Changing business and regulatory requirements have made facilities management safety compliance a challenge for many companies around the world. The sheer volume and variety of workplace health and safety hazards and risks relating to reactive and preventive maintenance, coupled with traditionally inefficient work order systems, makes for a highly visible area of compliance risk and legal liability, especially when dealing with a large portfolio of clients.
Traditionally safe systems of work have been paper-based and heavily reliant on isolated administrative tasks. In our case, the work management process has historically relied on the issuing of a work order via email to vendor companies – i.e. contractors and suppliers – who then assign tasks to individual workers in those companies. Many times, these vendor companies would sub-contract out, with sub-contracting sometimes occurring multiple layers down.
This lack of visibility down the supply chain often made it difficult to ensure that work-related hazards and risks were being properly communicated to the workers, including the management of permits, escalation of asset-related hazards, root cause of asset failures and additional work required to manage risks.
We saw an opportunity to replace slow moving processes with real-time, technology-driven processes. We began working with an external company to develop an integrated mobile solution, BSAFE – or BGIS Safety Assurance and Field Excellence – which allows us to monitor and manage workers who turn up to our sites more efficiently, including work orders, proof of presence on site, live permit approvals and access control, as well as induction and qualification validation. Essentially, BSAFE is a virtual window into who’s doing what, where, when and how.
From August 2019, using BSAFE has progressively become a mandatory requirement for all BGIS vendor companies, as well as their workers, technicians and sub-contractors who deliver work on BGIS client sites in Australia and New Zealand.
The reaction to the platform from our people and clients has been exceedingly supportive, because they bore brunt of the old-world approaches to this complex challenge. Importantly for our clients, BSAFE allows for a timelier completion of work and the provision of critical information to enable better decision making, including extension of time requests, additional work requests and so on.
BSAFE is designed to cater for our supply chain partners, in that access to the platform can be through site-based kiosks or tablets, mobile apps and soon, web browsers using QR codes. While there is an upfront investment from vendor companies to pre-qualify and verify their workers through an independent third party, the pay-off is that contractors who meet BGIS’ standards then become our partners, and we expect those relationships to prosper in the long term. In one of our accounts, there was an almost 100 per cent uptake of the platform by contractors within the first eight weeks of launching.
What differentiates BSAFE from typical approaches to safety compliance platforms is that it is a best-of-breed integrated platform that finally addresses the issue of safety being managed as an adjunct to work management, and provides assurance to clients that the people being sent to complete or perform a job are safety and legislative compliant.
Safety is not an add-on – it’s core business just like quality and customer service. Clients receive timely, critical insights from our facilities management teams to ensure the highest-risk areas are adequately addressed as priorities, and – notably – BSAFE allows for each client or site to trigger different standards, checks and workflows, which provides greater flexibility for us and our clients in how we process work and manage risk.
For too long, clients have not had oversight of the works being undertaken on their properties, or assurance that the work is being done safely and to the rigorous legislative and statutory compliance standards required. Not only does BSAFE dramatically improve the delivery of safe systems of work, but importantly it provides real-time transparency and the ability for facilities management provider, client and vendor to have complete and accurate oversight of all works.
Clients in particular have reasonably expected this level of transparency forever. This platform achieves many things, and one of them is increased trust and candidness. With BSAFE, we can eliminate bureaucracy and back-end administration, and instead offer complete transparency to our clients. Ultimately, it’s about meeting and exceeding their expectations.
By Dana Nelson, President and Managing Director at BGIS APAC.