Risk Management and EHS for Rental Equipment Companies
For one of our customers, a Canada-based dealer of Caterpillar construction equipment and heavy machinery, safety comes first. The company sells and rents equipment to industries such as mining, construction, petroleum, and forestry, and offers a wide range of power systems applications. Founded in 1933, it employs nearly 13,000 people worldwide in locations such as Western Canada, South America, the UK, and Ireland.
As part of ensuring workforce safety, the company conducts periodic site safety audits. But in 2019, our customer realized that its manual systems were woefully outdated. While on the one hand, the time taken to address safety issues took too long, on the other, the auditing process lacked visibility.
As a result, the company — which believes in constantly improving its processes by embracing new technologies, systems, and applications — realized that it needed to automate its safety audit program to speed up the process since every minute counted when it was a matter of life and death. It implemented ComplianceQuest’s Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) Management solution to meet its needs of speed and visibility.
“It’s just like magic. Our audit time used to take up to two weeks and now it takes only a day or less.” – Project Manager, FinningRead Case Study
For rental equipment companies like our customer who put safety first, automation to drive collaboration is one of the first steps in risk management.
Building a Safety Culture by Proactively Addressing Risks
The hiring of equipment in addition to investing in infrastructure has become an essential part of running a business to keep CAPEX low without compromising on capabilities. But unlike earlier, it is no longer about just dialing a number and picking up the machine from the numerous contractors listed in the directory. For businesses that care for workplace safety, it is a matter of ensuring that rented equipment does not compromise safety. Not only is this a regulatory need but it also protects the business and its employees from untoward incidents.
Some of the factors to manage the safety risks associated with rented equipment are:
- Understanding the needs of the customer to supply the right equipment to match the task to be performed. This involves research and understanding of their needs to ensure that the right equipment is supplied. This will require working closely with the functional heads and the shop floor workers to identify the best equipment for the task.
- While identifying the right equipment, assess the potential hazards, assign a risk score to each, and identify mitigative steps. Evaluate the specific equipment to be rented against the criteria to ensure safety.
- If the equipment needs the user to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriate for the machine, then that should be laid down clearly and it should be made available.
- The state of maintenance of the equipment is another very vital criterion as the risk of breakdowns can cause unscheduled disruptions as well as injuries and environmental risks.
- Depending on the complexity of the machine, training needs should be assessed and appropriate training provided to the employee concerned.
- Care should be taken while transporting the machine to reduce the risk of damage at the time of pick-up or delivery.
- Once the equipment is on the premises, especially in these times of the Covid-19 pandemic, sanitization must be ensured to reduce the risk of infection.
- It should also be checked thoroughly to ensure it works as expected.
- Ensure that the equipment is used only for the purpose for which it has been designed and hired.
- Document the processes followed for regulatory submission in case of any incidents.
- Ensuring that the customer too lays stress on safety and has processes to comply with the SOPs laid down. Assessing the safety and quality practices of the potential customers becomes a responsibility of the rental business as any incident in the customer worksite due to the rented equipment can have an impact on the renting company too.
- Periodic worksite audits, gap analysis, risk assessment, and mitigative action can reduce and prevent incidents.
Automating Risk Management Workflows
On paper, the risk assessment and management process may seem simple and straightforward. However, for rental equipment businesses supplying a variety of equipment to different customers in different geographic locations, sometimes even remote locations, keeping track of risk management of the different equipment, their documentation, and having visibility into the training of employees and processes can become challenging.
Periodic safety auditing of the equipment is also essential and requires automation to schedule and complete the process. Periodic maintenance of the equipment to make sure it is in top shape is also essential to minimize risks of breakdowns and accidents.
A safety management system such as the one from ComplianceQuest can help automate equipment risk management right from identifying the risk factors to setting risk scores, managing training, documentation, equipment maintenance, audit, and much more.
It can also empower employees to record observations and near misses and perform further root cause analysis and CAPA based on the risk level. In case of an incident, it can help with regulatory submissions by providing access to all the relevant records easily.
Ensuring employee wellness and safety is important not only from a compliance point of view, but also to improve employee engagement, productivity and to accelerate growth. For the rental business, it is also a matter of reputation and revenues as well as preventing accidents that can lead to unnecessary litigation and penalties. ComplianceQuest EHS, built on the Salesforce platform, offers a customizable, scalable, and flexible risk management solution that can enable automating all aspects of equipment rentals – from the condition of the equipment to its periodic maintenance, training of employees and end-users, document management, and so on.
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