As we move with increasing confidence into a world where COVID has released its grip on student and everyday work life, there is a renewed need to ensure that your campus are safe for all who work and study there, and to do so by means that reflect the changed circumstances under which we operate now and no doubt will continue to in future. Whilst the student bodies have embraced the opportunity to resume the social interaction that is the essential core of student life, many administrators are equally attracted to the flexible working arrangements that have been perhaps the only benefit of life under COVID.
In the key area of contractor management that will often mean that complex operations over multiple sites need to be monitored and supervised by campus administrators who may well be working from home for at least a few days a week. It is crucial that they can continue to do so whilst staying in complete control of the process and without the slightest compromise in safety or security.
Where it has not already occurred, this must inevitably result in the phasing out of any remaining paper-based permit process, with its obvious geographical restrictions – which must surely be consigned to campus history as completely as fountain pens and ink, exercise books and slide rules.
What is clearly needed as a bare minimum requirement going forward is an electronic permit system capable of detailing the work to be carried out, that can then identify the hazards and risks involved in that work and then sequence the precautions which must be adhered to in order to complete it. It should involve a step-by-step process and a series of fail-safe prompts and conflict checks, combining to aid compliance and maximise the safety and protection of personnel and property.
At ITConsilium, we believe that we provide not only this to the various different universities and colleges that we work with, but an advanced solution that is truly fitting to be used in in centres of scientific research and technical innovation.
Being cloud-based, our Permit to Work Manager (P2WM) (which is compliant with the highest industry standards including OHSAS18001, ISO9001 and ISO27001) is an all-in-one solution that gives complete control over contractor induction, permit issuing and authorising, as well as being a powerful management and audit tool that is both secure and fully accessible whatever the location of the user.
This will even extend to being fully accessible via a smartphone or tablet – both in terms of the inputting of data by the contractor and the ability to authorise and monitor by the administrator - a truly cutting-edge development that completes the process of freeing-up the user from any geographical limitations.
Whatever the future may bring, the abiding lesson of COVID must be that flexibility must be built into all workplace practices, and combining this with security and control is of the essence of good contractor management.