A major initiative launched by Haden Young is helping improve the company’s safety record by moving away from the traditional hard-hitting approach

SHealth and safety has always been of paramount importance to building services firm Haden Young – and this has been reflected in a consistently good industry record over many years. Now an initiative has taken this a major step further.

‘Work Safe, Home Safe’ is a behavioural safety initiative that achieves results through mutual respect, care and understanding between managers, supervisors, employees and operatives.

“It is the way that people behave in the workplace that is now central to achieving our underlying target of zero incidents,” explains Haden Young’s health, safety and environment director, Kevin Callaghan.

“Rather than enforce safety using traditional methods, the Work Safe, Home Safe initiative is designed to persuade people to choose to change unsafe behaviour.

“The overriding aim is to make sure that our employees and operatives go home safely at the end of every working day.

“Clearly the vast majority of people do comply with procedures and do not have accidents. The small percentage that don’t comply need to be helped to understand why they should change their behaviour.”

Haden Young is investing heavily in the programme and is training every person – from the managing director downwards – to use a set of simple, clear procedures, and to continue to do so every single day.

There are a number of techniques on how to intervene if unsafe acts are seen. This includes engaging in discreet conversation with the person involved to help them understand what is wrong, giving them a reason to change their ways and gaining their agreement to work safely in the future.

The programme began last year with workshops for all Haden Young directors. Professional actors were brought in to play the roles of employees who were not behaving safely, giving ‘live’ experiences and feedback of how people react to different approaches and how best to create a productive two-way dialogue.

Together with coaching and a thought-provoking DVD, the workshop encouraged top-level managers to embrace the nonconfrontational approach and to take ownership of the Work Safe, Home Safe programme.

With this support in place, ‘Train the trainer’ workshops were run along similar lines, for employees responsible for developing the programme throughout Haden Young’s four operational regions and communicating it to sites and offices across the UK.

Each of the trainers has developed a series of workshops and sessions, based on the initial role-play workshop for the senior management team. The final phase of the roll-out took place this summer: workshops that explained the concept in more detail at the sharp end of the business.

Supporting the overall programme was the launch of Be Safe!, a new behavioural safety newsletter for employees and operatives, and a colourful, eye-catching poster with six different messages. The two items have been distributed to all offices and sites.

“Attention to health and safety is integral to the Haden Young culture,” adds Kevin Callaghan. “We regard it as key to our business, and we are continually striving for even higher levels of safety. The Work Safe, Home Safe campaign is driving this forward very positively.”

The Work safe, Home safe approach

  • Make it safe – move clear of any danger
  • Introduce yourself – use first names, talk to people as equals, not as employees
  • Express concern for the person’s safety
  • Coach the person on the risks involved – have a two-way conversation and get their opinion
  • Secure a commitment from them to work safely in the future

  • Maintaining a strong safety record

    For nearly two decades Haden Young has featured prominently in the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) awards. Its accident-frequency rate (AFR) has been falling for six years and in the past three years it has been cut by more than 50%.

    In a recent employee survey, more than 90% of respondees agreed that there is a strong commitment to providing a safe working environment. Last year more than three-quarters of sites had zero reportable accidents during the year.

    All incidents and near-misses are closely analysed. This analysis reveals that many result from lack of compliance with working practices, such as failing to wear personal protective equipment or not complying with a risk assessment.