Safety is an enabler, not a disabler

Next in our guest blog series, Craig Silcock, Head of Safety at Trinity, a joint venture between Enzen and Sapphire Utility Solutions responsible for managing the delivery of the Cadent Mains Replacement Programme in the West Midlands, tells us about his thoughts on AI and digitalisation for the future of safety in the workplace, as well as why safety is an enabler, not a disabler…

My career in safety wasn’t planned – I stumbled into it, truth be told. I was a risk averse child: I wasn’t one for rollercoasters and the like, so maybe that was a sign I was destined for a career in health and safety! I now have over 15 years’ experience in safety management. I joined National Grid Gas as a graduate and worked my way up the ladder. I have extensive experience in gas distribution, electricity and other utility operations, and so I have a broad knowledge of where the industry needs to improve and develop to keep progressing.

When I learnt about FYLD and the real step change in safety it can provide utility companies and their operations, I was deeply impressed. In my current role, I’m charged with setting the safety standard and expectation for contract. Safety management is about building and maintaining relationships, communicating effectively and thoroughly. I knew that FYLD could help me achieve my goals.

Having an AI-driven, virtual platform, which works across the supply chain and boasts shared beliefs and standards of what ‘safe’ means, is crucial in ensuring best practice across industry. Everyone ultimately has the same objective – getting home safe at end of a day’s work.

Safety as an enabler and not a disabler

Flipping the preconceived notions of safety being a ‘blocker’ and something that hinders operations is so important. By creating achievable and stringent standards backed up and implemented by a strong community, we are setting our people up for success. Safety and the technology which enables it, leads to enhanced productivity. Historically, health and safety has been seen as a negative, prohibiting progress and adding extra admin to the working day. Platforms like FYLD are helping to eradicate this.

A positive mindset and the tools to carry out work safely and productively creates a healthy workplace culture. By ripping up the rule book and making processes accessible and understandable, we’re fostering a new generation of safety practice.

AI solutions assist utility, engineering and construction companies, and their front-line workforce and wider teams, through digital innovation. Traditional methods are now becoming outdated, static and not fit for the modern working world.

By moving to a digital platform, where all productivity and safety procedures are digitalised, cluttered van footwells are cleared of paperwork, enhanced communication is enabled, and understanding of operations across teams is improved.

Adoption is key

Ease, accessibility, and consistency are generally accepted as the key functions of a new way of working. Any tool which helps you do your job – and not hinder it – is welcomed if the roll out is perfected.

Adoption of new technology and platforms can be a hurdle. I’ve found that the knowledge transfer between generations in the workforce has been excellent in overcoming this.

Within Trinity, the quality of risk assessments has improved since fieldworkers have been working with FYLD, through the thorough and easy visual risk assessment function. We’ve had no issue with adoption of FYLD – it’s a real asset to the team.

FYLD’s visual risk assessments only take two to three minutes to create. These help fieldworkers flag factors that may slow or hamper a job and help to unblock these issues. The platform assists with interaction between site and management, increases safety-based communications and opens an additional feedback loop which improves engagement.

It also provides a second layer of verification, by not exposing the team to undue risk. This means we effectively have a second pair of eyes looking out for the job and our workers.

Step change in productivity and safety

Our teams understand the benefits of FYLD: they can, amongst other things, record decision-making processes on site, demonstrate best practice, and provide a real-world chain of evidence. This is a step change for both safety and management of sites – real time, quality records of site management and situations are recorded. All enabled by the data-led platform.

We have worked really hard to build a positive culture around proactive safety reporting and risk identification over the last 18 months and as FYLD instantly allows interactions across teams, this leads to more positive and constructive feedback opportunities. This opening up of communication channels is so beneficial, from a mental health perspective as well as a professional development one.

FYLD lets team and site managers prioritise which sites need their attention, saving miles travelled and making the working day more efficient. This insight also highlights which team members may need support on any given day. FYLD picks up on the tone and quality of submission from workers. Based on that, managers can determine if they need to reach out and offer support to team members. We value the mental and physical wellbeing of our workers above all else – FYLD helps manage these crucial relationships, as well as team morale.

FYLD as a game changer

At Trinity, we use many digital solutions to enable smarter, safer outcomes for our workers. We have employee assistance programmes, which prompts our workers to answer wellbeing related questions. This allows time for workers to pause and reflect on how actions may be affected by current emotions. We also have extensive mental health resources at hand as part of our wellbeing ambassador programme.

Traditionally, when things do go wrong on site, everything stops. Workers have to wait for managers to turn up and solve problems. With FYLD, the interactivity and extensive visual features gather information there and then. This prompts workers to take an account of the situation and helps with continual learning and management of situations.

Having that immediate record of activity can often prevent accidents from happening again – a real industry game changer!

The FYLD platform has been fully embraced by our teams, and those not using it have asked to be onboarded. The wellbeing and safety of our workers are the most important thing, and any tool which helps them the way FYLD does is like gold dust.