Everything you need to know when you partner with Havio for health and safety inspections
Everything you need to know when you partner with Havio for health and safety inspections
Construction site inspections are one of our most popular services, so it’s not surprising they’re also an area where we get a lot of questions. Every health and safety provider has its own approach to site inspections, and our clients are always keen to understand why we do things the way we do. While we’ll never stop learning, we’re confident our current approach is highly effective, honed and refined through many years’ experience in construction health and safety.
In this guide we answer some of the questions we’re regularly asked about our construction site inspection service.
What is the purpose of a health and safety inspection?
The purpose of a health and safety inspection is to assist in the prevention of incidents, injuries and illnesses, and to ensure on-site operatives, as well as others affected by construction activities, are not put at risk. Robust and regular inspections allow clients to check that their projects and associated activities are healthy and safe. They enable hazards or ineffective processes to be identified so proactive measures can be put in place to reduce the risk of accidents or incidents.
Havio believe the word “inspection” carries with it negative connotations, with people being fearful of the process and that it is an opportunity for fault finding and nit picking. We want to redefine the experience as one which is more collaborative, positive and ultimately there to help our clients and the workforce.
What makes Havio’s approach different?
In an industry that often focusses on the negatives, we take a more kind, caring, solution-based approach, consciously balancing the use of positive reinforcement with constructive feedback. We understand health and safety is only one aspect of the work, and that there are many other pressures that can impact the decision making and overall performance of a site. In most instances there are more good things than bad happening on site and we like to provide a balanced approach.
We strongly believe people are the solution, not the problem, and that no one goes to work with the intention of harming themselves or those around them. This means we coach rather than police, and we work collaboratively with site teams to come up with the right answer without worrying about whose idea it is. Communication is key and we believe in having the important discussions, however difficult they may be. We make sure our consultants are caring, friendly, trustworthy, grounded and creative in their approach, all whilst not being a pushover. By working together with our clients, we achieve great things.
What is your attitude to risk?
Before we get into this question, we need to explain what risk is. Risk is the degree of likelihood that the harm caused by a hazard will actually harm someone. You may have seen it categorised as critical, high, medium or low.
We take what we believe is a sensible outlook on risk. We look to deal with the critical or higher risk hazards first, including those that have greatest potential to kill, seriously injure and those which have serious legal repercussions for non-compliance. We focus our attention on these within our inspections but lower risk items are not forgotten as the compound effect of these can quickly become an issue.
We developed our in-house technology platform, Altitude, to take some of the subjectivity out of risk. In our inspections we deal with critical non-compliances (essentially the critical or higher risk hazards described above), non-compliances and compliances. Other than specifying whether an item is critical, we don’t assign a degree of risk to individual items – high, medium or low. By dealing in data that is interpreted objectively, we can target our attentions on areas where the need is greatest.
What are the different health and safety inspections you carry out?
We use three distinct types of inspections, Snapshot, Comprehensive and Safety Champion.
- Snapshot: On-site hazard spotting focussing on a thorough check of high-risk activities, spot check of key legislative paperwork, close off with the site representative, and final PDF report emailed within 24 hours.
- Comprehensive: Thorough check of all site hazards and paperwork including a follow up on site of items identified as a non-compliance from the paperwork review, close off with the site representative, and final PDF report emailed within 24 hours.
- Safety Champion: Thorough check of site hazards with prioritisation of high-risk activities and items of non-compliance from paperwork. Information gathering on safety culture, goals and targets. Thorough check of site paperwork, discussion and implementation of strategies to improve safety culture, close off meeting with the site representative, and final PDF report emailed within 24 hours.
As part of these inspections, we use Havio standard question sets which have been developed and refined over many years’ experience in construction health and safety. The creation of client-specific question sets is rarely necessary, but this can be done as an additional service if required.
What technology do you use for inspections?
To make health and safety management easier and more effective for both our teams and our clients, we developed our own software platform called Altitude. This pioneering technology is used on site and makes our health and safety inspections more efficient. It enables us to make data-driven suggestions on how best to improve health and safety performance, and also allows us to spend more time engaging with and coaching the workforce on site. With Altitude we can complete highly professional reports, analyse client data via the dashboard functionality, complete performance reviews, allow teams to close out actions online with an audit trail, and much more.
Do you announce construction site inspections? Whether or not to announce construction site inspections is a hotly contested subject. We can perform both announced and unannounced inspections, and the approach we take often depends on our clients’ individual working practices and culture.
We find the unannounced approach gives a more transparent view so we can discover what’s really going on. As long as the company has a trusting culture, this approach usually yields better results. Of course, there are times when announcing a visit is necessary to ensure the site team or anyone else that needs to attend can be present.
How do you determine an inspection health and safety score?
How our scores are determined is the subject we get asked about most frequently. We find each client has slightly different expectations for scoring profiles, often based on previous experience with other providers or their own perceptions of health and safety priorities.
Our overall inspection score is based on the average percentage of compliance and is based on the count of compliant and non-compliant items identified on the site inspection. It does not differentiate between levels of risk posed by the non-compliance or compliance. As a general rule of thumb, the average score for a contractor or main contractor is between 80-90%. Bespoke scoring profiles can be built for clients who require this as an optional extra.
We believe that the overall score is just a very simple KPI that gives a broad outline of performance. We are on a mission to get the industry to worry less about single scores – and any negative associations they may have – and instead to focus on important areas such as non-compliances, critical items and repeat non-compliances.
- Non-compliance: An unsafe act or work area which is not in line with agreed safe working practices.
- Critical item: A non-compliance with the potential to cause fatality, or serious or imminent danger, or that represents a material breach of the law.
- Repeat item: A non-compliance which we believe has not been sufficiently closed out from the previous report.
To find out more about why we believe the overall inspection score shouldn’t be the main focus, check out our blog post ‘The problem with inspection scores: Numbers aren’t everything’.
Do you pick up on everything during an inspection?
Health and safety inspections provide a snapshot of compliance as our consultant sees it at the time of the visit, and they should not be confused with full health and safety audits. Our construction site inspections are not intended to be full audits of compliance, and they focus mainly on day-to-day issues rather than agreed processes.
There may be some limitations to an inspection. We work within the scope of the report requested, and the time limits agreed with the client, so it may not be possible to access all areas of the project, for example. Havio’s policy is to target high-risk areas first, and we will always begin with a site walk unless we have explicitly agreed otherwise.
Do you take photos during inspections?
Our use of photos is minimal, and we only include them if they are beneficial and provide crucial context to the report. Our main purpose is to help the workforce and improve performance and attitudes on site. Taking pictures of people while they are involved in an unsafe act is not the way to achieve this. Most pictures we include will highlight positive areas or unsafe conditions rather than acts.
What do you do with inspection findings?
We will never leave the project without completing a full debrief with the on-site representative. This is an essential time to discuss the inspection’s findings and come up with a sensible plan to rectify any issues.
Once we have left the site a report will be sent out within 24 hours of the visit. The client will then be responsible for closing out the report in line with agreed company standards. Havio is not responsible for following up on close outs after the visit. Altitude has live close-out functionality as an optional extra. This provides senior management with greater oversight of how effectively reports are being actioned.
What aftercare do you provide following inspections?
A key part of our dynamic delivery promise is the support we provide to our clients after a visit. Our consultants are available to discuss any issues which may arise, and their contact details can be found at the end of each report. Our operational team is also on hand to provide additional support or services which may be required following the inspection.