Winner - John Spanswick


John Spanswick

John Spanswick eats, sleeps and breathes health and safety. With more than 40 years experience in the industry, John knows the realities of working on site and the dangers of bad practice. He joined Bovis straight from school and worked his way up the management structure to become chief executive of Bovis Lend Lease in the UK and Europe and then chairman of the group on 2005. He has used these roles to drive through a culture change in the company. In 2001 he was instrumental in implementing the company's incident and injury free policy. Now he has the satisfaction of knowing the policy has been so successful other contractors have followed suit.

For John the issue of safety is not confined to his own company. One particular anecdote told by a Bovis colleague gives you a measure of the man. A few years ago at one Bovis office, John noticed builders across the street from a different firm who were dismantling scaffolding and chucking parts to a vehicle below, putting members of the public at risk. Horrified, he marched over and read them the riot act - a scary experience for even the toughest of workers.

John believes health and safety is an industry-wide problem that needs a co-ordinated response. Which is why he has led the initiative for a fully qualified workforce and has taken up a series of pivotal industry roles. As chairman of the Major Contractors' Group he has campaigned for clients to demand improvements. He is also credited as the architect of the MCG's health and safety Charter published in 2005 and continues to have considerable influence as chairman of the Strategic Forum health and safety group. His knowledge and commitment have now been recognised at government level and on 1 May he was appointed to the Health and Safety Commission.

In short, John is passionate about making construction a safe place to work and it is through that passion that he has managed to carry others along with him and begin to turn the tide in an industry that has for too long had one of the worst fatality rates in the UK. By any measure that is an outstanding achievement.