United Living - Case Study

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Leveraging Close Call Reporting with EcoOnline

Find out how United Living went from 200 to more than 2,500 close calls per month, bringing every employee and contractor to the next level of safety culture maturity.

United Living Group consists of three complementary businesses with one unified culture; United Living Property Services, Infrastructure Services and New Homes. They employ over 1100 people, with a national supply chain network of over 2000 resources supporting their projects. Bringing together people and technology, they help make the industry safer and more collaborative. 

The infrastructure, new homes and property services group has harnessed hazard awareness, risk management and reporting as part of a health and safety transformation program that has reduced its incident rates by 50% in less than 12 months with EcoOnline.


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reduction in incident rates in less than a year


increase in close-call reporting

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The Challenge

Hazards spotted by employees are known as “close calls” in the groupWhen Group Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ) Director Sean Luchmun arrived in January 2022, there was a trickle of close call reports.

“We had a clear conversation at board level,” he recalls, “and said ‘we are a business with a turnover of £550 million and a direct workforce of around 2000 employees and we are getting 250 close calls reported a month. That’s not where we want to be’. The consensus was that we wanted to be closer to 2000 [reports] a month, one per person.”

Why United Living Chose EcoOnline

“With EcoOnline we have flipped it from a reactive conversation about incidents to a proactive one where we can drive performance through positive behavior, through visible leadership and through people feeling empowered to step in at a critical moment to identify something, fix it, and challenge others in the right way.”


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The Solution

The company launched a cultural change program with several strands, one of which – using the slogan “Don’t walk by” - encourages employees not to see close calls as something worthy of blame but to act positively when they see hazardous behavior or conditions, fix problems, challenge colleagues and notify the group via EcoOnline’s Quick Report system. This had only been rolled out selectively in United Living’s divisions since the group had grown rapidly by acquisition.

Quick Reports can be filed by site managers and project managers via their laptops, and site operatives can use mobile phones or submit paper slips if they don’t carry a smart phone.

“We reinforced the messaging month on month and we’ve seen the improvements as a result,” says Luchmun of the change campaign. Those improvements are impressive. The number of close-call notifications has risen steadily in 10 months from 250 a month to 2500. Significantly, over the same period, the group’s rate reportable accidents under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations has more than halved, as has the all-injury rate.


Greater Transparency Through Reporting

Rather than focusing on accident rates and remedial work to prevent injuries recurring, the change program, including close call reporting, is creating a culture where everyone is focused on making the workplace safer.

The changes made as a result of reports are fed back to employees via channels such as “you said … we did” boards on sites, SHEQ newsletters, SHEQ forums and town hall meetings.

Analysis of the Quick Reports, which integrate seamlessly with United Living’s EHS system, has given Luchmun and his team insights on how to improve protection. This includes mandating eye protection on the construction sites and focusing campaigns on the higher frequency, lower severity issues such as slip and trip hazards and on the rarer but higher consequence ones such as working at heights or around electrical supplies.

“We can target our interventions based on data that is ours and we know it’s real,” he says. The differing volume of reports also gives the safety teams a steer of where in the organization to concentrate their efforts in developing the safety culture further.

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Extending Safety to External Members

The next step says Luchmun will be to extend the system to take in United Living’s subcontractors – who can make up 90% of the workforce on sites where the company is principal contractor. EcoOnline’s Quick Report offers the facility to allow guests access to the system by scanning a QR code with their phones.

“Potentially we will display individual QR codes on each project and subcontractors, visitors, and members of the public can log what they’ve seen.” He believes this extension could increase the number of reports four-fold. “I imagine we’ll take another huge leap forward,” he says.

The Results

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Overall, the change campaign, including close-call reporting, has started a real shift in culture and produced meaningful results in incident rates. “I’m confident to say we have safer projects,” says Luchmun, “because we have people who understand hazards and risks better and feel more empowered to identify them and fix them. That gives the board confidence that we should go and do more. That it’s worth putting more energy and effort into SHEQ agenda, into more close-call reporting and inspections. And that’s a really good place to be!”

Wondering How EcoOnline Can Help You?

Eager to find out how we can help strengthen your safety culture and processes? Speak to an EcoOnline representative today! 

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