Staying ahead of the Health and Safety curve: An interview with Sean McBride of Salus Workplace Safety

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Health and Safety matters are at the heart of Forsite’s reason for being. As we state upfront on our website, Forsite exists to enable “contractor health and safety management for people responsible for property.”

With laws and guidelines around health and safety matters always evolving, it’s important that we stay ahead of the curve to ensure that our software is always current and satisfying the demands of the law and global best practice.

To do this, we utilise the services of a company called Salus, run by director Sean McBride. Sean will be familiar to you because he is listed and pictured on the Forsite website staff page as our Health & Safety Consultant.

We spoke with Sean recently about the work he’s been doing and sought his view on the top three things property managers should always keep in mind when it comes to health and safety.

The changing Health & Safety landscape

 “My role at Salus is to provide guidance and support to business owners and their people to help them work healthily and safely. In the past three years, my focus has been on owners and senior managers so that they have a clear understanding of the new health and safety legislation,” says Sean.

“Beyond this, new regulations are being introduced all the time. As recently as December 2017, for example, new regulations were released with very strict requirements around buildings containing asbestos, which directly effects owners and property managers who own or manage buildings containing or suspected of containing this substance. We need to be conscious of how we address those changing issues.

“For Property Managers, being responsible for multiple properties often means you can’t be on site. However, the health and safety laws now require Property Managers or landlords to ensure the safety of people including contractors on site so far as is reasonably practicable.”

So, the top three things Property Managers need to keep top of mind regarding health and safety are:  

1. Induction

  • Ensure all maintenance contractors have been inducted to the site prior to commencing any work

2. Monitoring

  • Ensure you are keeping track of your contractors’ arrival and departures (ie. time and attendance)

3. Communication

  • Property Managers must be able to convey and receive safety information promptly about new and existing hazards, and related safety procedures

How Forsite software enables effective management of H&S issues

Sean says the biggest change that’s affected the property industry over the last decade has been the revolution in smartphone technology.

“Everyone in business has a smartphone, and this means information is more readily accessible than ever before, but at the same time, everyone is busier. Apps like Forsite allow instant communication of essential information in a legible format.”

“As an early adopter, I was quick to see the Forsite app was a much-needed innovation for the New Zealand property market and the introduction of the new legislation was the ideal launching pad. Simon Yock and I identified the legal parameters and then worked on a best practice methodology aimed at managing contractors working on site.

“Forsite has since evolved into a fit-for-purpose tool customised to the demanding role of property and facilities managers, provides current time information on contractor attendance. The software enables both parties to communicate essential safety information, such as hazards and safety procedures, while Forsite creates and maintains the essential records to prove the legal requirements are being met.

“The Forsite team is constantly exploring opportunities to develop additional features to make contractor attendance safer and Property Manager’s role less burdensome.”

Sean has produced a 13-part series of videos with Salus covering a range of health and safety issues that would be useful viewing for any property manager using Forsite software. Check them out on the Salus YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/PuOeAawy_XE