in a tough field, wrekin’s tailored training approach won over the judges
The Wrekin Housing Trust
The Wrekin Housing Trust is a social landlord responsible for 11,000 properties in Telford, Shropshire. Of its 460 staff, 150 are responsible for undertaking maintenance work on the trust’s housing, and there are a further 20 maintenance contract managers. That means 170 people to train effectively in issues such as working at height, safe scaffolding, tool maintenance and electrical safety. The trust realised that sending 170 staff on tedious classroom-based courses wasn’t going to achieve anything, so it undertook considerable research in the field to find out what sort of training would work. The result is a one-day, small-group course on a mocked-up site to show real conditions and offer staff a hands-on training experience. So what do the delegates think? Comments such as “excellent”, “most helpful” and “more of the same” convinced our judging panel that Wrekin deserved this award.
‘The result of Wrekin’s research is a one-day, small-group course on a mocked-up site to show real conditions and offer staff a hands-on training experience’
Working in partnership with Rochdale Boroughwide Housing and Cruden Construction, Bramall Construction is refurbishing 16,000 homes in Rochdale to get them up to the government’s decent homes standard. In April 2003, the partnership embarked on its Raising the Standard programme, which aims to create an accident-free working environment and ensure all workers are fully trained in health and safety. It also deals with the risk of asbestos, which is a real threat in refurbishment of social housing. The partnership has implemented a programme of actions that include investing in an asbestos management database holding survey and sample results, and a plan of action in the case of discovering asbestos. A tricky problem, carefully and thoughtfully dealt with, thought our judging panel.
‘A tricky problem, carefully dealt with, thought our judges’
This joint-venture partnership with Islington council, set up to undertake building maintenance and cleaning, has implemented a raft of initiatives to secure the safety of its workers – and its place on this shortlist. Along with awareness posters, toolbox talks and courses, Caxton Islington organised its own safety week (to coincide with European safety week) in partnership with Homes for Islington. This involved special events such as subject-specific seminars, safety kit bags for all operatives, and local schoolchildren being invited in for safety themed videos and quizzes. But it’s not all fun and games at Caxton Islington; it has also launched some very seriously effective schemes such as open forums, a mobile safety centre that visits remote sites, increased inspections, asbestos awareness training … the list goes on.
‘Caxton Islington organised its own safety week’
Kier Building Maintenance
Kier Building Maintenance has adopted the HSE’s Working Well Together four-pronged approach to health and safety management on its sites, consisting of the beautifully alliterated, easy-to-remember four Cs: co-operation, communication, competency and commitment. Co-operation means that everybody is on board, and health and safety representatives have been elected to ensure this buy-in. Communication involves a quarterly Safety Matters newsletter and quarterly award for employee performance. Competency ensures all subcontractors are formally approved after a rigorous assessment, and commitment refers not just to the personal attitudes of workers but also to how this is demonstrated, with tenant forums and events taking the issue into the community. What it all adds up to is an injury frequency rate that halved over 2003.
‘The policy is built around the HSE’s four Cs: co-operation, communication, competency and commitment’
Having assessed its accident and incident rates for 2003, Middlesex-based maintenance contractor Lorne Stewart found that a large number of minor accidents could have been prevented had modern personal protective equipment (or PPE) been worn. So it launched a campaign to address the issue, which included reviewing all its toolbox talks to include PPE, raising awareness with a poster campaign and holding safety trials to compare new and old equipment. The trials were the real revelation, with initial feedback over new mandatory PPE being largely negative. However, this soon gave way to positive comments as workers adapted to the equipment and found themselves less at risk. Now all workers are equipped with the items that were deemed to be most satisfactory at those trials.
‘It held safety trials to compare new and old equipment’
After 10 years of working with various trusts to maintain their housing, Surrey-based Wealden Services decided it was time to update its risk assessment programme. The firm brought in an external health and safety consultant and together they came up with a risk assessment and site safety booklet to be issued to operatives in all divisions. It is split in four sections: the first contains health and safety requirements for all work sites; the second offers guidance on specific issues such as working at height or working with dangerous substances; and the third holds instructions on completing the safety section of the specific job ticket. Finally there is a section that can be updated to include advice on any new safety systems. A simple and effective way of ensuring that everybody knows what they should be doing.
‘The firm decided it was time to update its risk assessment’
Health and Safety Awards 2005
- Currently reading
Best maintenance contractor’s safety initiative