. . .

Implementing A Zero Harm Strategy – Designer Group

Derek Murphy, Head of Environmental, Health and Safety, Designer Group, writes that one thing that 2020 has shown us all is that the health, safety and wellbeing of all staff and subcontractors must be at the core of every company’s operations.

If our industry can learn just one thing in the throes of a pandemic; it is that health, safety and wellbeing will forever be the most critical topic. Never before has everything we know about how to stay safe and healthy been needed so much and by so many. That is why it was so good to see that Construction Safety Week (CSW) proved to be a storming success yet again.

As we are gold sponsors, CSW is a mainstay on the Designer Group calendar. We collaborated closely with the CIF and fellow members to provide professional support and to ensure health, safety and wellbeing topics were both meaningful and impactful.

Construction Safety Week 2020

Over CSW 2020, we gave practical demonstrations and shared invaluable knowledge, providing techniques that can be used immediately on site. Designer Group is fully committed to a ‘Zero Harm’ strategy across the business. To accomplish this, we must remain at the frontline of our industry’s health and safety obligations.

Government restrictions due to Covid-19 have presented us with many challenges this year. But, our industry loves a challenge, and it was fantastic to witness fellow members’ ideas and their related activities to support CSW and its daily themes.

Michael Stone, Group CEO, Designer Group, awards Roisin McManus and Shauna McDonnell of the HR Team prizes during Construction Safety Week 2020.

The construction industry sent a clear message that by working together, regardless of being competitors in the marketplace, our people are the most important part of everything we do, and their occupational health, safety and wellbeing are essential. There is a genuine atmosphere of pulling together to focus on the things that matter most – and 2020 has helped us to place these subjects front and centre for now and for the future.

Pandemics aside, as industry leaders, we remain committed to supporting the key CSW themes and displayed this by forming a specific Designer Group CSW committee in August. This group was tasked with devising initiatives to support daily themes. Some of the activities we undertook during CSW 2020 were:

  • Launched a company wellness and wellbeing survey
  • Held a MEWP Management and Rescue Workshop
  • Hosted safety competitions for both our employees and their families
  • Held a Hilti Dust Seminar for managers
  • Offered free health screenings by the Construction Workers Health Trust
  • Tested our emergency preparedness procedures
  • Offered free vehicle health checks to staff.

Designer Group concluded CSW by showing clear leadership commitment, with members of the senior leadership team attending sites and offices to personally reward those employees who were recognised for their outstanding occupational health and safety standards.

Designer Group’s Covid-19 Response

Construction work is considered essential, and therefore we remain open for business and operational. Now, more than ever, the industry will be under the spotlight to ensure we maintain the highest standards and effective standard operating procedures to reduce the possibility of infection in the workplace.

There have been monumental efforts and investments made to implement a range of risk-reduction measures and new standard operating procedures. We are confident that we have significantly reduced the likelihood of a spread of infection in our workplaces.

A lot of the risk-reduction methods were made possible through the work of the CIF’s Covid-19 Working Group – created by the CIF Safety, Health & Welfare sub- Committee to develop the CIF Pandemic SOP and Online Site Induction, of which Designer Group were, and remain an instrumental part.

This is not a time for complacency. There is no room for error. There must be total compliance. We will work through this, and we will see you all on the other side.