Last month we celebrated our ISO45001 certification. We have yet more good news!
Alison and Jo, our intrepid ISO novices, have been credited in a book. They’ve also been invited to speak at a ‘Women in Quality’ conference. Here they explain what’s happening.
As anyone with ISO certification knows, audits come as part of the package. When we started working on ISO45001 for occupational health and safety at the beginning of last year, the December audit date was our deadline. Our auditor is Jennie Clark and she was booked in for a three and a half day audit visit – argh!
An audit is often treated as something to be feared, but we didn’t find that with Jennie. She has years of experience of auditing in various industries but her approach is pragmatic. As an auditor she can’t guide you how to do things, but we’ve learnt a lot from the audits and the way in which Jennie makes us consider the standards and their implications for us. Obviously you have to meet the requirements of the standard, but she encourages you to think about the standard as a tool and what it can do for your business, how you can make it work for you to drive things forward. She helped us make sense of it, we just applied it in our own way.
We knew Jennie was planning to write a guide to ISO45001 but we never expected to get a mention in it, nor see some of our work referred to as good practice. It was a tremendous compliment.
Jennie’s book, “Making Sense of ISO 45001:2018” is the second in The Simple Systems Series, (available on Amazon). It’s written in plain English, easy to read and gives practical examples. We’d definitely recommend it to anyone starting on this standard.
Jennie has invited us to take part in a ‘Women in Quality’ conference to share some of our experiences and ideas, and we’re delighted to have been asked. If some of what we did can help someone else on their ISO45001 journey, it’s a good thing.
Jennie said ”I am always keen to see where MK have taken their system in the time since their last audit, and I’ve yet to be disappointed! The way in which the organisation uses the structure of the standards but then builds on top of that shows real intuition, drive and understanding and the team deserve the recognition I gave them in my book. Here’s to the next audit!”
Hotel transforms to support Wigan Council during the Covid-19 pandemic – Lowri Jones
The Covid-19 crisis has seen a lot of people and places having to adapt to support the national effort, with conference centres, theatres and even football stadiums transforming their functions to become field hospitals to support patients battling against the virus. Even a Mercure Hotel, in Wigan has found itself swapping their usual business and weekend getaway guests to be a place for rest and recuperation for patients on their way home from hospital. Jane Stevens, Assistive Technology Manager for Wigan Council shared more about the project, and how they worked with Cair UK to provide assistive technology to support the patients and staff.
Two floors of the Mercure Hotel have been utilised, for anybody who needs to use the site, to facilitate blockages relating to Covid-19. The intention was to provide a place of support for those recovering, but needed to isolate away from home, or for those who would normally benefit from a step-down setting post-discharge. There has been a mix of people who have benefitted from the facility, including enabling carer respite for a family in need.
The facility is monitored by staff 24/7, by staff who have been re-deployed within the council. To ensure that every person resting in their rooms has the ability to call for help, assistive technology was a must to enable their safety, and for the staff to be able to work as effectively as possible. Each room has the Cair Onyx pendant, which a patient can trigger to call for help should they feel unwell. The pendants are connected to 2 Buzzz pagers, which are monitored by members of staff. At night-time, where reduced cover is needed, one of the Buzzz pagers is given to security, so that the member of staff can call for help should they need assistance. There are also door contacts which monitor the movements of the front and back entries, to ensure the safety of all on the hotel floors. Each individual who has a stay here, is assessed to understand their needs and identify any other assistive technology needed, which can be added to the solution quickly and easily.
Jane said “Cair quickly responded to our request which enabled us to set up the assistive technology in a short period. We always choose the Buzzz pager because of its ease of use and simplicity. The staff working at this site have come from all different parts of the council, and although some are, many aren’t used to working in a care environment. I needed to ensure that any equipment was going to be simple to use, and with the Buzzz you can easily name the sensors, and alarms are easy to acknowledge. I like equipment that does what it says on the box, that’s what I always consider when I purchase anything, and the Cair equipment does that. Another reason for choosing the Buzzz was that it collects data, and that’s important for us at this site”.
My Cair journey is still relatively young, and it has been a stark difference to how most new jobs start. With government restrictions currently in place, it’s been over 7 weeks since I have seen any customers or colleagues in real life (miss you all!), certainly not how I expected the first months of the role to be. But what I also didn’t expect to see, was the level of collaboration that goes into product design. There are some really exciting things happening behind the scenes at Cair, and whilst we physically remain apart, creatively I have never felt closer to the action.
The product road map is very fun to travel along, and I have loved to see how everyone is brought along on the journey. The experience and expertise of the engineering and design team is fused with that of the customer-facing roles, to ensure that there is thought and consideration to every last detail of upcoming new products. From design to features that people really need, no stone is left unturned. A big part of all our roles is to make sure that we contribute to the detail of equipment everyone would want in their homes, and for now, whilst we work in our own living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms, we are all inspired more than ever.
The most important contribution is still that of our customers, and the people you support; without knowing the challenges you have and the solutions you need, there would always be that missing piece. Cair prides itself on working with our customers, and we would welcome any suggestions or ideas you have, just email me at email@example.com. As I say, the road ahead is exciting, and we would love for you to hop in on the ride!
We did it! We’ve got ISO45001 certification, the new safety standard.
No big deal you might think, but think again. Last January our Managing Director, Mohammed Chaudhary, took a huge chance on two of his staff – who were not SHEQ specialists – and tasked them to try for the new safety standard ISO45001, replacing the outgoing 18001. Expectations weren’t particularly high, but fingers were crossed.
Who’d have thought that, in under a year, the work they put in as complete novices would result, not only in successfully achieving ISO45001 certification, but doing so at their first attempt, and with ZERO non conformances?
“You have to trust your people, if you see potential you have to nourish it. I expected they’d do it, but I have to admit I never expected the result to be flawless! I’m delighted. Now that they’ve set the bar so high, they’re on with their next challenge”, said Mohammed.
Alison, HR Manager, and Jo, Admin Assistant (and former cleaner) are still on cloud nine over the result. “The boss had the foresight to take a chance on us. We’re delighted to have achieved this at the first time of asking. It was a nervous day for us when the auditor arrived to start the 3 day audit. We had an inkling we’d done enough to get the certificate, but the final day was quite emotional, ending with the auditor commenting that she was ‘blown away’ by what she’d seen, calling us a shining example of what people who aren’t SHEQ specialists can achieve with the right approach. We couldn’t believe it. We had a little celebration to mark the occasion.
It’s been an interesting journey. ISO standards, and requirements to meet them, were unknown to us at the beginning. It seemed like a mountain to climb at first. But we had some training, and some guidance from others, then interpreted it our own way and applied it to the organisation.
The importance of support – from the MD, to those doing the job on the shop floor – cannot be underestimated. We couldn’t have done it without our marvellous Production staff who willingly came on board with it, stayed on board and were so helpful, and wanted to get involved, helping us to make it happen. We can’t thank them enough.
As a result of doing this, opportunities opened up that played to a lot of peoples’ hidden strengths which might not have surfaced had we not undertaken this task, like our Goods In Coordinator who’s now an internal auditor and good at it; we’d never have guessed that.
It’s also brought about some philanthropic suggestions, like our hampers for care homes, and our ‘Cheese Off’ event to promote Dementia Friendly support. It’s been great and it reflects our commitment to the safety and wellbeing of our staff, our customers and our products. We’ve given ourselves some new challenges that will help drive forward continual improvements for the company, and once these unprecedented times are over, we’ll be cracking on with that.”
Hello, I’m Kevin. It’s been almost a year since I joined Cair. However, I’ve been in the Telecare industry for 28 years as an installer, engineer, trainer and now in sales for the last two years.
Cair is a great wee company from Halifax. I’m the first regional Sales Specialist to join the Cair team. Although I’m primarily based at home in Glasgow, I frequently visit the shiny new Cair offices. We’re like one big family, there’s around 30 of us and everyone’s photo is on the Cair family tree – it’s a great touch and it made me feel very welcome from the start.
Initially covering my home country of Scotland, I soon ventured out and now cover the whole of the UK. One of the perks of the job is travelling around the country. I’m a keen runner so wherever I go I try to get out for a run in the morning or evening. It’s a great way of seeing the local sights. I’ve run around places like central London, Stonehenge, the Highlands, the valleys of Wales and the beaches of Cornwall, as well as being an occasional member of Halifax Harriers when I’m working at Cair HQ.
As well as running the odd marathon here and there, I’m also on the board of Glasgow’s Bellahouston Road Runners as Social Secretary and my two kids, aged 9 & 14 keep me busy too.
My job is to help grow and develop the company with a view to expanding in the future but it’s also quite a diverse and interesting role. It involves meeting potential customers to demonstrate our products. Influencing product development, testing the devices before they’re launched then training customers on how to program and use them.
At meetings, I’ll explain a little about the company then demonstrate our products. Our products are aesthetically pleasing, great quality and we try to fit as much functionality into every one while keeping them straightforward to program. As we’re always striving to design the best products possible, the meetings end with a discussion on issues which aren’t met by current technology and features the customer would like to see in any new products.
Influencing development & design
Since starting with the company last October, I’ve suggested some ideas for new products and improvements to existing devices. Some of these developments are starting to come together and will hopefully be available in the near future.
Some of these development ideas will be refined even further by customers themselves. I’ll carry out some survey calls and feed the results back to the developers. It may be difficult to incorporate some ideas but others which may seem difficult could be incorporated fairly easily into a product.
Every product we develop will have been extensively tested by myself and others within the business to ensure it’s as complete as possible before being trialled by a few select customers in preparation for sale.
Well, that’s a little snapshot of my life at Cair. Hopefully I’ll see you around at some point but if you spot me at an exhibition or conference, feel free to come up and say hello.
Over the coming months we’ll be exhibiting at various events across the UK. See us at the following upcoming events for 2019 . . .
• 24th & 25th September Tech Severn, Shrewsbury • 26th September Clackmannanshire TEC Event, Alloa • 2nd October Optalis Daily Living Made Easy, Maidenhead • 15th & 16th October TSA International TEC Conference, Birmingham • 22nd October Cambridgeshire UKTHC MarketPlace, St Ives • 20th & 21st November Digital Health and Care Fest, Glasgow
I joined Cair in October 2018 working part time as a cleaner at their office in Halifax. At the start of this year a new role came up and since January I’ve been working as an Admin Assistant full time.
The company holds ISO accreditations for safety, quality and environment and we put a lot of effort into involving staff to help awareness and improvements. My role supports the HR Manager and Quality Coordinator so there’s plenty of variety in what I do. Recently I’ve painted a lifesize tree on the wall to display company objectives, taken on responsibility for the fire marshal team, helped deliver ISO training sessions… and organised the ice cream van to come onsite (it’s hot work!).
The company operates compressed hours so we work full time hours over 4 days a week, and don’t work Fridays which is great – as long as you don’t mind early mornings.
Working from Home
In July, due to an unforeseen change in family circumstances, I needed to be able to spend more time in North Yorkshire. Unfortunately, the commute between Halifax and Malton just wasn’t doable 4 days a week. So I talked to HR about it, believing my only option would be to leave the company.
However, the kind people at Cair came up with a solution that meant I could change my working arrangements to include working from home and only coming into the office one day a week.
This has had a massive impact on my work life balance enabling me to carry on working for a company I love and still look after my family in Malton. The company’s response to my situation was unexpected, but fantastic!
I feel lucky to have this opportunity and optimistic for my future career at Cair. The people here are great, and I’d recommend the company to anyone looking for a job.
The Cair headquarters are in the heart of Halifax, West Yorkshire. Often people have questioned the company’s location. A tech company with such innovative ideas and strong ethics. Why choose to base your offices in a small town and not a hustling bustling city?!
In celebration of Yorkshire Day, let us answer this question once and for all. There are a number of reasons why we’ve chosen to call Halifax home but on this blog we’ve listed the top few. By the end of this read we’re hoping you will be as convinced as we are that Cair are in fact based in a prime location, surely one that no city could beat.
1) Callywood, Halifornia
The local courier has dubbed it as Callywood others argue Haliwood. All we know is the region has seen film producers flock to capture the charm of this little old village, bringing their high budget works to life.
Picturesque Yorkshire has always been home to many filming locations including blockbusters and classics such as Harry Potter, Robin Hood, The Railway Children and many more. Recently, Halifax in particular has received a bit of a reputation as the go to place to film with many household shows being filmed locally. These include the currently popular Gentleman Jack filmed in the famous Shibden Hall, The Last Tango In Halifax has various scenic locations subtly captured in every episode, Ackley Bridge depicts Halifax’s more urban side and not to forget Happy Valley of course, using the moors and woodlands as a backdrop to some of the more gritty scenes.
All this makes us question…Hollywood, California who?
2) Location, Location, Location
Halifax has a prime central location, with the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales less than an hour North, the Peak District approximately an hour south, Leeds to the East and Manchester to the West. All we need now is the seaside and every box is ticked…Oh wait, did we mention Todmordern has a secret beach.
Calderdale is fast becoming one of the best boroughs to live in. With Hebden Bridge being voted as THE best place to live in the UK. Just for context, the Cair offices are only a 20 minute drive from Hebden and the commute is one to be envied. Instead of the usual traffic jams, sardine packed trains and angry commuters; the winding roads over the valley, past the windmills and across the various canals and rivers, ensure you never suffer from Monday blues again.
Halifax is definitely on the up with some new projects giving the local economy a boost. Most notably the Piece Hall, a vast 18th Century building newly restored and the UK’s last remaining cloth hall has been converted into cafes, shops and an iconic events venue. Other places of significance and a must to visit are the Victorian Borough Market with it’s Rococo inspired cast Iron columns, the Square Chapel with it’s art deco ceiling and the juxtaposition of the new glass box Library attached to the old church spire.
Dubbed by the Guardian as…Halifax, the Vienna of Yorkshire.
3) Yorkshire Folk
Now we may be biased, but it’s common knowledge that us Yorkshire folk are as friendly as they come. This is especially true here at Cair, as most employees are local and often even a small walk away it guarantees for a close-knit welcoming atmosphere. We like to think of ourselves as a family at Cair with all new starters getting the privilege of having their portraits framed and displayed on the Cair family tree.
The laid back Yorkshire attitude to life guarantees a fuss free down to earth and direct approach that is hard to find elsewhere…particularly all whilst brandishing a proper brew.
Yes – It’s true, we’re experts when it comes to a good brew and we know a thing about pies and puds too. No – We don’t all greet each other by saying ‘Eeh by gum’.
“There’s nowt s’queer as folk”. Translation – People are strange unless they’re from Yorkshire.
4) Northern Powerhouse
A government initiative to unite the economic power of the North of England and become a financial rival to London. By providing more opportunities and improved infrastructure to shift some of the economic growth from the South upwards. The Northern Powerhouse is designed to ignite the business potential of the North. These effects can also be seen in smaller towns and villages, such as those in the Calder Valley region.
The North has always been a bit of an underdog, not to mention home to world leading innovators from a variety of industries. Historically, Yorkshire has also given the world; Football, Stainless Steel and not to forget Yorkshire Puddings. We say, it’s high time the North takes back its crown.
Cair launches its Mental Health in the Workplace initiative
Many of us know someone with a mental health condition, whether it’s a friend, family member, relative or colleague. At Cair we are pleased to become part of a growing movement to dispel the stigma often attached to mental illness.
During Mental Health Awareness Week last week, we launched our Mental Health & Wellbeing in the Workplace initiative.
This initiative included the introduction of in-house mental health first aiders, a first for the business!
Staff members, Phil and Celia (pictured), volunteered to become our on site Mental Health First Aiders. They recently successfully completed their training with St John Ambulance and are now ready to offer help and support on a confidential basis to any employee in need. Their role includes looking out for indicators of mental health problems, which they do with the full support of the management team.
Cair staff become Dementia Friends!
This coincided with our Dementia Awareness Event held on Tuesday 14 May where staff were asked to bring in a sweet or savoury bake with cheese as an ingredient.
The “Cheese Off” Baking Competition was held in aid of the Dementia Friendly Daisy Cafe in Todmorden. Tasting and voting for our favourite bakes, competition was fierce!
First place went to Jo for her amazing Black Forest Cherry Cheesecake. Joint second were Phil for Red Pepper and Sweet Mustard Filo Rolls and Kazia for her Black Cherry Cheesecake.
The event included a talk on Dementia Awareness by our guest speaker and Chair of Dementia Friendly Todmorden, Inspector Neil Taylor from West Yorkshire Police.
By way of thanks, staff donated a food hamper and £75 for the cafe, presented to Neil.
At the end of the event staff chose to sign up to become Dementia Friends (and a free badge).
‘Earth Hour’ was on Saturday the 30th of March from 8.30pm to 9.30pm. A worldwide event that takes place for an hour each year which involves switching off the lights to highlight climate change. Starting as a symbolic lights out event in Sydney in 2007. Now adopted by over 26 countries, inspiring millions of people to take action for the planet and nature.
Locations across the globe take part by going dark during Earth Hour. This year saw global landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, the Eiffel Tower and even Hong Kong’s skyline to go dark for an hour on Saturday.
The Switch Off
As a company, Cair continually look to reduce its carbon footprint as well as to promote environmentally friendly good practices. From the installation of solar panels to planting trees, the environmental policy and ISO 14001 also help to manage Cair’s environmental responsibilities allowing Cair to focus on environmental challenges.
This month Cair encouraged its employees to take part in Earth Hour because even members of the public have an opportunity to participate, not just large cities and landmarks. From simply switching off the lights at home to organising an Earth Hour event, anything big or small, contributes to the environment and towards raising awareness.
Most employees at Cair contributed to the event by switching off their lights at home for an hour. However, some went the extra mile such as Jean, Cair’s Supply Chain Manager who hosted a candlelight dinner party for the occasion. Serving up a three course menu to friends and family illuminated entirely by candlelight.
Activities that the Cair team took part in for Earth Hour included; evening walks, stargazing, curry night and movie nights. Did you do something for Earth Hour? Share in the comments section below.