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Worry-free Health and Safety

For many small businesses, the pile of paper and manuals needed to run a compliant health and safety regime causes more problems than it solves.

Many MTA members are now turning to HSE Connect. This online, cloud-based system is stuffed full of policies, standard operating procedures, reminders and training. It is all designed specifically for workshops, dealerships and service stations. It runs from an app that is simple to use and aimed at the workers - not the H&S manager.

MTA HR Advisor Sias Meyer says HSE Connect is the simplest, most cost-effective H&S system he has come across. After trialling it for a year, he has negotiated a preferred supplier arrangement for members. This eliminates the usual set-up fee, with monthly subscription savings.

“We have started hosting roadshows around the country to demonstrate this paperless system to members and answer questions on health and safety generally. There will be more in the coming months so keep an eye out for the MTA emails promoting them,” says Sias.

“It’s obviously working well for members; we have had a lot sign-ups and they’ve all provided great feedback. Not one has cancelled their subscription.”

Simplicity is everything

Mike Farmer of Farmer Auto Village, Bay of Plenty, employs 150 staff and says each of the team is using the system. “We like the fact that it’s a fully integrated system that runs on an app that everyone has, and everyone can use. Now, our whole health and safety system is on just one platform. In our business we like simplicity, to reduce confusion and complication wherever possible.” Having a system that is tailored for the motor trade is also a huge advantage, he says.

“Before this one, we used a few different systems at the same time, which just wasn’t practicable. They were not tailored to the motor industry; we had to make too many compromises to make it worthwhile. As a team, we reviewed the options and decided on the HSE system.”

The system includes lots of short video clips for training and explaining. The Farmer Auto Village health and safety team plans to take advantage of this feature by producing induction videos for the different staff groups and posting them onto the app.

Tailored support

HSE Connect Managing Director Tony Hutchinson says his system was designed by Kiwis for Kiwis and comes with a strong support team. He and his team tailor the content to individual businesses. They also offer support to clients who have a significant accident or injury event and need help to manage the investigation and reporting process that follows.

But for MTA members, the best bit is that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for commonly used equipment and tools, various policies and training information and reminders are all standardised and shared by everyone.

He now has almost 700 clients, most of them in the motor trade. “We work with each new client to get them up and running with their risk assessment, policies, procedures, training and so on.”

Tony says panelbeaters were the first MTA members to sign up to the system. “When the law changed in 2015, the insurance companies started demanding that their suppliers were able to prove they were compliant with the new regulations. The HSE Connect system was designed to do just that.”

Saving time

Mark Baker of Auto Super Shoppe Pakuranga has been on board for three years and says the system is saving him a lot of time and hassle.

“It’s really easy to use, we get regular reminders when training is due, or if it’s time for our Toolbox H&S meeting. Whenever a staff member has electronically signed that they’ve read a particular document, or watched a training video, it is permanently recorded in the system. So we always know exactly where things stand.” Mark says under his old paper-based health and safety system there was a lot that didn’t get done or didn’t get recorded.

He’s also happy that Tony and the HSE Connect team will add any new SOP he needs when he gets new equipment or changes something within the workshop. Mark is keen on the way the app makes staff live up to their responsibilities. “If they see a risk, something that is broken or not working properly – they know they have to photograph it, log the hazard in the app, and the alert goes out for it to be dealt with. Every month we get a report on what is outstanding and what has been done.”

Mark says he pays around $80 a month for peace of mind: when a WorkSafe inspector turns up he knows that everything his staff and business have done to create a safe environment is clearly and easily shown on the system. “We are ahead of the game,” he says.

Huge improvement

Director of Caltex Te Rapa Taran Singh has been using the system for just three weeks and says it’s a huge improvement on his previous paper system where everything had to be filed in different folders.

“It also makes a site manager’s life so much easier. We used to have to chase the individuals for training, sit with them, go over and over things. With this system, I walk them physically through the site during their induction and point to all the hazards and explain things. But all the documents, videos and training modules are online and can be read at any time. The manager doesn’t have to take them through it.”

Taran says he has already made his own video on how to safely use the LPG refill station because his site has its own peculiarities.

“Overall, I’m really happy with this system. Now, at the Location Compliance Certification annual visit, there will be no missing documents, everything will be up to date and easily checked.”