Winner - Willmott Dixon
How do you get the message across to children that construction sites are dangerous places, not unofficial playgrounds? Willmott Dixon was finding it hard, especially on its King's Cross housing scheme, where a busy local community meant that there were a lot of kids around, especially during school holidays. In response to this, the housing division launched "Keep it safe", a campaign targeted at the pupils of local schools and designed to discourage them from gaining access to sites. It included visits to the school by Willmott staff to talk about dangers - and career opportunities - and participate in a prize safety quiz. The firm also donated to the local youth club, to help keep it open and provide a place for youngsters to go after school, and organised a "Graffiti Art" site hoarding design contest, which helped give kids a sense of pride and ownership, and discourage vandalism. Now if that doesn't get the message across, nothing will.
Apollo specialises in school and housing refurbishment, so it is inevitable that its work crosses paths with children going about their lives. A safety awareness campaign was therefore crucial to stop them being tempted on to the sites on their doorsteps, either at home or school. Aimed at junior schoolchildren and infants at client schools, but open to all comers, the Apollo staff created a two-part school assembly presentation that mixes lightheartedness with a serious safety message, and includes a quiz and safety poster competition. The success of the first assemblies has meant that Apollo is now repeating them in all its client schools (and footing the bill, so the schools have no excuse…)
Also shortlisted in the best housebuilder's safety initiative category, CALA says that it was so moved by the unacceptably high levels of accidents befalling children on sites that it launched a no-nonsense health and safety initiative. Called "Building Sites Bite!" and focusing specifically on the myriad potential accidents that could occur from playing on site, the campaign comprises a storyboard presentation to seven and eight year olds. The children learn of the misfortunes of a gang of kids who play on site, and take part in an art competition illustrating site hazards. Feedback has been so positive that CALA is now developing the initiative for the next age group up.
The final of the four entries looking at safety for children, Carillion's Stay Safe initiative impressed the judges with its creativity and appeal. The contractor is working on one of the largest hospitals in the UK - the Queen Alexandra in Portsmouth - and discovered that there were 29 schools in the immediate area. So it launched a "Stay Safe" website, with its cartoon seagull mascot Nelson (remember, we're in Portsmouth), plus interactive CD-ROM and booklet called "Keeping it safe with Nelson" aimed at six to eleven year olds. Carillion is finding that the excitement of using technology such as CD-ROM and the internet means that the message is getting through to the kids.
Cunningham Lindsey faced a huge task when flooding in Carlisle in January 2005 devastated 3000 homes. For work on such a massive scale, and affecting thousands of people, the maintenance contractor had to establish a public safety culture that was well above the norm. What's more, the public had to be educated as to the other dangers associated with the floods, such as the potentially disease-spreading debris littering the streets. So Cunningham Lindsey set up an office with an open-door policy, it created a risk team with a staff member and members of the public, it held public meetings in a community centre, it visited schools to deliver the health and safety messages and it set up an alliance with the local emergency services.
Health and Safety Awards 2006
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Best public safety initiative