A construction and civil engineering firm celebrating its 30th anniversary has launched a revolutionary health and safety app, believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.
The Hollingsworth Group, based in Engineer Park, Sandycroft, has developed the cutting-edge digital aid to help ensure their staff have vital health and safety documentation to hand at all times.
It was the brainchild of Managing Director Paul Hollingsworth, who set up the firm from scratch with his brother Shaun in October 1988. The company now employs around 60 people, has a £15m turnover and specializes in construction, civil engineering and property development.
The new app was developed with the support of Holywell-based creative agency Daydream Designs.
Using a password-protected system, it gives all Hollingsworth Group employees instant access via their smart phones to their own health and safety certification and that of any plant machinery they are operating.
The firm has an impressive list of high profile, blue-chip clients which includes Airbus, Jaguar Land Rover, Vauxhall, Veolia, Müller and Hanson, who demand the highest standards including for health and safety.
When Hollingsworth staff are working on-site for clients, they could be asked to produce relevant health and safety paperwork at any time during on-the-spot inspections. These could be from either officials at the company they are working for or from a representative from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – the UK government agency responsible for the regulation and enforcement of workplace welfare.
Mr Hollingsworth said: “We have always been, and continue to be, a forward thinking company who are keen to invest in and improve what we do. Having high standards in every area is what has helped us develop the business over the last 30 years and has brought us to where we are now.
“We have an incredibly loyal and longstanding team, with many of them having been with us for many years, and it has always been vitally important to us that we take their health and safety very seriously.
“It’s the same for the high-profile clients we work for. They need to be able to trust that if they bring us on site for a job, be it big or small, that we are aware of our legal responsibilities and we have systems in place to prove that we treat health and safety with the upmost priority.
“The relevant paperwork which lists the up-to-date qualifications of our employees and the relevant certification for any machinery they are using is always with employees when they are doing jobs for our clients, whether this is in an on-site office or in a van, if the job is smaller.
“But I was driving in to work one day, thinking about if there was a way this information could be stored virtually, on our smart phones.
“We all carry our phones around with us, almost all of the time. I thought it might be a way to back up the actual paperwork and potentially prevent staff having to stop what they were doing and go back to a site office to find it in the event of an on- the-spot inspection, which can happen at any time, whether it is on site for one of our clients or on our own premises.
“It seemed to me a good way to send out the message that we take health and safety very seriously and are keen to prove this by having the information as readily accessible as possible.
“As far as I am aware, I don’t know of any other company storing their heath and safety data in this way and it has been extremely well received by many of our high profile clients who view it as cutting edge stuff.”
Mr Hollingsworth turned to creative agency Daydream Designs, who already help the firm with their website and marketing. The Greenfield Business Centre firm’s technical team then worked with him to develop the app, which is available for anyone to download from the Apple App Store.
Rob Saunders, Daydream Designs Director and Co-Founder, said: “It’s been a great project to work on and we are all pleased with the results. What’s great, is that we are continuing to develop the content on there too.
“It is free to download for anyone and from there any user of the app can access up-to-date news and information about Hollingsworth Group. However, the much more sensitive information regarding staff’s health and safety qualifications and other documentation is all password protected.
“Our aim is to continue to add information to it such as a direct link to the HSE website which may benefit users.
“We will continue to work with Paul and his own health and safety managers to develop it as a wide ranging resource which helps his staff stay safe on the job.
“We are also ensuring that they are given a free rein and can update the information themselves. Health and safety information and documentation can need to be changed on a regular basis and while we will always be there to give support and advice, it makes a lot of sense for them to be able to make changes on a day-to-day basis themselves.”
Mr Hollingsworth said the design of the new app had been a great development for the firm not least because of how well it has been received by staff and clients alike.
He said: “We have ended up with a new, state of the art digital tool which has been received by our valued staff and the valued clients we work for with real positivity.”