We first began our work to revise our approach to health and safety in 2019 and there is no doubt that those three little words – health and safety – have increased resonance at the moment. As we launch our ‘Doing It Right’ initiative, everyone has heightened awareness of behaving in the right way to ensure their safety and wellbeing, as well as others around them, whether they work in construction or not. It was the behaviours of our workforce where we started our focus because we understand that that industry incidents are more likely to be caused by improper conduct rather than a lack of knowledge or skills. Even the seemingly harmless action of walking past a very unlikely prospective incident – perhaps one small barrier has been blown over by the wind – is actually detrimental behaviour. Any ‘walk by’ of a potential accident can easily become a reason why an actual accident occurred.
Even though Winvic’s health and safety record was already outstanding, ongoing excellence was our driver at the start of this year and we started to undertake a vast programme of consultation and learning, from the bottom up, with the aim of effecting transformed behavioural thinking and behind-the-scenes methodology. A key working group was formed comprising people at every level within Winvic, visits to many different sites took place and countless interviews with staff and subcontractors were undertaken to allow us to authenticate motives for behaviours.
We learned that our health and safety technical processes and training are viewed as excellent, our inclusive ‘one team’ approach to relationships is both valued and valuable, and the collective belief in ‘The Winvic Way’ sets us apart from other main contractors. Nevertheless, findings also revealed that together we could do more; resetting the bar for consistent health and safety behavioural standards across the entire business – which naturally includes every contractor, not just our employees – would build on the solid platform of our past to ensure a safe and successful future.
The result of our review is not a fanfare launch of new health and safety processes, nor is it a new dictate to our supply chain and staff, but instead it can be seen as a renewed pledge by every person to simply do the right thing. The commitment by all is to offer support to each other, hold ourselves and each other to account and always be mindful of complacency. We have carefully looked at what the company can do to make it as easy as possible for everyone to do the right thing, and fresh mechanisms have been put into place as well as three pillars of safety excellence designed to encourage and facilitate a robust duty of care.
- Minimum standards are clear, consistent across sites and uniform for staff and contractors, and our induction documents and videos have been refreshed in line with this aim.
- Motivation is crucial so we now have an effortless app for our workforce to report potential issues, questionable behaviour and importantly the very best safety practices. Public recognition of good safety conduct is just as important as the unfortunate but very real consequences that will result from poor safety behaviour.
- Measurement of outcomes must be undertaken to steer the company and its people down the correct path, and it is technologies, data and contributions from our industry professionals that will together create an insightful health and safety journey.
From all contractors holding the correct CSCS card or equivalent to workers wearing the appropriate PPE for the job in hand, from everyone owning the knowledge and awareness of hazards to observing and reporting even the smallest discrepancy, Winvic’s ‘Doing It Right’ initiative leaves no stone unturned. This means we also embrace the magnitude of people’s mental health, wellbeing and personal condition of health – including the continued coronavirus threat.
As a company, we feel our health and safety responsibilities should extend far and wide, so whether it’s the regular health checks undertaken by nurses, our Mental Health and Wellbeing Programme or additional training being given on adhering to the current safe social distancing working practices, we are doing the right thing for everyone in our offices and on our sites. We are particularly proud of ensuring all staff and contractors are given one hour of mental health awareness training to give them access to strategies to manage the demands of everyday life. Everyday life is more demanding than ever right now and feeling safe seems to carry more weight so we are grateful to each of our team members – employees and contractors – for pledging to support our ‘Doing It Right’ initiative.
By teaching our workforce to create different behaviours in themselves and, crucially, to act as a conscience to others we will continue to enhance our safety-first focus. We want to reset the bar for health and safety behavioural standards across the entire business, building on the solid platform of the past, to ensure a safe and successful future.
Dave Ward, Managing Director