Rob Amson, SHEQ Manager, Harry Fairclough
As the person responsible for Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ) assurance at Harry Fairclough Construction, I am always looking for ways that we can improve as a business, not just in our day-to-day work but also in terms of our wider culture and working practices. Since joining the company in September 2018, I’ve been working closely with long-standing and newer team members as well as sub-contractors and wider stakeholders, to understand where we are now and how we can be even better.
In February 2019, we carried out an independent Safety Climate Survey designed by the Health & Safety Laboratory (HSL) to investigate health & safety culture across our business. We received responses from 117 people including management and clerical staff, our own operatives, and sub-contractors. The Safety Climate Tool measures our workforce’s attitudes and perceptions of health and safety and the results provide an understanding of safety culture by summarising the views and experiences of our employees and subcontractors which will enable us to focus on what really matters and make targeted improvements.
As well as multiple choice survey questions, respondents were given the opportunity to provide open-ended comments, giving us valuable insight into our strengths and weaknesses as a business as well as identifying any other specific issues raised which may not be covered elsewhere in the questionnaire. This allows us to identify key themes and areas to focus on.
Significant findings from the survey included:
- Our health & safety performance is above the HSL’s industry benchmarks in all areas and is considered to be high;
- Our subcontractors rate us highly and have a better opinion of us than we do ourselves;
- We need to get better at communicating our positive health and safety culture across the business and externally;
- The usability of our procedures is an area that we need to work on, especially removing barriers to reporting of ‘near-misses’;
- We need to continue with our core principle that our procedures, risk assessments and method statements reflect how the job is actually done and make them as practical as possible.
Overall, an appetite for more training and consultation was highlighted and this is something we are absolutely committed to as a company that is working hard to building a communications culture from within. In fact, communication and collaboration came out as being key priorities for people from across the business, as well as the need for a more inclusive and consistent approach, which is something I was appointed to address as the firm continues to grow. One of the key positives to come out of the more in-depth comments was that our workforce has a proactive attitude based around “doing the right thing” which gives us a very strong foundation on which to build an even better health and safety culture.
I am looking forward to using the survey findings to continue to build on and develop a positive, proactive, and practical health and safety culture at Harry Fairclough. Watch this space for updates on our progress…