We are delighted to report that several of our branches have recently been re-certified to standards ISO 45001 for Occupational Health and Safety, ISO 14001 for Environmental Management Systems and ISO 9001 for Quality Management Systems – despite some branches not even being operational at the time the auditing was carried out due to COVID-19.
The following Avonside Group branches were audited in June:
Meanwhile, the following branches were audited in July:
The successful re-certification process comes after the Group was recognised as fully compliant with the updated ISO 45001, 2 years ahead of the scheduled deadline last year.
Whilst all our branches undergo annual audits, every 3 years a more thorough audit is required to secure re-certification status for the key ISO standards.
Throughout each given year, our Group SHEQ Manager, Sarah Burke and her team visit each individual branch to make sure they are complying with our Group’s management system that aligns with ISO guidelines.
We employ Alcumus, a leading provider of software-led risk management solutions, to externally audit us and check that we are practising ISO standards and that each of our branches are adhering to the regulations set out in our Group management system.
The series of audits at the branches outlined above, which began on 15th June, cumulated in Alcumus interviewing our CEO Eddie Stanton [pictured] on Monday 6th July. By interviewing our CEO, Alcumus could assess how the ethos of stringent Health and Safety values, regulations and measures are passed down from the highest authority on our Board to all operatives within all areas of the Group.
Due to COVID-19, some auditing had to be carried out remotely, which presented some obstacles to the auditing process. For example, some features that branches were required to demonstrate during audits couldn’t be seen, such as what the layout of branch offices looked like, what safety signage was displayed and what noticeboards showcased at each branch premises. Another issue was the fact that our Head Office was, was at the time, in lockdown.
To overcome these challenges, we adapted to provide the required audit evidence in the circumstances we were put under, by sending Alcumus photographs, screenshots, videos and electronic documents to evidence standards, alongside having video calls.
Sarah Burke [pictured] praised our Lead Auditor Craig Hunter, and Alcumus for their flexible and consistent approach:
“Craig and Alcumus knew it was hard for us to obtain evidence of certain criteria in the current climate and circumstances, yet they were understanding and worked with us to accommodate the Branch Managers and allowed us to adapt.
“Auditing during the height of the lockdown period was a challenge. We [the Health and Safety Department] and Alcumus were looking for information from Branch Managers who were, at the time, just getting their branches back on their feet again, getting productivity up and running again and getting operational again.
“That’s why myself and Harry Henderson [Group SHEQ Audit & Compliance Manager] tried to support them all as best we could, encouraging Alcumus’ auditors to liaise with us as much as possible to take the pressure off the time-strapped Branch Managers where possible.
“Although it was a challenge, it always helps that Alcumus have been our external auditors since 2014. This means that they know how we work as a business and are up to date on our latest acquisitions. This familiarity has been built up over the last 6 years of having a positive working relationship. Although they may change our Account Manager from time to time, we always appreciate how Alcumus largely assign us the same Lead Auditor, who tends to have beneficial experience in the construction sector.”