Software company prepares for new Health & Safety regime
CS-VUE General Manager Wayne Fisher
Wednesday, 19 August 2015
Software company prepares for new Health & Safety regime
After spending over a decade helping local government, big infrastructure players and heavy industry manage and track their resource consents, Auckland-based software company CS-VUE is now turning its expertise to designing health and safety software as the same sectors prepare to respond to more onerous legal requirements.
“With the Health and Safety Reform Bill currently working its way through Parliament, CS-VUE is once again just responding to legislative change and providing the tools to manage it. Our environmental compliance software was a direct result of the Resource Management Act. We’re now just gearing up again, but this time on another front,” says CS-VUE General Manager Wayne Fisher.
CS-VUE was established in 2004 after being engaged by the Auckland City Council to devise software to better manage the former council’s stormwater and environmental compliance activities and rapidly spread to other councils enabling them to manage their significant and often ongoing air, land or water consents.
Eleven years on and CS-VUE has enjoyed phenomenal success with clients including New Zealand Transport Agency, Landcorp, KiwiRail, Transpower and over a dozen of the country’s councils.
“This is not just about delivering cost savings and productivity gains, this provides resilience and safe keeping of critical information. That’s achieved because all the documentation is in a cloud-backed online repository – with everything in one place for easy management. Organisations don’t need to add to their existing computer hardware nor maintain it. It’s easily assessable and secure from any earthquakes, floods or fires,” says Fisher.
For those dealing with massive resource consents and all the conditions that follow, the CS-VUE software enables organisations to track those conditions and avoid or minimise any breaches, effectively giving them an up-to-the-minute environmental balance sheet.
“Almost all of the clients we’ve picked up over the past decade, we’ve retained. They just pay an annual service fee and can forget about having staff spending all their time trying to keep on top of a number of cumbersome spreadsheets and hardcopy documents.
“What’s more being electronic and automated, there is a lot less opportunity for human error. One slip up resulting in a breach can seriously affect these big organisations’ bottom lines. It also keeps the regulatory bodies happy by creating a comprehensive and lengthy audit trail.”
The software enables businesses with multiple consents to view everything from the consent application to their many conditions. It also reports pending and completed compliance duties and provides reminders to conditions requiring action so no responsibilities fall through the cracks.
Fisher says CS-VUE has little in the way of direct competition in the marketplace and says what also sets them apart is the fact that the software was been developed and designed by industry experts for the industry.
Quarrying and mining clients include Winestone Aggregates, Perry Resources, and Oceanagold. Fertiliser giant Ravensdown is also on their books as is Meridian Energy, and Mighty River Power. While the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association is one their more quirky clients.
Fisher has been with the company for over a year after being recruited for his finance and sales expertise and experience and to help drive future business. The company is run from their Britomart offices, overseen by an experienced board of tech savvy entrepreneurial directors. Despite a couple of clients in Australia, growing business in New Zealand is the immediate focus.
Target clients include those from within the extractives sector, port companies, the aqua marine industry, and the dairy sector. In fact any organisation requiring or using environmental permits in their business could utilise their software.
What’s more CS-VUE has now developed an application in anticipation of the Health and Safety Reform Bill being passed into law sometime soon. Of particular note, it will place greater obligation on those in the work environment who create and manage risk, put greater emphasis on understanding compliance obligations, and introduce a more effective enforcement regime.
He says having workplaces understand and more actively manage their risks is long overdue given New Zealand has a “pretty dreadful” record for workplace accidents. In fact he says Kiwis are 2.5 times more likely to die in a workplace accident than in Australia and six to nine times more likely than in the UK.
“Of particular note, the new act will likely see accountability levels pushed more squarely onto companies with serious sanctions for those that put employees at risk without the appropriate training, safety gear, knowledge of hazards and for not carrying out proper risk assessments.”
For CS-VUE this increased accountability and the drive to mitigate business and personal exposure will see a big upswing in compliance reporting and risk management around health and safety. Companies will want to prove that they had identified all the hazards and eliminated or minimised them. The software will also enable them to notify WorkSafe if there is an incident.
“So our challenge with this pilot that we’re now running with a couple of organisations is to fine tune it and deliver some first-class health and safety risk management software that enables businesses to not only identify but actually help eliminate risks or hazards in the workplace.”
Fisher says New Zealand has been at the forefront of environmental management with the arrival of the Resource Management Act nearly 25 years ago. CS-VUE subsequently grew out of that helping organisations manage their environmental compliance. But this time, they’re ahead of the legislative timetable and are excited to be part of helping deliver new health and safety legislation.
With this new focus in mind CS-VUE is set to rebrand and market itself in the wider Environmental, Health & Safety compliance space.
“Given we were just a little start-up software company working with one council’s stormwater department a decade ago, we’ve come a long way. We’ve since enjoyed some really good growth and expansion which sees us working with many sectors in most corners of the country.”
He says CS-VUE successfully rode out the Global Financial Crisis and even picked up two awards in 2009, the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Asia Pacific and the Deloitte Fast 50. Last year their annual revenue was up 25% alone. With the Health & Safety Reform Act imminent, Fisher expects even stronger growth over the next couple of years.
“Our secret is keeping several steps ahead both in the areas of compliance and technology. We’ve got full-time software developers who constantly stay well ahead of any changes, while continually setting new benchmarks in service, ease of use and technology. It’s all about continuously improving our product and making it easy for our clients to focus more on delivering outcomes than worrying too much about the process,” says Fisher.