Skanska triumphed in this category, sponsored by the health & Safety people
Skanska UK has done something amazing. In the past two years alone, it has reduced its accident incident rate 62% – and two-thirds of this was achieved last year. So, we hear you ask, how has it managed this? Well, the Skanska board sat down in 2003 and recognised that it was no good just telling people not to let accidents happen again, they needed to take action. So the company adopted a zero-accident policy, which included observation of “at risk” behaviours, toolbox talks for the workforce, site scoring from independent inspections, the inclusion of safety committees on all projects, and managers’ safety tours. And it has set up health and safety training for all workers too. What’s more, Skanska UK is putting its money where its mouth is by donating £1 to Mencap for every near-miss reported.
‘Skanska has done something amazing. In the past two years alone, it has reduced its accident incident rate 62% – and two-thirds of this was achieved last year’
Working in partnership with BAA on the Heathrow Terminal 5 project, Amec’s building and facilities services team had to tackle the age-old problem of how to access installed services. In the past, M&E companies have had to use tower scaffolds and workers have had to wear a cumbersome and restrictive full body harness that relied fully on the individual worker correctly clipping it on every time. So the team put their heads together and came up with the “personal step”, a one-man platform for working at height that carries light tools and ensures safety and ease of access. The workers love it – so much so that other trades on the project have started to cotton on to the idea …
‘The team came up with a one-man platform for working at height that carries light tools and ensures safety’
On the £35m mixed-use Falcon Wharf riverside residential development in Battersea, south-west London, Carillion’s specialist subcontractor Getjar introduced not one but two superb safety initiatives that earned it a place in the shortlist. The first is the Alsina fall arrest system, which provides an overhead reel to which a harnessed operative can hook on. This is an easy-to-use, easy-to-install system that has won favour with the operatives as the running lines are out of their way, allowing ease of movement. The second device is the Peri edge protection system. This consists of double-storey panels that rise with the construction of the building’s frame, sliding up the frame on tracks to protect two storeys at once. Both initiatives have been demonstrated to the HSE, which gave them the thumbs-up. And so have we.
‘The HSE gave both of these safety initiatives the thumbs-up’
Having set itself four key performance indicators to measure its safety record in 2003, HBG Construction decided it was the turn of its subcontractors. So last year it duly set about creating a way of measuring its subcontractors’ culture and attitudes. The firm decided it would measure the performance of its subcontractors on site using a tool called the “performance schedule”, which gives between zero and seven points for low, medium and high standards. These apply to 11 criteria, including attendance at safety committees, tidiness of sites, compliance with risk assessments and so on.
All the data collected goes on a spreadsheet and then into a database, allowing HBG to keep a close eye on things. It’s still early days for the system, but so far it has met with success: the accident incident rate is down from 2.52 to 2.19 per 100 employees and one of the firm’s M&E contractors was so impressed that it has already adopted the system itself.
‘The accident incident rate is down from 2.52 to 2.19 per 100’
Mansell’s safety initiative is called Safety Moving Forward, and it’s not hard to see why. Although this Croydon-based contractor’s safety record had always been good, it was not – by its own admission – exceptional. And only exceptional is good enough for this firm. So the Safety Moving Forward action plan was put into place at the end of 2003. This involved an overhaul of the firm’s competent contractor database and the introduction of new safety questionnaires and assessments for its subcontractors. The firm also introduced roadshows, taking the safety message to the workers at the coalface, and giving them the necessary information and tools to keep them safe. Nowadays, accidents are significantly down, there have been no fatalities since the launch, and 95% of workers are CSCS compliant.
‘Nowadays, accidents are significantly down, there have been no fatalities, and 95% of workers are CSCS compliant’
Struggling with a high number of enforcement notices issued by the HSE, Wilson Bowden realised something must be done. It discovered that its site standards assessments were woefully inadequate so in 2003, it introduced a high-tech safety inspection protocol using personal digital assistants. This allows for a dedicated assessment manager to visit a site and score it using HSE-recommended criteria, with points from one to five for each. The assessment is automatically fed back into the company’s mainframe computer, which records all scores and alerts construction directors of any high-priority sites. Not that this happens much these days, of course: since the system was introduced falls from height are down 30% and the firm has gone 63 weeks without one of those nasty enforcement notices.
‘The firm introduced a high-tech safety inspection protocol’
Health and Safety Awards 2005
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Best building contractor’s safety initiative