronic record of all risk assessments for future reference, saving you from manually filing and storing your findings.  

Following the evaluation, you should document the following information:

  • Which hazards the assessor identified
  • The persons or groups that could be affected
  • The methods your organisation put in place to mitigate risks
  • Who is monitoring the preventative measures
  • Who carried out the assessment
  • The date of the assessment

It’s also vital to make all employees aware of your plan and spread awareness of risks in the workplace. A better understanding of potential hazards and measures you’ve put in place will help lower the risk of an illness or injury. For example, some companies are still recommending that people continue to wear masks indoors to prevent the spread of COVID.

For more guidance on working safely during the pandemic, you can visit the GOV.UK website.

5. Continuously Review and Update Your Risk Assessment

Now, more than ever, risks in the workplace are constantly changing. Consequently, you should keep your risk assessment up-to-date and re-assess whether your preventative measures are effective at regular intervals.

Here are some examples of when you may need to review your previous assessment:

  • Following a workplace health or injury-related incident
  • When someone has reported a near-miss
  • If there have been significant changes within the workplace

Benefits of Workplace Design and Risk Assessment

It’s crucial to carry out a workplace risk assessment as a means of protecting your employees, on-site visitors and your company. Carrying out the evaluation correctly and putting processes in place to protect people from hazards will ensure that your business doesn’t suffer from destructive financial and reputational repercussions. 

Here are some of the benefits of executing a thorough risk assessment:

1. Alleviates Costs

If you don’t have the necessary measures in place to protect your workers, you could face a colossal financial loss. Not only could you be fined for non-compliance, but you may also have to pay compensation, replace damaged equipment and train replacement staff whilst your injured worker is away.

If you are fined for non-compliance, your insurance premiums could also skyrocket, and your industry reputation will likely take a hit.

Carrying out an in-depth workplace risk assessment and taking the necessary steps to reduce hazards will result in fewer illnesses and injuries. In addition, employees that feel safe at work are less likely to leave, meaning you’ll have decreased turnover and training costs.

A workplace risk assessment needn’t be costly, but any investment you do need to make to maintain compliance are minimal compared to the potential costs following an incident.


2. Saves Lives

Did you know that over the last year, 142 UK workers suffered a fatality at work?

Workplace risk assessments not only lower the chance of employees suffering from minor illnesses or injuries, but they save lives. 

If your workers use heavy machinery, are frequently exposed to toxic materials – such as asbestos – or work with electricity, the probability of an accident increases dramatically. As such, it becomes even more crucial to conduct a thorough workplace risk assessment. 

Highlighting potential workplace risks to your workers may make them think twice about doing something dangerous and, therefore, considerably reduce the likelihood of a disaster.

3. Lowers the Risk of Legal Liability

Whenever your employees report an incident, people will likely want to know who was at fault. If the affected individual or party believes that the company’s negligence caused the problem, it could result in serious legal proceedings and fines. 

Since 2016, the Sentencing Council introduced new guidelines that outlined harsher penalties and fines for organisations that fail to competently manage health and safety matters. As a result, the average fine has shot up to a staggering £150,000. So, if your business is found guilty, you could end up paying dearly.

When conducted with due care and diligence, a workplace risk assessment can significantly minimise the chance that your business will be found guilty of non-compliance. Instead, you can rest assured that you’ve taken the correct steps towards keeping everyone safe on-site.

4. Enhances Employee Satisfaction and Productivity

Workplace risk assessments eradicate the barriers that prevent your employees from doing their jobs and provide them with the correct tools to complete tasks. Instead of wasting time trying to resolve issues resulting from unsuitable working practices or equipment, they will be able to carry on with their work stress-free and be much more productive.

Plus, a safe and healthy workplace results in happier staff, fewer sick days and more company loyalty. Organisations with highly engaged employees enjoy 21% greater profitability, proving that employee happiness can make a big difference to your bottom line.

5. Maintains Your Company’s Reputation

Companies that effectively prevent workplace-related illnesses and accidents are able to build 

a strong reputation with their employees and clients. Therefore, maintaining a safe work environment and avoiding negative publicity is imperative if you want to ensure your business keeps its good name. 

In fact, companies risk losing 22% of business if potential customers find a negative article in their search results. So, make an effort upfront to carry out a comprehensive workplace risk assessment and put sufficient preventative measures in place. As a result, you may find that you’re able to win more work.

Prevent Risks in the Workplace with BigChange

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 our Job Management Software can make your business grow stronger here and arrange a free demo today.

Did you know that a stressed and anxious driver’s heart rate can accelerate from its typical 70bpm to 180bpm? Road rage increases a driver’s chance of getting into an accident, and when it comes to travelling between jobs, managers should do all in their power to ensure their field service engineers are driving stress free. 

As a leader in driver safety, BigChange has developed workforce management software, including a GPS vehicle tracking system, whose goal is to make roads safer. Through our initiative Leaders for Life, we have conducted studies that reveal the true nature of this problem, such as our 2017 study, where we learned that possibly a third of fatal crashes happened on the job

In this article, we’ll discuss ways that you can positively influence your operations so that your field service technicians can travel between jobs safely.

1. Use a GPS Vehicle Tracking System

In the 21st century, it’s hard to imagine ordering something, whether a product or a job, and not receiving an update on when it will arrive. Unfortunately, this is the experience that many businesses in the field service industry experience when they rely on non-digital means of communication and paperwork. 

BigChange’s advanced GPS vehicle tracking system makes poor visibility problems obsolete. Not only will you see when your field service technician will arrive on the customer’s job site, but you can track their drive live on the platform. The system also shares real speed limits so that you can tell if a driver is speeding, which could increase the likelihood of an accident. 

The GPS vehicle tracking system also ensures your field service engineers arrive at the exact location they need to be. While mobile maps, such as Google maps, are often correct, there are times when the exact location of a job isn’t available on the map. Unreliable information could cause your field service technician to drive around searching for the location, which could distract them from focusing on the road. 

Using the BigChange platform, you can create and manage territories and geofences so that your field service engineer knows exactly where to meet your client.

2. Ensure Vehicle Safety Checks

If you’re the Head of Operations at your company, it’s unlikely you’ll know everything about every vehicle in your fleet. At most companies, the state of a field service technician’s vehicle is logged in a book or spreadsheet somewhere only accessible to the back-office staff. 

With BigChange’s mobile workforce software and GPS vehicle tracking system, you’ll have access to your entire fleet’s history and real-time-location with the tap of your finger. Not only does this give you a comprehensive overview of  each vehicle, its age, mileage, and condition, you will also be able to access each DVSA compliant walkaround to ensure your vehicles are safe for driving. 

Now you’ll know the status of every vehicle you have out on the road and your field technicians will be less likely to encounter problems while traveling between jobs. 

3. Analyse Technician Driving History

When most companies hire field service technicians, the last thing they think about is how they drive when they travel between jobs. Usually a business’s priority is to hire top talent with the most competitive rates. When it comes to safety, though, managers need to keep an eye-out for how their field service technicians are driving. 

BigChange’s commitment to improving safety on UK roads is why we’ve developed an advanced driver behaviour analysis feature for our platform. Using our GPS vehicle tracking system, you can generate an analysis for each technician that includes their idling, speeding, cornering, braking, and harsh accelerations. To give managers an at-a-glance view of each field service technician’s driving behaviour, the platform assigns a driving score for each driver. 

Combine this driver behaviour analysis with our advanced time-stamping records for each driver, and you’ll be able to understand how your field technicians are driving and if they’re taking the necessary breaks to ensure they’ll be alert on the road.

4.Reduce Time Spent Traveling Between Jobs

As we mentioned earlier, stress can lead to road rage, and one of the best ways to stress out a field service technician is to overlook their travel between jobs. Although field service technicians are paid for travel between jobs, the annual road casualties report indicates that the time spent traveling between jobs can influence the likelihood of an accident. 

Put simply, the more time your field service technicians spend traveling between jobs, the more opportunities there are for a crash. 

Fortunately, it’s easy to reduce a technician’s travel time between jobs using BigChange’s intelligent scheduling assistant. The intelligent scheduling assistant enables you to shorten your technicians’ routes by sharing the following real-time information:

  • Real-time resource location
  • live-traffic information
  • job constraints (such as skills or qualifications)
  • Type of vehicle
  • Inventory
  • Detailed service information
  • Customer history and requirements

This data will show you the nearest and most experienced technicians, allowing you to reduce travel time, and potential accidents, by hiring someone who is already near the job site.

5. Prevent Texting While Driving

Without field service management software like BigChange, many field service technicians end up having to answer calls, texts, and emails while on the job, or worse, on the road. Hiccups on the job, such as an unexpected missing part, can also put field service engineers off schedule, resulting in the need to inform the next customer of a changed arrival time. 

When using BigChange’s job management software, your field service technicians no longer have to notify the client if they’re running late. The platform will send an automated message with the driver’s ETA as well as a live tracking link so that the customer knows exactly how far away your field technician is.

Help Your Field Service Technicians Travel Safely with BigChange

Creating safer roads is in everyone’s best interest, and as managers, you have the opportunity to make a big difference in making our roads safer. By using BigChange’s GPS tracking system you can receive your field service technician’s real-time driving information and verify they’re not speeding. 

Our job management software also gives you access to vehicle safety checks and driver behaviour analysis that will give you a clearer picture of how each driver is behaving so you can identify problematic driving patterns and vehicles. Auto-alerts sent to the client and geofenced locations can also keep your field service technicians from getting distracted on the road. 

Want to find out more?

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

Checking in on a job and finding out your field service engineer has exceeded the legal working hours is a surprise no manager wants. As we all know, working in the field isn’t exactly predictable. There are contracts to sign, parts to order, and sometimes a job that should have taken one hour ends up taking four. Not to mention that driving time, an essential aspect of a field service engineer’s job, is counted as hourly work. 

Unless you’re prepared to receive a formal grievance from a resource, it’s best to learn the facts behind the UK’s employment laws and ensure you have procedures in place to prevent illegal overtime work before it happens. 

In this article, we will discuss what constitutes legal working hours and five strategies to help you maintain a compliant work schedule for your engineers.

How to Maintain Legal Working Hours: Five Top Tips

Like most workers in the UK, field service engineers are allowed to work a maximum of 48 hours a week, including overtime. For field service engineers, travel to and from each site, time spent on call on a worksite, and even travel between home and work all count as legal working hours. 

Whether or not overtime is stipulated in the contract, working more than 48 hours is considered in excess of the legal working hours. Employers have the option of asking their employees or contractors to opt out of the 48-hour work week, but a special contract must be signed stating so. 

Although there is a lot to keep track of, managing your employees’ working hours needn’t be a headache. 

Fortunately, we are living in a digital age where mobile workforce solutions like BigChange can help keep jobs on deadline, track working hours, and help you stay in compliance with UK labour laws.

1. Reduce Administrative Time with Digital Paperwork

What’s worse than knowing your field service managers are wasting hours on the job trying to find the right paperwork? 

Digitising your processes and procedures could greatly reduce the time that each field engineer spends on the job. With a mobile workforce management platform like BigChange, field service engineers can use their phone cameras to provide proof of a finished job, send requests for additional equipment with the tap of a finger, and view and share relevant files with the back office in real time. 

Best of all, using modern workforce management technology lets you see how each job is going and, most importantly, how long it’s taking, right from your phone, tablet, or computer.

2. Easily Track Field Engineer Hours

The easiest way to make sure your field service engineers stay within legal working hours is to see how many hours they’re putting in each day. Using BigChange’s mobile workforce management software, you will have access to each individual’s working hours, hourly pay, and any special out-of-hours rates. 

The software will help your back-office staff keep track of resource timesheets, expenses, and holidays. Using BigChange’s complete Job Management Platform, managers can also quickly approve and reject timesheets, holidays, and expense claims. 

BigChange’s detailed time-stamping feature also goes beyond when an engineer clocked in and out. It also includes when jobs were received and accepted, when the engineer began traveling, and when they arrived to begin work. Not only will this help you see exactly how your engineers are spending their time, you can also use this information if you face a customer complaint.

3. Reduce Driving Time with Intelligent Scheduling

One of the main reasons many jobs end up taking longer is due to driving time. Now that companies are required to pay field service engineers for time spent driving to clients, the hours can add up fast. 

The best way to address this problem is to reduce how far each technician travels for each job. Using BigChange’s intelligent scheduling assistant enables you to shorten your technicians’ routes by sharing the following real-time information:

  • Real-time resource location
  • live-traffic information
  • job constraints (such as skills or qualifications)
  • Type of vehicle
  • Inventory
  • Detailed service information
  • Customer history and requirements

As such, you can rest assured that you’re making the most of your technicians’ time and attending to more customers’ jobs per day.

4. Stop Overbooking Before It Happens

When business is moving at such a fast pace, it’s not always easy to make sure that your field service engineers aren’t accruing excess hours. While having an individual profile of each engineer’s working hours, holidays, and absences can help you stick to the legal working hour limit, having systems in place to alert you if there’s a possibility of overtime work is your best bet. 

Beyond simply tracking hours and cutting out time-consuming paperwork, BigChange’s mobile workforce management software enables employers to set up custom alerts to notify engineers if they’re in danger of over-running a job. 

Field service engineers are also empowered to pause, suspend, or reject jobs that they either don’t have the bandwidth to perform or are running over schedule. All of this communication can be done seamlessly through the BigChange app so that field service engineers and the back-office are always on the same page instantaneously.

5. Complete Extra Work Orders with Subcontractors

When you’re doing good work, you often end up with more work as a result of your great reputation. Although a boost to your bottom line is always beneficial, it could make sticking to each individual’s 48-legal working hours a challenge if you don’t have the field service engineers on-hand to handle your workload.

Being able to easily hire subcontractors when you have an unexpected workload is a great way to address this problem. Luckily, setting up subcontractor licenses through the BigChange Network makes hiring extra help a breeze.

Guarantee Legal Working Hours with BigChange

BigChange’s mobile workforce management software doesn’t just help simplify your business procedures, it also provides you with various ways to avoid exceeding legal working hours for your field service engineers. 

Whether it’s digitising job paperwork, easily tracking your field service engineers’ hours, hiring the best and closest engineers for the job, or bringing on a subcontractor when there’s a large workload, using the BigChange mobile workforce management platform will help you keep your staff within their legal working hours. 

Want to find out more?

Discover how BigChange field service management software can make your business grow stronger here and arrange a free demo today.

Running a business isn’t an easy task, and it becomes even trickier when you throw complex data protection laws into the mix. Shockingly, over half (52%) of businesses aren’t GDPR compliant, putting them at risk of severe operational, financial and reputational damage.  

For field service businesses, collecting customer data is a necessary part of the process. You couldn’t send an engineer to a customer’s home without knowing their address, for example. So, how do you ensure that you’re managing sensitive information compliantly?

In this article, we’ll break down the jargon to explain what GDPR is and how it affects field service businesses that need to store customer data. We’ll then share how you can manage your clients’ details compliantly and explore the benefits of using a cloud-based CRM (customer relationship management) system.

What is GDPR and How Does it Affect Field Service Businesses?

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation, which is the strictest privacy law in the world. Although the European Union (EU) originally drafted and passed the regulation, it affects any organisation that targets or collects data related to people in Europe. 

Ultimately, the regulation is designed to give people more control over their personal data.

Since GDPR came into effect on 25 May 2018, businesses have had to follow more stringent processes when obtaining and storing customer information to avoid the harsh penalties of non-compliance. 

But, how do you ensure that your business isn’t in breach of GDPR? Read on to find out more.

Customer Data Compliance: How Do I Ensure My Business is Not in Breach of GDPR?

Whether you’re a large corporation or an SME (Small or Medium-Sized Enterprise), you are fully responsible for protecting your customers’ data. As it stands, the maximum fine for infringements is £17.5 million or 4% of your annual turnover – whichever is greater.

Consequently, it’s essential to put together a compliance strategy.

Below are five steps you can take towards ensuring that your company is GDPR-compliant. However, it’s also essential to seek advice from a lawyer about legal requirements for your particular business.

1. Identify the Type of Data You’re Collecting

The first step to managing customer data according to GDPR is identifying and categorising the type of information you’re collecting. Here are some examples of personal data that field service organisations may need to keep a record of:

  • Names
  • Home addresses
  • Email addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Credit card or bank account details

Once you’ve figured out the type of data you’ll be storing, you can determine the best method of processing it compliantly. 

2. Process the Data Correctly

Any time you obtain, use, share or store a customer’s data, you need to follow the seven GDPR principles, which are:

1. Lawfulness, Fairness and Transparency: You must process all personal data according to the law and ensure that you’re transparent about the actions you’re taking.

2. Purpose Limitation: You shouldn’t collect or store customer data for anything other than its intended, legal purpose or without proper permission.

3. Data Minimisation: Only collect the minimum amount of personal data you need to deliver your service.

4. Accuracy: Never collect, store or use inaccurate or outdated details.

5. Storage Limitation: Only keep data for as long as necessary. Once you no longer require the details, you must dispose of them correctly. You may also anonymise data if you intend to use it for business reporting purposes (for example, how many customers visited your website over the last five years).

6. Integrity and Confidentiality: You must process all data in a manner that ensures appropriate security, including protection against unauthorised or unlawful processing and accidental loss, destruction or damage.

7. Accountability: You should be accountable for how you handle customer data.

Remember, the GDPR requires you to prove the nature of consent between you and your customers. As such, you should keep a comprehensive record of how clients joined your database and what permissions they provided.

3. Keep Customers’ Information Secure

Regardless of how you choose to store your customers’ details, you must adopt safety measures to secure the database. Unfortunately, if you rely on spreadsheets and legacy systems to defend sensitive information, you risk becoming the victim of a data breach. 

Instead, you can ensure that your database is completely secure when you use a modern, cloud-based CRM system. Unlike in-house CRMs, which are vulnerable to hackers, cloud CRM providers encrypt customer data and create backups. 

Cloud systems enable you to take immediate action whenever security threats are detected so you can prevent any issues before they become serious. Additionally, the backups ensure that you can restore your entire database if the system crashes due to a virus.

4. Listen to Your Customers and Action their Requests

58% of people in the UK said they are concerned that a company might sell their personal information to other companies. Naturally, your customers will want to protect their data and GDPR is designed to give them more control over the way businesses use their details.

Therefore, you must make provisions for clients to exercise their rights by allowing them to access their data and deleting or modifying their details when asked. Your responses should be prompt, and you will need to provide a genuine, logical reason if you wish to delay or refuse their requests.

5. Assess Your Database for Risks

Since field service businesses deal with a high volume of customer data and collect information such as home addresses and bank details, you should carry out a DPIA (Data Protection Impact Assessment). 

Much like a standard impact assessment, a DPIA is designed to help you identify and minimise any data protection risks. Your DPIA must:

  • Describe the nature, scope, context and purposes of the processing
  • Assess necessity, proportionality and compliance measures
  • Identify and assess risks to individuals
  • Highlight any additional steps to mitigate risks

If you identify a high risk that you cannot mitigate, you must consult the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) before you begin processing data.
To learn more about DPIA and when you should carry out an assessment, click here.

What are the Benefits of Using a Cloud-Based CRM System to Manage Customer Data?

Evidently, there is a lot to think about to ensure that you’re operating compliantly. However, thanks to modern technology, customer data compliance needn’t be a headache. In reality, using CRM software not only ensures that you’re following the GDPR but also boasts a range of other benefits that your business will enjoy. 

Here are four reasons why a cloud-based CRM system is a must-have for any field service management business:

1. More Straightforward for Your Team

A study conducted by Professor of Business, Raymond R. Panko showed that the probability of human error is between 18-40% when people manually enter data into simple spreadsheets. For complex spreadsheets, the possibility of error escalates to a staggering 100%. So it’s not that people are lazy or incompetent, but that repetitive data entry directly causes mistakes. 

But, when it comes to GDPR, there is no room for error. 

If you’re still relying on antiquated legacy systems, spreadsheets and other paper-based methods of managing customer data, you’re increasing the likelihood that you’ll be fined for non-compliance.

Luckily, modern CRM systems eliminate all the arduous manual processes and paperwork by keeping everything on one easy-to-use platform. Your team can find your customers’ contact details directly in the system using Google Maps to ensure all the data is correct as it goes into the database.

Your back-office staff can then use the pre-populated information to communicate directly with customers, who will have the option to opt-in or out of marketing emails. Since the CRM stores all correspondence with customers, it will immediately record their preferences and sort them into categories. Your team then doesn’t have to worry about remembering which customers don’t want to be contacted each time they send out communications.

2. Lower Costs

Field service organisations that use paper-based documents and manual processes to manage their operations spend more money than needed. Gartner estimates that as much as 3% of a company’s revenue is spent on paper, printing, filing and the costs to store and maintain files of information.

Therefore, going paperless and managing customer data on a CRM system isn’t just great for the environment. It makes good business sense.
Instead of paying for additional storage or needing to hire people to manage the admin processes associated with paper files, your team can handle all your customers’ information on one online platform. Subsequently, you can respond much more rapidly to clients’ ‘amend’ or ‘delete’ requests, enabling you to meet the 30-day GDPR requirement.

3. Improved Communication with Your Customers

It may seem like GDPR is designed to stop companies from reaching out to their customers, but this isn’t the case. In truth, the regulation has led to an increase in data quality, which is good news for the 64% of businesses that believe inaccurate data undermines their ability to provide an excellent customer experience. 

When you use a cloud-based CRM system to manage customer data, you will be able to see the bigger picture and categorise your clients based on their preferences. As a result, you’ll only be sending personalised marketing communications to customers that opted-in, meaning that click-throughs and engagement are likely to skyrocket.

With increased customer engagement, you can use the data the CRM collects to inform future marketing campaigns and tailor your services to client requirements.

4. Customers’ Data is Protected

In today’s digital world, protecting your clients’ data is more critical than ever. In fact, failure to keep sensitive details safe could be detrimental to your organisation, with 71% of people saying they would take their business elsewhere after a data breach.

When you use a spreadsheet to store and handle customer information, you’re inadvertently putting your organisation at risk of a data breach. Spreadsheets are easy to duplicate and share with others, meaning your database of sensitive customer data could end up in anyone’s hands. 

Even if you have protected your spreadsheets with passwords, you still can’t guarantee that someone won’t gain unlawful access to them. So, it can be challenging to prove that you have taken the proper precautions to secure customer information in the event of a breach.

In contrast, a cloud-based CRM system significantly lowers the possibility of a data breach. For example, BigChange’s CRM secures all data in AWS (Amazon Web Services), which is the world’s most comprehensive and widely-used cloud platform in the world. 

As such, you can show customers that you take data privacy seriously, and they can rest assured that their information is in good hands.

Guarantee GDPR Compliance on BigChange’s Cloud-Based CRM System

Managing data subject consent doesn’t have to be time-consuming.

BigChange equips you with the tools you need to handle all customer data compliantly at the touch of a button, with our market leading Job Management Software.

Carry out GDPR-compliant management of an individuals’ data within the system, including opt-in preferences. Anonymise data, and add flags to segment contacts for financial or marketing purposes. 

Want to find out more?

Discover how BigChange field service management software can make your business grow stronger here and arrange a free demo today.

According to The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), UK businesses lost an eye-watering 38.8 million working days due to occupational ill health and non-fatal workplace injuries during 2019-20. However, companies could avoid a large proportion of these lost days in the future by ensuring that they manage their health and safety protocols effectively.

Fortunately, health and safety has come a long way since the days of clipboards and pens. There are now more superior ways to assess and mitigate risks, thanks to the technological advancements we’ve experienced in recent years. 

Read on to find out more about how health and safety compliance management software can aid in keeping your employees safe and benefit your business simultaneously.

Keeping Your Employees Safe with Technology: What are the Benefits?

As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that your employees, and anyone else who may be affected by your business, are safe from harm during working hours. However, when you rely on manual processes and paper-based documents to handle your health and safety procedures, you run the risk of occupational illnesses and injuries becoming more commonplace and, at worst, being fined for non-compliance.  

In contrast, health and safety compliance management software can simplify the entire process, reducing the potential for human error and improving worker health and safety. Here are just some of the benefits your organisation could enjoy by using technology to handle workplace hazards:

1. Less Human Error

When it comes to health and safety, human error can be the difference between life and death. With HSE recording 111 fatal workplace injuries over the course of just one year, businesses must do all they can to improve their processes and reduce the frequency of avoidable disasters.

By using health and safety compliance management software, you can significantly lower the margin for errors to occur. You will be able to manage all health and safety-related documents in the system using pre-populated, correct information. For example, you can add method statements that field engineers must complete from their mobile devices before they can begin a job. 

Promoting health and safety in the workplace via mandatory method statements reduces the likelihood that your technicians will forget vital protocols.

2. Guaranteed Compliance

In 2016, the Sentencing Council introduced harsher penalties for businesses that fail to manage health and safety risks appropriately. Consequently, the fine has skyrocketed to £150,000. Therefore, to avoid a severe financial hit, you must ensure your business manages workplace hazards compliantly.

Fortunately, keeping your employees safe needn’t be challenging or costly when you use the latest health and safety software

You can create mandatory electronic workflows and integrated mobile safety checklists, ensuring your technicians follow industry-standard protocols. Not only do these digital documents enable your workers to complete jobs compliantly, but they also have the potential to increase first-time fix rates significantly because they ensure that workers complete jobs to the highest standard.

3. Streamlined Processes and Improved Productivity

Typically, UK workers spend around two hours per day completing administration tasks. Consequently, companies are missing out on opportunities for growth since their employees are focused on manual processes instead of business-critical work.

Digitising your health and safety procedures eliminates the time-consuming paperwork and provides your team with a more streamlined workflow. Engineers can complete digital forms from their mobile devices and instantly send them through to your back-office team instead of filling out paper-based forms and hand-delivering them to the office at the end of the day.

The system automatically records all details, including any photographs the technicians take on-site, to ensure that you have an easy-to-access record of all work. As such, your employees won’t have to spend hours filing and sorting through documents and, instead, they can focus on doing what they do best.

4. Boosted Worker Morale

Research shows that companies with highly engaged employees experience 21% greater profitability, indicating that worker happiness plays a significant role in business success.

But, when your employees don’t believe that you’re prioritising their health and safety, their morale will take a nosedive. Plus, if there are lots of barriers standing in the way of your workers being able to complete jobs safely, they will have to waste time trying to resolve issues.

As a result, you’ll find that your workers take more sick days, and productivity reaches an all-time low.

With BigChange’s health and safety compliance management software, you and your employees can rest assured that suitable measures are in place to prevent workplace hazards. 

For example, field engineers can answer a questionnaire from their mobile device, which identifies risks at the customer site. The system automatically triggers an alert to your back-office staff, allowing them to take immediate action and protect the technician.

Plus, you can carry out daily electronic vehicle walk-around checks, which allow you to identify defects and potential problems. As a result, you’ll have a reliable and legal fleet on the road, and your technicians won’t have to worry about their safety as they travel to your customers.

Promoting Health and Safety in the Workplace Has Never Been Simpler with BigChange

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 walk-around checks, you can rest assured that health and safety are a number one priority.

Want to find out more?

Discover how our Job Management Software can make your business grow stronger, arrange a free demo today.

As a field service business leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your workers are safe and that your operations are compliant. Failure to meet compliance laws and regulations, such as the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, could put your business at risk of severe operational, financial and reputational damage. 

However, it can be tricky to maintain strict compliance when you don’t have the right tools or complete visibility over your operations. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways that you can use modern technology to run your organisation compliantly. Read on to learn how to improve compliance within your field service operations using BigChange’s job management software.

How to Improve Compliance: Four Top Tips

Running your field service operations compliantly doesn’t have to be a headache. With the right solution in place, you and your employees can maintain accurate records, carry out work according to rules and regulations, and protect customer data all on one platform.  

Here are just some of the ways you can improve compliance using state-of-the-art workforce management software:

1. Complete a Risk Assessment

Not only will a risk assessment help you to identify any potential hazards in the workplace, but it’s also a legal requirement to document it if you employ five or more people.

There are several pieces of information you must note when carrying out a risk assessment:

  • Which hazards the assessor identified
  • The persons or groups that could be affected
  • The methods your organisation put in place to mitigate risks
  • Who is monitoring the preventative measures
  • Who carried out the assessment
  • The date of the assessment

You must also show that you’ve taken measures to mitigate risks that comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act and associated regulations.

Historically, field service businesses have relied on humble clipboards and pens to conduct their risk assessments. But, traditional manual methods of detailing workplace hazards are inefficient and challenging to keep a record of for future reference. 

Instead, when using a field service management system with built-in health & safety features, you can keep a digital record of all risk assessments for easy access. Plus, you can use your findings to create method statements in the system, which all engineers will have access to, ensuring that they carry out all work safely and compliantly.

For guidance on how to carry out a risk assessment, click here.

2. Enhance Your Communication Methods

When it comes to health and safety compliance, communication is critical. Engaged employees are five times less likely to have a safety incident than non-engaged employees. Therefore, you should ensure that every member of your team has access to essential information.

BigChange’s field service software for iOS and Android provides your engineers with everything they need to know in the palm of their hands. Then, once your workers have completed a job, they can fill out all the necessary paperwork from their mobile device and send it straight back to the office in real-time.

You can set mandatory fields in each document to ensure that your technicians are carrying out work compliantly. For example, you can require your workers to attach photos of their completed projects or obtain customers’ signatures. 

As a result of improving communication between technicians and back-office staff and providing necessary information upfront, you’ll find that your workers can operate more compliantly. Additionally, by streamlining your processes, your workers can maximise their time to complete more jobs per day.

3. Create Mandatory Workflows for Field Technicians

Not only can intelligent, digital workflow automation increase productivity by 20%, but it also ensures that your technicians are working compliantly. 

With the BigChange job management software, you set your own workflows in the system that technicians must follow. The workflows prevent your engineers from carrying out any work until they’ve electronically confirmed that they have followed all your health and safety protocols beforehand.

The system also allows you to create multiple vehicle-specific or role-specific safety checks. Your team will also have access to all previous tests, enabling them to view outstanding defects and fix or reconcile issues directly from the app. 

4. Manage Confidential Customer Information Digitally

Keeping records is an essential part of running a business. However, when all your documentation is paper-based, you have to find somewhere to store it and potentially hire staff to manage the filing system. Not to mention that you run the risk of breaching GDPR (general data protection regulation) if you don’t manage customer information correctly.

In contrast, BigChange’s CRM system enables you to carry out GDPR compliant management of individuals’ data and give your customers opt-in preferences, so they have peace of mind that your team has recorded their information with their consent. 

Most importantly, our software is cloud-based, meaning that all information is highly protected. Consequently, you and your customers can rest assured that all confidential information will remain that way.

Guarantee that Your Field Service Operations are Compliant with BigChange

Your people are your most important asset. 

Using our leading Field Service Management Software will give 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 the BigChange complete Job Management Platform can make your business grow stronger here and arrange a free demo today.

Since summer 2021, UK ministers have confirmed that consumers have the right to repair any goods they buy. The new law is designed to cut down on energy and reduce the need for new materials. As a result, manufacturers will be legally obligated to make spare parts available to product owners for the first time.

But, whilst the new law may be positive news for consumers countrywide, how will it affect plumbing companies?

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the new law and explain what it means for plumbers. Plus, we’ll share how you can deliver an outstanding service that will make customers want to hire a professional plumber rather than attempt DIY fixes.

Will People Still Hire a Professional Plumber for Fixes?

According to a YouGov survey, 60% of Britons feel most confident fixing wooden furniture out of all home items and appliances. However, with plumbing being a highly skilled trade requiring qualifications to practice professionally, does the general public feel as safe repairing more dangerous household appliances?

Let’s take a look at some of the most common items you would find in the average home:

Bathroom Appliances

When it comes to carrying out fixes in the bathroom, the public’s opinion is divided. Only 41% of people would try to repair the toilet themselves, but around 7% have had a negative experience doing so and would hire a professional plumber instead next time. Those who have been put off attempting a repair again in the future join the 59% of people who wouldn’t fix the toilet themselves, so there is undoubtedly still a significant demand for plumbers.

Although toilets and taps are considered more straightforward fixes for the average homeowner, only 16% of people indicated that they would feel comfortable mending an electric shower. So, whilst manufacturers must make parts available to consumers, there’s a good chance they will still want a professional to carry out the repair.

Kitchen Appliances

You’ll be able to find most of the appliances covered in the ‘right to repair’ law in the kitchen. Yet, YouGov data suggests that not many people are comfortable taking advantage of the scheme and attempting to restore broken items. Out of all kitchen appliances, people feel most comfortable repairing their washing machines, but that only covers a meagre 22% of the population.

For fridges and freezers, the percentage drops even lower to just 13%. But, cookers are by far the most unpopular item to repair, with only 9% of people claiming that they would try to mend them.

Other Household Appliances

Did you know, 77% of the UK’s population uses a gas boiler to heat their homes, making it the most popular method? Still, only a quarter of people would be happy to repair a radiator, and just 8% would tackle a problem with their boiler. 

The good news for plumbers is that it is often much more cost-effective and efficient to carry out repairs instead of simply replacing the boiler altogether. As a result, you can still expect many bookings, especially during the winter months.

Tap into Your Plumbing Business’ Full Potential with Field Service Management Software

Climate change is a serious issue, with electronic waste having risen by 21% over five years to a total of 53.6 million metric tonnes. Therefore, the ‘right to repair’ law is a good move, environmentally speaking. Plus, it seems that consumers’ newfound access to spare parts hasn’t affected their willingness to attempt DIY repairs. Nevertheless, plumbers will still need to ensure that they deliver outstanding services to maintain a reliable stream of customers.

Luckily, with field service management software like BigChange in place, you can impress your clients at all stages of the buyer journey. Customers can easily make and amend bookings using our online portal, meaning they won’t have to wait on the phone to speak to a representative.

Then, you can immediately assign and dispatch a plumber based on location, qualifications and vehicle type, meaning the best person for the job will attend and fix the issue the first time. In the meantime, you’ll be able to keep your customers in the loop by sending them an automated email update that includes a live GPS tracking link and an estimated time of arrival. As such, your customers won’t have to wait at home all day for their plumbers to arrive.

Once the work is complete, plumbers can complete essential documents and send invoices directly from their mobile devices. Customers can then pay the invoice the same day using a range of convenient payment methods.

Finally, you can keep client engagement high post-job by sending out a customer satisfaction survey to make them feel valued. Additionally, the survey gives you the vital data you need to make continuous improvements to your business and persuade people to use your business instead of attempting DIY fixes.

Manage Your Bookings at the Click of a Button with BigChange

Plan, manage, schedule and track your field-based workforce. 

BigChange gives you the power and freedom to manage the key parts of your business from a single platform. Seamlessly connect your office, field-based workers and customers using our state-of-the-art field service management technology.

Want to find out more?
Discover how BigChange can make your business grow stronger, arrange a free demo today.

As more experienced and seasoned field service technicians approach retirement age in the UK, the ageing workforce threatens to severely impact around 70% of organisations within the next five to ten years. So, with a shortage of younger people to fill the empty roles, field service businesses will need to look to the EU to find the talent they need. 

However, since Free Movement ended on 31 December 2020, the government now requires anyone coming into the UK to prove their eligibility to work via a points-based system. 

In this article, we’ll break down the steps and explain how you can hire EU nationals in the UK post-Brexit. Plus, we’ll share how field service management technology helps you manage your entire workforce. 

How to Hire Candidates from the EU

1. Check that You Can Legally Hire from the EU

There are many positives to adopting field service technology to man

Before you can begin hiring European nationals, you must first check that your business is eligible. If you were already a licensed Tier 2 or Tier 5 sponsor on 30 November 2020, your licence would have automatically been transferred to the new system.

However, if you don’t already have a sponsor license, you must apply for one. Remember, although a license is a legal requirement, it does not automatically guarantee that your candidate will get a visa to work for you in the UK.

Certain groups do not require you to obtain a sponsor license:

  • Irish citizens
  • People with indefinite leave to remain in the UK 
  • People with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme

Ensuring that your business is eligible to hire from the EU before you attempt to hire will make the process much smoother. Once you have a license, you can start hiring people from outside the UK.

2. Ensure the People You Want to Hire Meet the Requirements

There are two main routes that a worker can take to enter the UK, which we will explore below. For both routes, there are certain requirements that the candidate must meet:

1. Skilled Workers

To hire someone outside the UK as a skilled worker, they will need to demonstrate the following:

  • They have a job offer from you — a Home Office licensed sponsor
  • They speak English at the required level (B1)
  • The job offer you have provided them with is at the level of skill needed of RQF3 or above (equivalent to A level)
  • Their salary will be at least £25,600 or the standard rate for the job offer, whichever is higher
2. Intra-Company Transfers

If you want to transfer an employee from an overseas part of your organisation to work for you in the UK, they can apply for an Intra-Company Transfer. Those who are transferring will need to:

  • Be existing workers who will undertake roles that meet the skills and salary thresholds
  • Receive sponsorship as an Inter-Company Transfer by you — a Home Office licensed sponsor
  • Have at least 12 months’ experience working for an overseas company linked by ownership to the business they’ll work for in the UK
  • Accept a role at the required skill level of RQF6 or above (equivalent to graduate level)
  • Earn a salary of at least £41,500 or the standard rate for the job, whichever is higher

It’s worth noting that Intra-Company Transfers are temporary. People can be assigned to work in the UK multiple times, but they aren’t permitted to stay for more than five years across a six-year period. 
Different rules apply for graduate trainees or anyone paid over £73,900, which you can learn more about here.

How to Carry out a ‘Right-to-Work’ Check

As an employer, you will need to check that job applicants have the right to work in the UK before you hire them; otherwise, you risk being liable for a civil penalty. Workers will need to meet a minimum of 70 points to be eligible. 

There are two types of ‘right-to-work’ checks: manual and online.

  • Manual: You can use a manual check on UK and Irish citizens who may use their passports as proof of eligibility. You will also need to complete a manual check for anyone who doesn’t have an online immigration status, for example, eVisa.
  • Online: An online check applies to individuals who only hold an eVisa, which applies to most EU citizens. To carry out an online check, you’ll need the applicant’s birth date and share code.

You must not discriminate when conducting right-to-work checks. To read the Home Office’s statutory codes of practice, click here.

Managing Your New Hires with Field Service Management Technology

Now you know how to hire candidates from outside the UK, you can rest assured that your business-as-usual activities won’t be affected by the looming talent shortage.

But, whilst a strong team of talented employees is the first step to maintaining a competitive business in a skill-short industry, how do you ensure they’re providing outstanding services to your customers?

That’s where field service management (FSM) software comes in.

With FSM technology, you can see who is working for you, when and where. Additionally, you can make sure that everyone delivers consistent services to your clients by equipping your technicians with an integrated mobile app. The app gives workers all the information they need to complete the job the first time round and provides them with mandatory workflow documents that ensure the work is being carried out to your high standards.

Then, once your technicians have completed their jobs, you can gather feedback from your clients via an automated customer satisfaction survey. With such vital data at hand, you can make continuous improvements to your business that impress your customers and set you apart from your competitors.

Manage Your Entire Workforce at the Click of a Button with BigChange

Plan, manage, schedule and track your field-based workforce. 

BigChange gives you the power and freedom to manage the key parts of your business from a single platform. Seamlessly connect your office, field-based workers and customers using our state-of-the-art field service management technology.

Want to find out more?
Discover how BigChange can make your business grow stronger, arrange a free demo today.

Aside from having a devastating impact on people’s health and the NHS, COVID-19 has caused significant damage to UK businesses and the economy. Even today, 32% of field service businesses are considering lowering their operational costs by reducing headcount, indicating that there are still lingering effects from the pandemic.

But, thanks to technological advancements in recent years, which were only accelerated further during the crisis, business recovery is possible. By investing in the correct field service management (FSM) technology, companies can get their operations back on track without sacrificing their workforces. 

In this article, we’ll explore how the UK COVID restrictions impacted field service organisations. We’ll also delve into how FSM technology can mitigate the main issues the pandemic caused for businesses. 

How Did UK COVID Restrictions Affect Field Service Organisations?

1. A Need for Contactless Options

According to the Technology & Services Industry Association (TSIA), 78% of field service organisations completely stopped deploying technicians to customer sites during the height of COVID-19. 

With restrictions requiring people to maintain a six-feet distance and to limit anyone from outside your household coming onto your property, businesses and customers could not interact as they had previously. 

Although the government has now lifted most restrictions, many people are still unsure about returning to ‘normal’. So, field service companies have had to think outside the box to maintain business-as-usual activities. 

Fortunately, companies can still complete all their bookings without any obstacles thanks to field service management technology. With a platform like BigChange, technicians can capture clients’ signatures once the work is complete using the NoTouch feature, enabling customers to sign from their mobile devices. As such, businesses can still deliver vital field services whilst still respecting customers’ concerns over the virus.

2. Supply Chain Disruption

A survey conducted by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) showed that approximately three-quarters of field service companies experienced supply chain disruptions since the breakout of COVID-19.

Unfortunately, if you don’t have complete visibility over your stock and equipment, it can be tricky to predict future requirements. However, when you use field service management technology, you’ll have access to accurate real-time data on all your assets, regardless of their location.

Software such as this allows you to assign gear directly to bookings, enabling your technicians to arrive with everything they need to complete the job the first time. Plus, you can see the exact quantities of every item in your inventory, giving you ample time to order more if needed, ahead of time. Ordering in advance has been particularly crucial for businesses throughout the pandemic, who are finding that scarcity of materials and factory shutdowns have led to shortages.

3. Talent Shortages

The pandemic caused an increased requirement for service jobs, which may seem positive for businesses on the surface. However, the unprecedented demand caused a shortage of talent, meaning field service organisations have had to increase investment in workers by 72%.

The good news is that attending to a high volume of work doesn’t have to eat into your profits. When you use BigChange’s field service management software, you automatically gain access to the BigChange Network.

The Network enables you to list your business for free and start connecting with thousands of other trusted field service organisations worldwide. Consequently, you can hire professional subcontractors from any location and expand your reach further than ever before, without needing to make costly hires.

4. A Need for Rapid Communication

With COVID rules and restrictions changing so constantly throughout 2020 and affecting how businesses could operate, many organisations recognised the importance of sending rapid communications to their customers.

With 99% of email users checking their inbox daily, it’s clear that emails are still one of the best ways to spread vital information and updates en masse. Luckily, with a field service management platform like BigChange, you don’t have to sift through endless spreadsheets or spend hours setting up an email template to contact your customer base.

Instead, the system pulls your clients’ data from the CRM (customer relationship management software) into a pre-designed email template, allowing you to send personalised communications. You can also edit the template to include your company branding so customers immediately know that it’s from your organisation.

With the ability to send automated email updates to your customers at the click of a button, you’ll never have to worry about keeping everyone in the loop about important business updates, even after the pandemic is over.

What the Pandemic Has Taught Us

If there’s one key business takeaway from the pandemic, it’s that technology has the power to overcome any unexpected obstacles. In fact, data from ECI Partners shows that twice as many small to medium-sized businesses invested in technology by Q1 in 2021, growing from 32% in 2019 to 64%.

Therefore, field service organisations will need to adopt the latest technology to survive in a competitive post-pandemic landscape and guarantee complete business recovery. Using software like BigChange to manage your operations enables you to:

  • Manage all customer relationships
  • Plan and schedule jobs
  • Track your vehicles and assets
  • Process invoices and payments electronically
  • Handle customer bookings online

All from one easy-to-use platform. Plus, with the mobile app, you can provide your field-based technicians with all the tools they need to deliver excellent service to customers during the pandemic and beyond.

Business Recovery Made Simple with BigChange


Plan, manage, schedule and track your field-based workforce. 

BigChange gives you the power and freedom to manage the key parts of your business from a single platform. Seamlessly connect your office, field-based workers and customers using our state-of-the-art field service management technology.

Want to find out more?
Discover how job management software from BigChange can make your business grow stronger, arrange a free demo today.

Just doing a risk assessment isn’t enough. This may sound obvious, but they have to be done right. Here are a few things not to do, and what to do instead.

If you’re looking for the steps you must take when carrying out a workplace risk assessment, check out The Five Steps to a successful Risk Assessment.

  1. Set and forget it
    Once completed, a risk assessment document cannot just be left indefinitely. If there is an incident, or a change at site that makes you think it may no longer cover all that it needs to, it’s time to review. If not, be sure to review them at least annually. 

    Top tip: Set up reminder to ensure that essential document reviews aren’t forgotten.

  2. Use vague wording

    What is ‘heavy’ varies person to person. If you mean 25kg, say it. Equally, if there is a piece of protective clothing or equipment required, specify exactly which this is rather than saying ‘wear protective clothing’.

    Top tip: Have a member of another team or colleague read through your document and confirm wording is all clear and easy to understand.

  3. Assume that one size fits all

    It is often a good idea to use other risk assessments to help inform another. This can prevent contradictions and ensure that consistent language is used. But if the same equipment is to be used at a different site, don’t forget to add or remove information to reflect a different environment. 

    Top tip: Check out industry templates and standards (available online) for guidance.

  4. Doing it from the office (or home)

    A risk assessment isn’t about what should happen, but about what could happen. To spot these things, you need to have risk assessments filled out by someone on site.

    Top tip: Ensure you have processes in place that make sure that both generic and dynamic (i.e. new sites/jobs) risk assessments are completed by the most appropriate people.

  5. Filling it and filing it

    Once completed, a risk assessment isn’t just to be filed away, job done, tick. If people don’t know about the risks of safeguards, they won’t be able to protect themselves. Ensure that you share the findings with all relevant parties.

    Top tip: Store site specific risk assessments centrally, (ideally on a cloud-based system,) so that all those re-visiting a site will have access to historic information.

Avoid these common pitfalls and you’ll be well placed to keep your field teams safe.

Since 19th July, otherwise known as ‘freedom day’ in the UK, businesses have had to carefully consider how stage four of the government roadmap will affect their ways of working. With many people returning to the office post-lockdown, facilities managers have a considerable part to play in ensuring that employees are kept safe in the workplace.

But, despite the lockdown ending, COVID remains widespread across the country and will need to be carefully managed for some time. So, what is the role of a facilities manager during this transitional period, and how can they ensure worker safety maintains a priority?

In this article, we explain why facilities management is so important and share the role of a facilities manager in a post-lockdown workplace.

Why is Facilities Management so Important?

Facilities Managers play an essential role in any workplace because they manage the day-to-day organisation and delivery of services on behalf of your business. They aim to reduce running costs and enable your company to meet all its objectives.

The role of a facilities manager may include the following:

  • Staff safety
  • Ensuring that all facilities comply with UK legislation and guidance
  • Ordering stock

During COVID, facilities management has become more vital than ever before. Since March 2020, workplace health and safety practices have been under a magnifying glass, putting pressure on facilities managers to adhere to the latest government guidelines. 

However, measures designed to protect against the spread of COVID, such as social distancing and work from home restrictions, have come to an end. Therefore, facilities managers have to deal with a new set of challenges. Now, they must consider ways to keep everyone safe on-site during a pandemic when there are no official guidelines in place.

Post-Lockdown: What is a Facilities Manager’s Responsibility?

Employers have a legal duty to manage risks associated with their workplace, including any COVID-related threats to worker health. Subsequently, you must take appropriate steps to mitigate any issues before they arise.

That’s where facilities management comes in. Here are some measures facilities managers should take to ensure the workplace remains a safe environment for staff:

Carry Out a Risk Assessment

The first stage of protecting everyone in your building is to carry out a workplace risk assessment, which highlights potential hazards to health and safety. Once you’ve completed the evaluation, you can decide whether you have taken enough precautions to prevent harm.

All measures must comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and associated regulations. But, during the pandemic, you may need to consider some additional risks. For example:

  • Is the building well ventilated?
  • Is there enough room to maintain distance between workers?
  • Do you have adequate hand sanitising facilities?

You will also need to consider those at higher risk of infection, such as the clinically vulnerable or people who haven’t yet received both doses of the vaccination. Facilities managers will need to make reasonable adjustments for anyone who could be adversely affected by the virus.

Remember, if you employ over five people, you must document your findings. With a 5-in-1 workforce management system like BigChange, you can easily keep an electronic record of all your risk assessments for future reference, saving you from having to file and store your findings manually.

Communicate Health and Safety Measures to Staff

Following a risk assessment, the role of a facilities manager is to communicate their findings — along with any preventative measures they’ve put in place — with employees. Strong communication will ensure that everyone is aware of their role in maintaining health and safety in the workplace.

Some steps facilities managers may wish to take to prevent the spread of COVID could include:

1. Planning a Gradual Return to the Office

Although mandated working from home restrictions have ended, the government still recommends a gradual return to the workplace over the summer. Therefore, you should consider scheduling return dates for your staff and communicating them clearly with each individual.

2. Encouraging a Respectful Environment

It’s worth communicating to employees that ‘freedom day’ doesn’t have the same meaning for everyone, and some people still may not be comfortable with contact. Encourage staff to be respectful of other people’s wishes and to maintain distance to prevent the spread of COVID where possible.

3. Maintaining Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

It’s no longer mandatory to wear a face covering in enclosed spaces. However, COVID still poses a threat to public health, so the government advises people to use ‘personal risk-based judgements’. As such, they suggest that everyone continues to wear a mask in crowded and enclosed spaces.

Workplaces will need to ensure that they’ve taken all reasonable steps to minimise health and safety risks, so facilities managers may want to encourage all non-exempt employees to wear a mask when they’re not sitting at their desks.

Make the Role of a Facilities Manager Simpler with BigChange

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.

A risk assessment plays a crucial part in Occupational Health and Safety management as employers are required by law to protect employees, and others, from harm. The purpose of a risk assessment is to reduce all reasonably foreseeable risks to as low as is reasonably practicable. 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends employers follow the following five steps when carrying out a workplace risk assessment:

Step 1) Identify the Hazards

Employers have a responsibility to assess the health and safety risks faced by their employees. You must thoroughly review what may cause harm and be potential hazards. You can do this in several ways, such as walking around the workplace or asking your employees.

Step 2) Spot who may be harmed and how?

Once you have identified your potential hazards, you need to consider how your employees, visitors, contractors, or members of the public may be harmed and how serious this could be. 

Step 3) Evaluate the risks and decide on control measures

Once you know who may be harmed and how, the next step is to prevent this from happening. You need to consider if you can remove the hazard altogether or put appropriate control measures in place to decrease the level of risk. You are not expected to eliminate every risk but do need to do everything reasonably practicable to protect people from harm. This means balancing the level of risk against the measures necessary to control the real risk in terms of cost, time or trouble.

Step 4) Record your findings

If you employ five or more people, once you have completed the previous steps, it is a legal requirement to record your findings. You should then share your findings with your employees.

Step 5) Review RA

Your work isn’t finished quite yet as workplaces very rarely stay the same, and therefore risk assessments need to be continually reviewed and updated where necessary. For example, your control measures may no longer be effective, or you’ve had significant changes in the workplace such as staff, new machinery, substances or equipment, or business processes that have changed over time. 

For more in-depth information from H&S Expert Nigel Stevens, Health Safety Environment Consultant, join our webinar on Wednesday, the 18th of August at 2pm. You can register now to book your place here: https://webinar.ringcentral.com/webinar/register/WN_L-F3lMJmQWy73-v2VR1A0A

Although official government COVID restrictions ended on 19 July in the UK, the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) announced that its pandemic safety guidance would remain in place for construction firms that wish to maintain them as a means of protecting their workers. The CLC commented:

“Whilst it would be inappropriate for the CLC to seek to impose on the industry any requirements over and above those set out by the Government, we recognise that businesses across the supply chain have welcomed the consistency that the CLC guidance has provided.”

In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the guidance and share how you can continue to keep your employees healthy and safe.

Construction Industry COVID Guidance

According to research, 90% of UK construction firms reported a reduction in revenue due to the pandemic, making it one of the worst affected industries. Unfortunately, COVID-19 continues to be widespread across the country and will need to be managed for some time. As such, it’s more critical than ever to ensure your employees are healthy and able to complete projects. 

Whilst official restrictions are no longer in place, the Construction Leadership Council has still made their pre-‘freedom day’ guidance available for construction firms that want to continue protecting their workforce. 

Here are some workplace measures you may want to consider:

1. When to Go to Work

The Construction Leadership Council recommends that, if employees can’t work from home, they should socially distance themselves from others in the workplace. In some cases, your employees may need to self-isolate, for example, if they have:

  • Received a positive COVID test result
  • Been exposed to COVID via someone in their household
  • Returned from a country on the red list
  • Been told to isolate by the NHS

Encouraging your employees to isolate when necessary reduces the risk of them coming into work and spreading the virus across your entire workforce. Plus, with a solution such as the  BigChange Network in place, a back-office team member can still work remotely to support any reactive (urgent) job scheduling and communicate in real-time with the engineer.

However, if a staff member develops symptoms of COVID at work, they must immediately alert their manager and return home to take a test. If the test result is positive, the worker shouldn’t return to the site until they have completed their period of isolation and are no longer unwell.

2. Site Access

The key to preventing the spread of COVID on-site is to limit the number of people in enclosed areas of the building. For example, you may want to prohibit access for any non-essential visitors or schedule staggered start and finish times for your office-based staff, so that they’re not all in the building at the same time.

For your field-based workers, you should reduce the number of people in attendance at site inductions. Consider holding site inductions outdoors whenever it’s practical to do so. Drivers should also aim to remain in their vehicles when loading and unloading deliveries when possible. If they must exit the vehicle, they should wash or sanitise their hands before handling any materials.

To ensure that everyone is following best hygiene practices, you must provide your workers with suitable toilet and handwashing facilities and make them aware of any COVID safety measures you have in place to prevent contamination.

3. On-Site Facilities

If your offices have communal areas such as canteens or showers, you should also consider ways to mitigate the risk of a COVID outbreak in those spaces. For example, you may wish to make it mandatory for non-exempt employees to wear a face mask when they’re not sitting at their desks or outdoors. 

Again, you should consider capacity. Try to limit the number of people using communal facilities at one time and encourage everyone to socially distance. You can control the group size by staggering break times or providing additional recreational areas for staff members to use during the day.

As with any area in the building, you must frequently clean surfaces and provide handwashing facilities.

4. Work Planning

You should conduct a risk assessment to determine whether work can continue safely and share the results with your employees. The Construction Leadership Council advises that certain activities should be eliminated or reduced to lower the risk of a COVID outbreak at work:

  • Eliminate: Workers who have COVID shouldn’t attend the workplace. Likewise, you should avoid holding in-person meetings where several people will be in one room.
  • Reduce: You should minimise the frequency and time that people are working together. Ensure you keep teams to small numbers and that they frequently wash their hands.

For COVID safety measures to be effective, everyone in your construction firm must take responsibility for their actions. Encourage an open and collaborative approach where employees can discuss any issues. As a result, you’ll find that your employees work better and more safely together.

5. First Aid

You still need to administer first aid to workers until the emergency services attend. However, there may be delays in the emergency service’s response due to the pandemic. Consequently, you should consider rescheduling high-risk work or providing additional trauma resources. You must also ensure that there is adequate first aid equipment on-site and that worker contact details are up-to-date. With BigChange, you can store all employee information electronically for straightforward access during emergencies.

To read the complete Construction Leadership Council guidance, click here.

Protect Your Workers and Your Construction Firm with BigChange

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 field service management software can make your business grow stronger here and arrange a free demo today.

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