Health & Safety Record Keeping: Interview with Llangollen Outdoors

Friday, September 19, 2014

Josh O’Brien is a manager at Llangollen Outdoors, a busy activity centre in North Wales which caters for up to 15,000 adventure-seekers each year. The centre offers a range of products including activity programs, rescue and emergency service training programs, corporate events and experience activities –  we caught up with Josh to find out more about his work at the centre, and to ask his thoughts on using Papertrail’s web-based safety management system for their health and safety record keeping.

How did you manage your health and safety record keeping before adopting Papertrail?


“Before using Papertrail we used a combination of spreadsheets and paper records. To be honest, at times it was an absolute nightmare! If our AALS inspector wanted to see the history of a piece of equipment, that meant tracking back through reams of paper to find the right record. If someone dropped a cup of coffee or file of papers….well you can imagine! Now we use Papertrail for our health and safety record keeping and it makes our lives just so much easier.”

Could you tell us what kinds of things you use Papertrail for?

“At the moment, we use Papertrail to manage all our equipment inspections on the activity side of things. We plan to start using it for other areas of our business too over the next few months – such as risk assessments, facilities checks and staff training documents.”

Are there any particular features which you use all the time?


“We find the ability to add photos and also quarantine records really useful.  So if for example we have a helmet and the cradle has split, we can take a picture of it and attach that photo to the record in Papertrail. We can mark that piece of equipment as being in quarantine so we know it needs fixing.

Because I can see at a glance how many pieces of equipment we have in quarantine and see exactly what needs to be done, it makes it a lot easier for me to ensure the repairs get done. It’s a lot better than having helmets sat in boxes for months on end!”

What do you like best about using Papertrail?

“I love the fact that I get an email telling me when inspections are due. It means that as long as you set things up properly – enter the right inspection frequencies and take action when you receive the email – you can’t fail.

Take risk assessments for example. Prior to using Papertrail, we’d have to remember to open a folder and update our risk assessments every six months. Now Papertrail will remind us what we need to do.

I also love the way Papertrail is helping us to increase accountability and security across the organisation. As a manager, by using Papertrail I can make sure the right people are inspecting the right pieces of equipment. Because each team member has their own secure log-in, there’s complete accountability and security throughout.”

What do your team members think about using a web-based application rather than paper records? Any reservations?

“Right now we have four members of the team who are set-up as users on our Papertrail account, and they all love it. We’re planning a training session to get all of our freeelancers up and running in the next couple of weeks. So far I’ve showed them on my phone and tablet and they’ve been pretty impressed – they’re definitely not daunted as they see it as less “paperwork” for them!”

What plans do you have for Papertrail moving forward?

“We’re a Rescue 3 Europe Training provider and work a lot with mountain rescue and flood rescue teams. So we’re going to be adding a lot more safety equipment to our account over the next few weeks, such as ropes, slings and throw-lines. We’ll also be adding more risk assessments, standard operating procedures and training documents to Papertrail. Because as well as the obligations that come with our AALS license, we obviously need to inspect things like our toilets, changing rooms and car park too. Again, Papertrail reminds us when inspections are due.”

Thanks Josh for a great interview! We’re always really happy to hear how Papertrail is making life easier for our users in the outdoors. To learn more about Llangollen Outdoors hop over and visit their website, or if you’d like to find out more about Papertrail – contact us and book a free online demo now!

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