BAA triumphed again in this union square software-sponsored category
With a peak workforce of 6000 on the site, and a total of 60,000 people likely to work on it at some point in its construction, Heathrow Terminal 5 is one of Europe’s largest construction projects. And from the outset, BAA has striven to provide superb occupational health facilities as part of its “caring for people” philosophy. In a dedicated centre provided by specialist company Duradiamond, the nine-strong occupational health team has been offering a proactive, rather than menu-driven, service, including health inspections and regular toolbox talks for operatives – and it is all freely available to everybody on site. The team has done 7000 medicals so far and identified 13% of workers as having previously undiagnosed conditions, making it a crucial service in a macho, “I don’t need no doctor” culture. The team is actively trying to prevent work-related illnesses, too, working with the project team to actually design out problem activities and design in ways of using equipment more safely and easily.
‘The team has done 7000 medicals so far and identified 13% of workers as having previously undiagnosed conditions, making it a crucial service in a macho culture’
Bovis Lend Lease
Having been impressed by the success of its occupational health initiative on the Scottish parliament project, the Scottish Executive phoned Bovis Lend Lease and asked if it would like to pilot its Healthy Working Lives initiative on the £75m BBC headquarters project in Glasgow. As Bovis says, it was “more than happy to oblige”. In a scheme jointly funded by the contractor and the executive, Bovis has set up a site medical centre with a qualified occupational health practitioner, who assesses workers’ health needs through questionnaires, monitors the general health of that workforce, works to prevent accidents and illnesses on site, and is on hand in case anything does happen. The Scottish Executive is pleased as punch with the scheme so far, and is planning on rolling it out across Scotland’s construction sites.
‘The Scottish Executive is pleased as punch with the scheme so far and is planning to roll it out across Scotland’
Another BBC development – the redevelopment of Broadcasting House in central London – has made use of the logistics expertise of Clipfine. Here, Clipfine’s dedicated nurse Janet Rose realised that she could take on a role beyond the application of first-aid and actually improve the wellbeing of the 1000-odd workers on the project. As well as the essential medical screenings, such as blood pressure monitoring, and raising awareness on issues such as diabetes, Janet has taken a creative approach to data display. She shows the workforce its injury and illness statistics using a model of a worker, with up-to-date information showing how many hand injuries have occurred on site tagged onto its hand, for example. This way, she discovered, people actually stop to read it, raising awareness and hopefully stopping it happening again.
‘Clipfine’s nurse is improving the wellbeing of its workers’
Constructing Better Health
This finalist isn’t a contractor with a great scheme in place, or a client that insists on full health facilities on its schemes, it is actually an occupational health initiative in its own right. Constructing Better Health has been created through the collaboration of industry bodies, including the Federation of Master Builders, the Construction Confederation, CITB-ConstructionSkills and various unions. It is a programme that aims to support the entire industry and is currently being piloted in Leicestershire. Constructing Better Health’s varied services include a mobile screening unit staffed by an occupational health nurse and physician, toolbox talks providing site briefings on health-related issues and a website and helpline offering occupational health and safety advice to anybody in the industry living or working in Leicestershire. With the success of the pilot, it is hoped that a national scheme will soon be introduced.
‘The programme aims to support the entire industry’
Vibration white finger is the most common form of hard-arm vibration syndrome – and is the most common cause of occupational ill-health claims against employers. Despite this there are no legal requirements to control exposure to vibration. Kier Sheffield recognised that this was an area in which it could significantly help its 512 operatives who work with hand-held vibration tools. It launched an initiative to monitor those workers carefully, and identified that 34% of operatives were suffering possible symptoms. These workers were immediately assessed by a medical practitioner and any recommendations implemented, and the remaining 66% of operatives monitored annually. Kier is sure that this, in conjunction with improved training and awareness, will significantly reduce the incident rate of hand-arm vibration syndrome.
‘Exposure to vibration was an area in which it could help’
Taylor Woodrow has the right idea: it doesn’t let problems develop and fester – its approach to occupational health is founded on prevention and awareness. All new employees are assessed and, depending on their proposed activity, medically screened to establish suitability and identify possible health risks.
To help with this, a job matrix has been created to show what risks are inherent to a role and what surveillance is required to protect the person in that role. Taywood has made all its occupational health resources available to the entire supply chain, including all its free training. This has resulted in a reduction in sickness absence of to 2.8 days per person per year (the industry average being 5.8) and it has also boosted staff morale and productivity.
‘Its approach is founded on prevention and awareness’
Health and Safety Awards 2005
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Best occupational health initiative