Aim: Our Solution
To deliver outstanding health and safety services by engaging, listening and understanding our Clients’ needs and expectations, recommending simple sensible proportionate risk management solutions. Engage with Fix 360 operatives to identify skills gaps and Health and Safety requirements and reinforce understanding.
Objective: The Clients Request
To undertake site Health and Safety inspections and a review the current arrangements for the management of health and safety in respect of all business activities of the new Fix 360 Operatives in the Staffordshire Region.
Safety Support Consultants (SSC) were instructed to undertake site inspections and a review of the arrangements for the management of health and safety (H&S) in respect of the business activities of Fix 360 Operatives in the Staffordshire Region. This was a transitional period as the staff in this area were originally DLO operatives, but they were now being brought in line with the rest of the Fix 360 business.
The property portfolio of Fix360 Staffordshire comprises of homes grouped into the Staffordshire region mainly concentrated around the hubs of Leek and Biddulph. They carryout general maintenance and repair activities including void works on properties carried out by maintenance staff under Adrian’s supervision with assistance from contractors for more extensive work.
The overall health and safety policy and documentation is extensive and covers all maintenance activities and therefore the remit of the SSC team concentrated on the working practices within the contract. The Your Housing Group H&S Department management regularly update policy and procedures, however, it is the responsibility of the Fix360 contract managers and supervisors to ensure these policies and procedures are communicated to the maintenance Operatives and that regular checks are made and recorded to ensure maintenance Operatives are compliant. It is the responsibility of the maintenance Operatives to ensure that policies and procedures relayed to them are adhered to.
Upon instruction and attendance to Fix360 inductions, it was noted that Operatives did not favour positively the introduction of the new health and safety policy folder. Most staff had worked within the group since its days as a council service and whilst being transferred over had observed many changes during this evolution of the current company.
Many of the recent Health and safety policies implemented were seen as inconsequential, cumbersome and impractical. Operatives also conveyed that their individual experience and competency levels were not considered.
Initially Fix360 Operatives were reluctant to communicate fully with SSC staff due to experiences within the organisation’s previous health and safety inspectors. Attitudes towards health and safety therefore at inception were considered hostile and of a secondary priority.
The areas covered by the Fix 360 operatives were in rural and semi-rural area. SSC Operatives spent the first 2 weeks using staff locations received via Fix360 supervisors and schedulers to navigate this
difficult landscape, which in practice proved to be unproductive due to the dynamic nature of Fix360 Operatives work systems and by the time we were arriving at the locations the operatives had already been and moved on to the next job.
We decided that the inspections were undertaken by three SSC Consultants. We then arranged for our consultants to meet and interview all management, supervisors and operatives of the Fix360 Staffordshire contract to establish an understanding of the business and their expectations. Our consultants also met with the Contract Manager of Void Operations and his colleagues and the Contract Manager of Day to Day Operations, both of whom deal with the implementation of Health and Safety processes and procedures of the Staffordshire contract. However, the main extent of the inspection and the arrangements for the management of health and safety were generally discussed with the higher management of the Health and Safety Department of Your Housing Group. It was agreed that the inspections would extend to the work activities carried out by Fix360 Staffordshire Operatives and include the management of the contract generally.
To combat the issue of not being able to locate the operatives in a timely manner, SSC requested that we had access from the Your Housing Group H&S Department to access the Fix360 vehicle tracking system called Quartix. We believed access to this system would enable our Consultants to increase the number of daily inspections and gain a more comprehensive understanding of Fix360 Operatives working practises. After receiving the Quartix vehicle tracker access, inspection productivity improved immediately from 10% success per site visit to 40% success per site visit.
The site inspections and review procedures comprised of an examination of management systems and records, interviews with key personnel and an overview of the extent of the activities of the Fix360 Staffordshire Operatives (day to day and void teams) and the nature of activities undertaken.
This enabled us to complete a Skills Gap Analysis of Fix360 Operatives in comparison with the Fix360 training matrix, we carried out 67 site inspection visits to locations where Fix360 Operatives were working to inspect against our internal H&S standards and relevant legislation and a weekly summary of works. A H&S Culture assessment report following the completion of the contract which captures the above works and suggested remedies on any challenges identified
Since SSC’s involvement Fix360 staff now fully engage in communicating and are happy to relay issues surrounding daily activities both in safety and at operation levels. The relationship between SSC and Fix 360 Operatives was been key to be able to implement our findings as per the above.
Having become accepted by fix 360 Operatives as the embedded health and safety team, SSC noted key improvements to company policy. This includes significant improvements to staff using the personal safety fob as directed. Increased dedication to company PPE and improved understanding of the personal safety folder. The most significant improvement however has been in SSC’s relationship with fix 360 Operatives and the improved attitude towards health and safety.
The findings within this health and safety inspection report that we produced demonstrated that there had been steady improvements in onsite safety, culture and behavioural change within a short period of just 6 weeks. Our forecast, over an increased period of 6 months, suggests the improvements would be significant and if we also apply the findings identified from the skills gap analysis formulated within the training matrix and apply this in practice by training Operatives, this again would demonstrate competence, improve skills, understanding and raise operative’s health and safety awareness, which will improve health and safety performance.
SSC’s engagement with both management and Operatives onsite identified both good safety practice and areas which required further improvements to meet with our Clients expectations. Our health and safety consultants used their expertise and capabilities to engage with Operatives and management to understand the operational and behavioural constraints in practice. We analysed and interpreted the data to identify that the key findings relate to Operatives’ attitude and behaviour towards health and safety in practice. Our consultants built relationships and gained a mutual respect and understanding with Operatives within a short space of time. These are now the building blocks to raising awareness and developing a new understanding and appreciation of the importance of health and safety on site, not to mention the financial benefits gained from improved performance, increased productivity and the benefits of a positive health and safety culture.