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Life-saving solutions expand

02 March 2009

An award-winning software system conceived and developed in Yorkshire to improve health and safety standards in the construction industry is rapidly being adopted by other business sectors.
Wetherby-based Mobile Software Systems’ “Mobile Safety Solutions” product utilises Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) technology in stand-alone or Internet mode.

Life-saving solutions expand
Life-saving solutions expand

It takes the pain out of health and safety and many other compliance requirements across a wide range of operations, including and beyond the construction industry.

Logistics operations, facilities management organisers and large-scale industrial process manufacturing sites are now taking the system on board.

Some £400,000, including a £150,000 investment from Yorkshire Fund Managers, has been invested in developing the product over the past four years since Microsoft Gold Partner CoMet-IT won a Yorkshire Forward competitive grant to build a prototype IT solution for the construction industry. An award stipulation was that the system should use mobile computers with broadband connection to improve construction site health and safety standards.

Successfully launched at the 2006 NEC Health and Safety Expo, the system, which uses Microsoft’s reliable Windows Mobile technology, collected the Digital Yorkshire “Best Use of Broadband Technology” award. Two years later, the first major contract was gained with the supply of a health and safety package for the surveyors handling over 2000 branches of a major UK bank.

Other construction industry and associated firms were quick to follow suit, with annual contracts typically starting at around £50,000 and moving up into six figures.

Meanwhile, advanced logistics supplier Wincanton is using the system to check on safety at over 500 depots throughout Europe. And at Doosan Babcock’s Grangemouth plant this summer the system will control health and safety compliance as some 600 contractors carry out maintenance procedures during the annual shutdown.

Tony Preston believes recent successful contract gains are just the start of a much bigger picture for the young company: “In construction and general practice, health and safety matters and the system is invaluable for speedy access to accurate data, from trivial incidents up to criminal negligence cases and even corporate manslaughter. Our systems support proper process and almost by default enforce due-diligence procedures.

“The product was developed in response to the award edict, but we’re now seeing much wider applications and tailoring solutions for independent client companies in a number of different industries. In each case, we invest substantial time in understanding exactly how a new client company operates and the problems it faces.

“We’re now looking at expanding into Transport, Healthcare, Education, Housing, Environmental Compliance and Call Centres. And on a completely different level, the system is ideal for market research projects, large and small.“

Mobile Software Systems’ web-based application software is ideal for use by mobile workers, in public places and for multi-site operations and allows data to be shared, compared and unified. Hand-held computers (PDAs) replace traditional paper-based inspections, risk assessments, investigations and audits. An Internet connection uploads data, photos, signatures and related information to a website. The site is hosted on behalf of clients, and acts as a data store, reports alerts and tracks action plans.

Storing all the data in a single, secure place, as a corporate compliance management system, scorecards show key performance indicators, outstanding non-compliance matters and work schedules, producing an overall effective operational unit.

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