Winner - David Wilson Homes
David Wilson Homes
This award is about recognising not just excellence, but also improvement - and this housebuilder beat the rest hands down on that front. In July 2003, having been hit by a large number of enforcement notices, David Wilson Homes recognised that something was wrong and faced up to the problem. The firm implemented a shake-up of its health and safety policies and launched a high-tech safety inspection system, the Personal Digital Assistant Monitor. This uses handheld computers to send safety reports and photographs to the company's mainframe computer, which automatically notifies the construction directors if the inspection score falls below a certain target. The impressive result has been a 31% reduction in falls from height and 63 weeks without an enforcement notice from the HSE.
It's all very well having the management commit to best-practice health and safety, but it's no good if the workers on the site aren't getting the message. That's what Northern Irish housebuilder Braidwater found - and it set about trying to change the on-site culture for the better. Using one scheme - the remediation and refurbishment of a former timber yard - as a pilot, Braidwater introduced a slew of initiatives from a scaffolding management system and handheld PCs with bespoke software for reporting safety data through to site induction and machinery service stickers and free skin barrier cream for workers. Average audit scores are up from 60 to 80% and the pilot is being rolled out across the UK as we speak.
CALA's "Above and Beyond" initiative does what it says on the tin - not just reaching required legal standards, this Scottish firm seeks to do even more to improve health and safety on its sites. So far, a range of innovations have come under the "Above and Beyond" banner, including an access stairwell that reduces the need for ladders by 97%, cameras to improve visibility on forklift trucks, skin hygiene packs, weatherproof fire safety kits, high-visibility manhole covers and air-vented hard hats. All of which are well above legal requirements, and all of which are making a big difference across CALA Homes' sites.
When Haslam undertook a study of its accident data, it realised that the majority of injuries were occurring through unsafe acts rather than unsafe conditions - that is, it's possible to make a construction site a safe place if the rules are followed by the workers on that site. So it set up a cultural change policy, starting off with a series of peer group reviews from boardroom to subcontractor level, and then developing a programme of cultural behaviour workshops targeted at each level. To measure its success, Haslam has now implemented a site inspection reward scheme and improvement plans to make sure the site behaviour just keeps getting better.
This Kent-based housebuilder impressed our judging panel with the sheer comprehensiveness of its approach to health and safety. No stone, it seems, has been left unturned in the effort to improve working practices at all levels - and every single person in the company has responsibility for the safety of themselves, their colleagues, their customers and the public at large. From chief executive Philip Davies and trickling down to site staff and external subcontractors, the culture has been instilled with meetings, briefings, workshops, use of external consultants, safety charters, forums - you name it. And now they're moving into modern methods of construction to improve things even more …
As well as instilling cultural change, addressing specific problems is also crucial, and Lovell had a very specific problem to address. After a subcontractor worker had to move a temporary rail and didn't immediately replace it, causing a colleague to fall down a stairwell opening and break his leg, the company decided to develop its own stairwell opening protection system. A manufacturer was brought in and a prototype created, based around an aluminium bracket that can hold a handrail in place but enables it to be easily removed and replaced. Currently being tested in the East Anglia region, the system is getting great feedback from all the sites trying it out.
Health and Safety Awards 2006
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Best housebuilder's safety initiative