Why construction companies are still using outdated RAMS processes

by Alex on September 12, 2017

Outdated RAMS Process

There are a lot of benefits of digitising risk assessments and method statements (RAMS).

It enables accurate, compliant documents to be created quickly, stored securely and easily shared with the project team and personnel. Swapping out cumbersome Word documents for step-by-step software also ensures flawless, professional custom documents.

Despite this, there’s sometimes a reluctance to digitise and update such processes, and in this blog, we take a look at the most common.

“RAMS software won’t play nicely with our other systems”

Construction companies are complex organisations that rely on countless systems and processes to remain functional and profitable. The thought of implementing a digital RAMS platform is therefore often met with concern.

Investments in new construction tech are easily dismissed as being a burden due to the assumed amount of manual work required to integrate them with existing systems.

Thankfully, the industry is changing. Most software vendors provide ‘APIs’, which enable individual platforms to communicate with one another.

Even without an API, there are ways for disparate systems to work efficiently together, thanks to the existence of third party integration companies that build and maintain integrations for construction firms.

“Project and Site Managers won’t use it”

It’s a common tale; a construction firm invests heavily in a new business system only for it to suffer from poor adoption.

The introduction of new technology in construction is tricky to get right, especially with the attitude of “I’m too busy to do this” from project and site managers. Unfortunately, it’s often the responsibility of the site and project managers to ensure the work is being carried out safely, and doing purely the bare essentials isn’t always good enough.

There have been cases over the years of site managers serving jail time for H&S accidents that happened on their watch, for example: Site manager jailed after lawyer crushed by window frames.

The key to achieving buy-in from every corner of the business lies in selecting the right new tech and pairing it with a thorough plan. A purpose-built RAMS solution will have a clear benefit for those using it, but you need to demonstrate the value offered in order to gain mass adoption.

“It’s not urgent enough”

New technology such as RAMS software is often seen as important but not urgent enough to demand serious attention. This might come down to project and site managers stating that current processes are fine, but this can result in heavy fines when something goes wrong.

The non-urgency might even be linked to a false sense of security because there is a system in place, so they’re protected, but a system alone isn’t enough, it’s about how the system is used and when an accident does happen, HSE will want to review the system and how it failed to protect workers.

Non-urgency might also be based on a lack of education about the changes in the industry, such as new sentencing guidelines that result in fines according to your turnover.

Understanding exposure to risk can help people understand the urgency more and even the financial rewards of investing in new technology can increase the urgency. The cost savings for using RAMS software, for example, should be enough for most company stakeholders to sit up and take notice.

“Our custom RAMS system is far better”

If you’ve spent years custom building an in-house RAMS system and accompanying set of procedures, the idea of moving to an ‘off-the-shelf’ package might seem ludicrous. Thankfully, some solutions, such as HANDS HQ offer a service to take all assets and intellectual property a company has and builds it into the new solution.

The ‘build or buy’ dilemma isn’t exclusive to construction industries; businesses from all walks of life regularly tussle between the benefits of creating systems that are uniquely tuned to the operation versus buying-in those that are designed to appeal to mass markets.

In reality, the amount of time required to maintain and update an in-house system is usually significantly less cost-effective than investing in third party RAMS solution.

If you’re still using outdated or even paper RAMS processes, you might have developed a false sense of loyalty to something which is a barrier to efficiency.

Ask yourself this question: is it worth the risk not to switch to digital RAMS?

HANDS HQ is a software solution for creating site-specific risk assessments and method statements in minutes

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