Aim: Our Solution
To deliver outstanding health and safety services by engaging and listening to our Client and partners needs and expectations and recommending simple sensible proportionate risk management solutions.
Objective: The Clients Request
To enable compliance with health and safety law and protect persons at work including persons who may be affected by the activities.
Safety Support Consultants (SSC) were appointed by Purple Apple Management to assist the Principle Designer and the Client to fulfil their legal health and safety obligations as duty holders to comply with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 during the new build development of 198 bedroom hotel and conference centre with bars, restaurants, gym and the refurbishment of a local public house into a wine bar and restaurant. The purpose was to ensure compliance with health and safety law and protect persons at work including persons who may be affected by the activities. In order to maintain compliance SSC carry out fortnightly support visits and health and safety audit inspections, which include the involvement of representatives from both the Client and the Principle Contractor with the aim to identify good practice and highlight areas which require further improvement or immediate action. The findings which include recommendations of corrective action are communicated to the site management team both verbally and in a health and safety inspection audit report format. We seek to build strong relationships with both site personnel and the management team by actively engaging in health, safety and environmental discussions to influence positive change in unsafe behaviour and unsafe conditions and highlight areas of good practice.
In previous times, very few Clients would seek the assistance from independent health and safety consultants to provide them with health and safety advice, guidance and support whilst they have a Principal Contractor (PC). We all know that balancing the risk between our legal, moral and financial obligations can be difficult, particularly when health and safety is becoming more and more onerous on the Client, especially with language becoming harder to interpret and apply in practice. Many more Clients are seeking the services of health and safety consultants as they realise, they have a considerable influence over the way in which the works are carried out. Clients want assurance that they are receiving impartial advice, guidance and support by a third party providing a new perspective.
Our aim was to embed ourselves within the project management team from the outset using our friendly but professional approach towards health and safety to assist the management team. Our consultants use their expert health and safety experience, knowledge and skills to apply sensible but proportionate risk management solutions whilst also providing advice, guidance and support. We use simple, tried and tested methods to engage with managers and operatives on site and aim to influence change in unsafe behaviours and promote safe behaviour to develop new understanding of safer working practices and the benefits of working safely to improve the standards of health, safety and wellbeing. Naturally, this is a learning journey and can only be achieved as a collaboration between all parties using data such as site safety inspections and audit reports which are fundamental in ensuring site safety and risk reduction measures are monitored, implemented and reviewed. We use state of the art technologies to track health and safety compliance and identify trends to eliminate and reduce accidents, incidents and near-misses.
Since we were appointed, we were faced with a considerable amount of hostility making it difficult to carry out our duties at times, particularly when gathering and checking health and safety information to ensure compliance. We believe the hostility was due a lack of understanding from other Consultants who may have felt we were identifying health and safety concerns and gaps which may have a negative impact. When we arrived on site, we immediately recognised that there were gaps in the recording and keeping up to date with the health and safety management of documentation. We communicated our findings and recommendations both verbally and in a report format to our Client, Principle Contractor and their health and safety advisors who agreed with our findings and facilitated the updates to maintain compliance. There have been numerous safety concerns identified and actioned some of which may have gone unnoticed without our intervention and all had the potential to cause harm or attract the attention of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). One of which was the temporary emergency lighting within the building which had no evidence of certification or maintenance. If this were to go undetected, in a fire emergency this had the potential to be catastrophic as many of the corridors and stairs cases had no borrowed light so safe escape would become practically impossible. Another incident which went unnoticed before our arrival was plant and machinery being operated within the basement without the use of adequate ventilation and extraction to extract the potentially hazardous fumes and provide clean air. Again, if left undetected there was a serious risk of being overcome by noxious fumes with the potential of asphyxiation. We also had a case in which there was some confusion over the definition of a confined space within a riser cupboard and establishing a safe method of working at height whilst carrying out pipework’s. Again, we assisted and provided sensible and practicable advice and guidance to the management and safety team to enable the works to continue safely with minimal disruption. Naturally, our primary focus is to build sustainable relationships with our partners to ensure the safety, health, and wellbeing of persons on site and communicate our findings and recommendations to the Project Manager and our Client to maintain site safety and compliance. Although, the initial situation was challenging, with the support and assistance from our Client and the management team our recommendations of corrective actions were taken seriously and actioned out which ultimately has made the site safer. Our Client has noticed a considerable improvement in health and safety performance leading to a significant reduction in unsafe acts and unsafe conditions on site and this has been reflected in the site health and safety performance scores. In order to overcome the challenges we faced, we applied the basic principles of health and safety management which we believe to be the 4 Cs; communication, co-operation, consultation and co-ordination, to engage, influence, challenge and raise awareness to improve health and safety performance and ensure compliance.