John Hanley is operations director in charge of health and safety at construction manager Mace. He says the company is consistently 30-40% below the national average for reportable incidents and has never been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive.
Hanley says: “We base our health and safety policies on the Egan principle of ‘if you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it’.”
He adds: “Too many companies rush to put things right after an incident and never go back to find the root cause of the problem.” Health and safety should be fully integrated into a company’s day-to-day procedures, he says.
Hanley says Mace sets high standards for all its subcontractors. However, it is aware that many do not have the resources to employ a full health and safety team and offers specialists help in achieving those standards.
Super-client BAA claims it has gone a long way to improve worker safety among the firms it employs.
Group technical director Mike Roberts is one of the key members of the BAA team that decides which companies get a piece of its £470m-a-year pie. And a contractor’s health and safety policy is one of the factors that will decide whether or not it will qualify.
Roberts also sits on the Movement for Innovation’s Respect for People working group and chairs its site welfare sub-committee. The sub-committee has just introduced a scorecard system for contractors and specialists based on a model Roberts has been using for some time with BAA suppliers.
The scorecard is a good example of the “improvement by measurement” process mentioned by Mace’s Hanley. Measurement covers pre-planning, logistics, standard of the working environment, accommodation facilities and the maintenance, rather than just the provision, of first-aid facilities.
All contractors and subcontractors are expected to record and display their performance in these areas and face external audits.
Roberts says: “What appals me is when I hear a supplier say that he got a job because he could start the next day. Pre-planning is the most important phase of any project. If companies just slowed down at the start of a new project, they would find they save both time and money in the long run.”
Contractor HBG also boasts a forward-looking health and safety philosophy. Technical services director Richard Hare-Winton explains: “Over the years, the industry has had a macho image attached to it. We’re trying to change that.”
The company has begun to roll out two schemes across all its operations. The first of these is PHASE (Positive Health and Safety Evaluation). This is a computer-based health and safety audit system. Each month, a different site is assessed on whether it is achieving its own health and safety goals.
HBG’s second initiative is WASP (Work Activity Safety Plan). WASP forces subcontractors to target some area of its health and safety procedures for improvement.
The company now wants each new contract to adopt the two schemes.