Mott McDonald Health and Safety site visit

Oak Park Leisure Centre Health and Safety Site Visit

On Wednesday 25th November a group of young professionals (apprentices and graduates) from Mott MacDonald attended a site visit to Oak Park Leisure centre with a presentation given by David Barber (Project HSQE Advisor) on his role, and Health and Safety in construction as part of Health and Safety week at the Birmingham office. The project is half way through the construction phase with project completion estimated at May 2016. Many important aspects of health and safety and project delivery of the Oak Park Leisure Centre were brought to our attention during the site visit. The contractor, ISG, outlined their increased responsibility of their role as Principal designer in this design and build contract. The key information that Mott MacDonald’s young professionals gained included:

Omitting risk through design:
Health and safety should be considered at a design stage. A lot of the risks that could potentially cause health and safety issues during constructions can be omitted or reduced with careful and considerate construction planning and design. Eg: designing a structure such that a limited number of crane lifts are required minimising risks involved and reducing corresponding health and safety issues.

Omitting risk from the lifecycle of the project:
From the site visit and presentation it was evident that ISG have a holistic approach to health and safety throughout the lifecycle of the structure.  Key aspects included; considering constructability, what risks can be designed out to minimise delays preventing accidents and injuries on site; what they can do in design to facilitate maintenance throughout the lifespan of the project, such as how easily operatives can access various areas of the buildings; to eventually how it can be safely demolished and disposed of at the end of its working life.

Zero tolerance approach to breaches in the health and safety policy:
While on site, the presentation given explained several ways that health and safety is taken into consideration while on site and how the enforcers/advisors must be vigilant and firm to ensure that everyone is following procedure. Health & Safety on the Oak Park Leisure Centre site is taken very seriously. This is in order to prevent accidents at work which could injure an employee or member of the public, and impact the company’s reputation.

Awareness and education of hazards and precautions:
As an engineer that spends most of the time in the office the same health and safety precautions are repeated over and over again. However participating in this health and safety site visit opened up a new world of hazards and precautions, and how health and safety enforcers/advisors deal with them. It was also outlined that we carry out risk assessments without even realising on a day to day basis, not just on site. When we are about to act in a certain situation, we think about the risks that are present, evaluate the problem and act accordingly to ensure we keep ourselves safe.

Occupational health of site workers:
For occupational health of site workers it is important to have control measures, procedures and support systems in place so that site workers are monitored, and kept safe at all times.
Examples include;

  • Encouraging younger site workers who follow bad examples of older workers to wear correct PPE and work safely to ensure they have a healthy lifestyle and do not put themselves at risk in the future – wearing dust masks when cutting wood etc. This can be co-ordinated via training or holding special events/campaigns to increase awareness and educate the workforce.
  • Providing training and support for workers suffering with ‘out of work issues’ that could cause them to come to work distracted and put themselves and others at potential risk – This can be done by simply talking to site workers and gauging their happiness as well as offering confidential support systems.

Encouraging good practice
ISG proactively encourage good practice with respect to health and safety on site. A current initiative is the use of a scoring system that rates each subcontractor on their health and safety adherence. The subcontractor with the most points wins a prize fund to be spent on PPE of their choice. This can also be adopted within the office environment.

Importance of near miss & accident reporting:
It is important to report all near misses and accidents no matter how small, data can prove vital to finding trends and patterns which could potentially show a gap in within a Risk Assessment & Method Statement document (RAMS) or even show that certain parties are not working to stated requirements within their RAMS document. If the latter is the case, and then they are not legally following their health and safety responsibilities for their works, which would need to be reported and addressed to stop further injuries.