Using the cloud to manage plant safety
Safety consultants across Australia are starting to embrace technology to help their clients manage machinery safety, maintenance and compliance. An example of this is Plant Assessor, a widely used cloud-based tool for managing plant and equipment safety.
Plant Assessor allows consultants and their clients to streamline all the components of a robust plant and equipment safety management system, including pre-start checks, plant risk assessments, service schedules, operator compliance and other safety-related tasks to ensure machinery and equipment is fit for use.
An example of a proactive safety consulting business utilising Plant Assessor to assist clients take control of machinery safety is Red Insight, a Hunter Valley-based safety consulting firm run by Monica Toews Brown. Red Insight has been operating since 2014 and boasts an impressive array of clients across the eastern seaboard.
After many years spent working on construction sites, Monica has seen her fair share of incidents and has a very healthy appreciation for safe work practices. She’s also acutely aware of the time it takes to meet the safety requirements that are set for many businesses who operate plant and equipment.
She worked for John Holland for seven years, and after that she spent a few years with mid-sized contractor Daracon and has also had experience in the manufacturing, civil engineering and utilities sectors.
Her formal qualifications in psychology, coupled with significant hands-on experience, means she has the discipline and effective communication skills required to grow and maintain a strong safety culture within an organisation and ensure standards are met.
Red Insight is a new breed of safety consulting businesses that is using modern technology such as drones (UAV) and cloud-based apps to ensure safety is managed even more accurately and comprehensively than in the past, with real-time accuracy.
Red Insight has also developed a series of on-the-job exercises designed for plant operators to affect behavioural change. These role-based exercises have become a talking point in the businesses where they’ve been used with many long-time operators changing their behaviour as a result of the findings.
Monica believes safe plant is a critical factor in ensuring everyone goes home safely after each and every shift.
“Operators are ultimately responsible for how machines are used but this all starts with a pre-op check and other observations and interventions that can minimise risk,” explains Monica.
“I was Introduced to Plant Assessor in 2011. I was impressed with the accessibility, ease of use and the power of the database which linked every machine with the relevant Australian standard in real time.
“When I started Red Insight I wanted to offer our clients the full suite of risk assessments and safety-related services, and machinery safety is a core element of this. When many of them explained they were still conducting clipboard style checks and then cross referencing their reports with the requirements manually I just had to alert them to Plant Assessor.”
Monica explains the benefits for all parties in using a cloud-based application such as Plant Assessor.
“What was taking my clients almost four hours, now takes less than 60 minutes. And there are no frustrations with interpreting different handwriting, cross checking legislation or time spent on data entry,” she said.
“It’s the speed, standardisation of templates and reports and ease of use that’s the real benefit for Red Insight and our clients. As they say, time is money, and this platform is the perfect example of that.
“I’m surprised that many safety consultants do not take advantage of modern aids and cloud-based technology to add value to their clients. Using Plant Assessor to manage compliance around machinery and minimise the risk of potential incidents is a real point of difference for my business.”
One example of the ways Red Insight uses the platform is for a client who owns and operates multiple forklifts across various locations.
“I try to conduct inspections with the operator but when this is impractical because of time or distance constraints, the system is so easy to use that I can brief my clients in advance and then talk them through the process over the phone during their first inspection. They find it very easy and can see the advantages right away,” explains Monica.
“We use Plant Assessor for large and small organisations, across all areas of the supply chain and for all types of end users. It’s our one source of truth for machine safety specifications and requirements.”
Plant Assessor has led the way in cloud-based machinery safety since 2004 and now helps over 1500 businesses and organisations throughout Australia and New Zealand to help capture and share machinery specific information, ensure equipment is safe to use and is accompanied by the right safety information.
The platform holds detailed safety and compliance data for more than 105,000 makes and models of plant and equipment making it the largest such repository of its kind in the world. It is updated daily to ensure the latest federal and state-based legislation and Australian Standards are included.
Historically used by more than 500 large enterprise users and suppliers of plant and equipment such as Downer, CPB, Lend Lease and more than 150 councils, Plant Assessor is now available on a pay as you go basis.
Pay as you go access includes free digital machine pre-start checks for unlimited machines and users, and opt-in access to a range of premium services on a machine-by-machine basis, meaning users are able to tailor their usage based upon their unique needs and minimise the cost associated with management of plant and equipment safety.
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