Winner - May Gurney
It is May Gurney's stated aim to turn everybody in its workforce totally MAD. However, you'll be glad to hear that in this case MAD refers to the company's safety initiative "Making a Difference" - a behavioural and cultural change campaign that aims to bring the firm's accident frequency rate down to 0.25 by 2008. The idea behind the initiative is that conscious and unconscious patterns of poor behaviour can be changed by repeatedly learning the correct patterns - a sort of psychological reprogramming for site safety, if you will. In fact, May Gurney reckons the programme has turned its workforce into a bunch of armchair psychologists, and that it is affecting how they behave at home and in the wider world, as well as on site. What's more, May Gurney's building division has reported an accident rate of zero since the initiative started. Not so much mad, as very sensible.
Like the winners of this category, Mansell decided to tackle the behavioural aspect of health and safety on site, and drafted in chartered psychologists The Keil Centre to help them do this. Having assessed about one-third of Mansell's workforce using its Safety Culture Maturity model through a series of workshops, The Keil Centre identified the areas within each sector where some kind of "behavioural intervention" was required, and tailor-made a system of "improvement actions" to ensure that this was carried out. The company is currently implementing this action plan and is hoping that its results will have wider implications for this approach for the whole industry.
Having had a rough year in 2003, infrastructure and tunnelling specialist Morgan Est launched what it called its "Safety Excellence Standards" in 2004. Its old method of scoring sites for safety and rewarding the winning site management had lost its freshness, which meant some workers focused more on winning than improving safety causing problems when comparing straightforward sites to high-risk ones. So the firm decided to make each site compete with its own standards, beating targets it had already met, to instill a culture of continuous improvement. The scheme has been met with great enthusiasm and motivation - and 2005 was Morgan Est's safest year yet.
Prater found it had a particular problem - after carrying out a thorough site safety audit it discovered that the level of minor eye and hand injuries was higher than it should be. Concerned about this, the Surrey-based contractor introduced mandatory eye and hand protection at all times and on all sites. Of course, there were grumbles about this to start with, and when the company supplied its workers with standard goggles, some didn't want to wear them on the grounds they were uncomfortable and unfashionable. But eventually buy-in was achieved when Bolle eyewear was specified and a range of gloves supplied for all types of work. Since the rule was brought in, eye protection has saved at least one worker from very serious injury and probably many more…
The second shortlisted firm in this category to focus on eye protection, Warings Construction's health and safety committee introduced its "Look Safe - See Your Future" initiative in early 2005. First it drafted a company eye protection policy, pledging the commitment of the board to implementing a compulsory eye protection rule and forming an alliance with specialist eyewear firm Bolle. Then it rolled out the initiative - which one site manager says "has definitely had a positive impact" and one subcontractor said was "a bit of an imposition at first, but its impact is clear as there have definitely been fewer eye injuries". That subbie is right - eye injuries on Warings' sites fell 37.5% by the end of the calendar year.
Health and Safety Awards 2006
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Best building contractor's safety initiative