Winner - BAA



This entrant was always going to be difficult to beat to this award. BAA has acquired a reputation as the industry's most farsighted client, as much of it was based on its attitude to health and safety, most notably at the gargantuan Heathrow T5 project. It has gone to considerable effort and expense to put in place facilities that will make its large and complex sites safer, including occupational health clinics, eye tests for safety critical workers, the best protective clothing (kevlar boots, for example), nutritious food, a free advice centre, a vigilant safety culture, and enthusiastic participation in Health and Safety Executive campaigns. What more could you ask for from a client?

Gren Tipper, head of construction safety, leads BAA’s safety drive

Gren Tipper, head of construction safety, leads BAA’s safety drive


Air Products

Air products is a £5bn engineering company with operations in 30 countries. The company has an extremely good safety record, despite operating in countries in Africa and South-east Asia that have traditionally taken a fairly relaxed view of site workers' well being.

In fact, Air Products calculates that contractors become, on average, five to 10 times more safe when they are working for it. That kind of an improvement in those kinds of countries suggests that Air Products brings its safety systems with it. This is borne out by the company's stated principle that "nothing is more important than safety, not production, not sales not profits", and everyone from the president down to the operatives really means it.

Asda Stores

This supermarket chain undertook more than 540 significantly sized projects in 2005; these were carried out with a fatality rate of zero, just like the year before and the year before that. One reason for this success is a well conceived plan rigorously implemented. All designers, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers are checked for competency. In 2004, a continuous improvement group was formed from Asda's main contractors, this has worked on improving accident reporting and analysis, has delivered toolbox talks and a better induction system and devised best practice procedures for site set up and logistics. The fruits of this labour are encouraging: despite increasing its spend on construction projects from £450m to £1bn between 2001 and 2005, the accident rate has declined by 12.8%.


Rochdale Boroughwide Housing is an Almo, or arm's length management organisation, that looks after the welfare of its supply chain and 16,000 families. RBH is a text book example of an active, concerned and knowledgeable client. It operates the usual safety systems such as toolbox talks, well thought out inductions, risk assessments and safety inspections. It does the ordinary extraordinarily well, however, thanks in part to its close partnership with the construction union. Its success is attested to by the award of five stars to it by the British Safety Council, and the CSCS' Gold Standard for 95% compliance throughout the workforce.

University of Cambridge

The university is presently engaged in its most intensive construction programme since it was founded in 1209: £540m of work is under way across its estate. Safety is built in to the tender process, and the university pays close attention to its suppliers' safety record, its safety procedures and the training of its workforce. Once work has started, a project manager from the university monitors its progress alongside a dedicated member of staff from its health and safety division. And the university has enlisted some of its formidable capacity for innovation with its "horizontal slice audit" system for monitoring compliance with the CDM regulations.