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How Ireland’s leading crane firm keeps track of inspections and training

warwickshire-collegeWalter Watson is Ireland’s leading manufacturer of overhead cranes. Founded in 1967 in County Down, it now operates from locations in Eire, Northern Ireland, and Scotland and services customers throughout Ireland, the UK and further afield.

The company’s interests span the steel, reinforcement, lifting and agricultural sectors with the manufacturing, supply, installation and service of overhead cranes forming an important part of the business. Customers include the ESB (the Irish Electrical Supply Board), Liebherr, Bombardier Aerospace, Northern Ireland Railways and Corus.

To support its service operations, Walter Watson turned to CoreRFID’s CheckedOK solution to help save costs and improve quality in inspection and testing services.

Meeting two sets of safety standards

As a company operating on both sides of the Irish border, Walter Watson has to cope with two sets of health and safety standards – those from the UK’s Health & Safety Executive (HSA) and from the Irish Health and Safety Authority. On top of this, the codes of practice promoted by the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA), a worldwide body, offer important guidance.

Walter Watson was keen to ensure that whatever system was selected would conform to both LOLER and PUWER regulations as well as to HSA rules. As the market leading lifting inspection software in the UK and Ireland, CheckedOK meets the requirements of both.

“Our CheckedOK system is delivering the benefits we hoped for. CoreRFID’s installation and support services helped us to get up and running quickly in line with our original timetable.”
– David Burtney, Service Manager, Walter Watson

Adapting the system to the company’s needs

CheckedOK has over 100 sets of inspection questionnaires for lifting equipment included in the system as standard so it was possible to quickly adapt it to Walter Watson’s needs and the range of cranes and lifting systems that it supports.

As is often the case, some features have particular benefit to a user’s operations. Walter Watson has achieved particular value from the system’s training dashboard, the breakdown parts feature and the Report Manager.

Keeping track of training

The training dashboard is designed to ensure that engineers working with a particular item of equipment have received appropriate training and their training is up to date. Walter Watson needed to keep track of qualifications covering driving, fork-lift truck handling, first aid, crane training and more. The system monitors 16 categories of training and enables Walter Watson to specify the training interval and start date for training sessions, giving the company better control.

Managing breakdowns

CheckedOK is mostly used in the context of planned inspections, which are scheduled to take place as part of the overall management of an asset. When responding to a breakdown, however, the work required will often be less predictable. CheckedOK’s breakdown feature allows the work carried out to be recorded, even where this has not been previously planned.

Creating tailored reports

Report Manager helps CheckedOK users to make the most of the data on inspections and assets accumulated by the system. As items can be quickly identified by RFID tags, it is easy to link the inspection data to the relevant asset and create reports.

In Walter Watson’s case, users in different roles in the organisation needed different reports on a regular basis. Using the Report Manager, users can now batch a number of reports together and download them in a single zip file, making them easy to archive and easier to share with others by email for example

The Benefits

Walter Watson’s inspection system provides:

  • Rapid collection of inspection results
  • Ordering of breakdown repair parts
  • A way to record training or certification required with prompts for renewals
  • Replacement of paper and pencil records
  • Conformance with Irish and UK safety codes of practice as appropriate
  • Easy visibility of reports and certificates to Walter Watson’s clients.