For the past 7 years we have put out calls for good practice from the industry and the main response has been work that has been generated from a head office environment. As an ex-site dweller I always suspected that if we scratched the surface we would find a raft of good practice on sites across the country that was not being shouted about. So scratch we did, and overwhelmed we were. Due to contractual constraints we are unable at the moment to talk about some of the great work we have seen being carried out on some of our partner projects so we set off to a local site to find out what best practice we could see being carried out more generally. The results were impressive.
Not only did Paul Cunningham, the Health and Safety Co-ordinator on the job take the time to induct us and show us around, but Frank Joyce, the Project Director, was kind enough to give us an overview of the job itself.
The site was an example of what I would now expect to see in a job of that size – including turnstiles, up-to-date health and safety practice and good welfare facilities. The impressive bit was the attention to detail – the thought that had gone into the decisions made and the people involved in making them. That’s what will make a difference to not only the experience of people on-site, but also productivity and the bottom line.
We have selected our top three favourite best practice examples from the site; these are things that not only affect Health and Safety but fairness, inclusion and respect as well.
“Scrap ‘near miss’; it’s ‘hazard recognition’” – The site has changed the terminology of near misses to hazard recognition which may feel like a small, and perhaps insignificant, point but I would argue it’s quite the opposite. ‘Near miss’ holds connotations of blame – ”someone near missed”, and by reporting it you are either owning up or ‘ratting out’ which is not an appealing proposition, whichever way you look at it. ‘Hazard recognition’ takes on an entirely different tone; it suggests the person recognising the hazard has done something of use, possessed enough skill to recognise the problem and been positive in their action. Whilst this best practice is aimed at health and safety, we would say that the behavioural implication of the words has a vast impact on individuals feeling ok to report challenges in their environment in a way that makes them feel respected. ISG also put up free-to-use anonymous hazard recognition report sheets.
Green, Amber and Red – The use of yellow and red cards is not new in the sector; we also advise them for use when challenging negative behaviour. Where ISG have taken this a step forward is the introduction of a green card to reward positive action from site staff. If you get a green card, your name goes into a hat and every month the winner gets £50 to spend on health and safety equipment. This positive recognition again takes a step away from the historic idea that health and safety is something that you do wrong and starts to show the real benefit of it as something that’s done right. We feel that the approach to fairness inclusion and respect should start here learning the valuable lessons from past work in the sector.
NI Numbers to check ‘right to work’ – Gang–mastering is a problem across the sector, and knowing who has a right to work can be problematic. In order to ensure people are not taken advantage of we need to address this as a matter of urgency. ISG have done started down this path by collecting the NI numbers of people working on site, this allows them to match up to their CSCS cards and ensure they are registered to work.
These small elements of work build up to a bigger picture of the industry, it’s this style of thinking and these types of changes to working practice that will enable us as a sector to attract and retain the talent we need.
Our thanks again to ISG for letting us have a look around.
If you would like Constructing Equality to visit your site to see the best practice work you are carrying out, let us know or send over your own case study.