Winner - Kier Islington
Let's face it being an all-year-round problem, health and safety on site has an unfortunate habit of getting forgotten about as people slip into old, bad habits. So Kier Islington, a joint venture between Kier and arm's length management organisation Homes for Islington to maintain and clean the north London district's social housing, decided to hold a special Health and Safety Week to focus minds on the issue. Held to coincide with the European Health and Safety Week, Kier Islington's programme of events included a series of training workshops on such issues as vibration, noise and body protection, a health and safety prize quiz, occupational health checks, the launch of compulsory IOSH courses for managers, and an afternoon with local schoolchildren. The annual week has been held twice now, and to great acclaim from the employees and kids alike.
When it comes to housing maintenance and repair, it's not just about the safety of the workforce but also that of the residents of the homes being maintained and the public at large - after all, they haven't been on company health and safety training courses … With this in mind, Bramall Construction implemented the employment of resident liaison officers to ensure that everybody was kept informed, and required all workers to carry ID cards that also advertise the firm's language helpline number for non-English speaking residents. Bramall also launched a "Stop!! If in doubt, keep them out" poster campaign to ensure residents weren't opening up their homes to bogus workers. The firm is also working with local schoolchildren - and that's before we've even mentioned its great employee safety training policy …
This Middlesex maintenance contractor has quite rightly pointed out that it's no good people just carrying competence cards - of course, it's important, but it doesn't necessarily bear any relation to the current knowledge and competence of the card-holder. What is needed, says Clancy Docwra, is a cycle of training and testing that ensures staff are always up to scratch with their health and safety practices. So it designed a rolling programme of toolbox talks and questionnaires - a sort of 10-question pop quiz to check the delegate has been paying attention. The firm says that, coupled with its near-miss reporting campaign, the scheme is providing new insights into improving safety on site.
Kier Building Maintenance London
KBM London has taken something of a three-pronged approach to improving health and safety across its businesses. There's the quarterly Health and Safety Forum, which is made up of local and senior management and is striving to achieve cultural change. Then there is the "Don't Walk By" campaign, which has resulted in more than 200 hazards being reported and helped towards the firm's lowest ever accident rate. And finally there is the establishment of a Customer Forum, which works with residents and the public to ensure that KBM's work never causes any harm to anybody. A highly successful triple-whammy.
A little-publicised but serious problem for maintenance contractors is the risk that they might be putting themselves at when responding to a call-out on their own. Linbrook realised it needed to address this when one of its operators was attacked and two others narrowly escaped the same fate. The clients' current risk registers, warning Linbrook of previously troublesome residents, were proving insufficient as they didn't identify potentially aggressive residents not on the list. So Linbrook implemented two-person visits so workers don't go out alone if possible, a buddy system so that somebody always knows where a lone worker is, and "Sharp End" training to help its workers in those situations, by teaching them attack prevention techniques and communication skills.
Health and Safety Awards 2006
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Best maintenance contractor's safety initiative