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Jacobs’ Safety Symposium Spotlights Strategies to Enhance Safety in Construction Supply Chain

Jacobs Safety Symposium

Speakers at the Jacobs Safety Symposium: (L to r: Matt Cooper (MC); Catriona Schmolke, SVP Global Head of HSE, Jacobs; Dr Sharon McGuinness, CEO, HSA; Steve Hails, Director, Business Services & HSW, Tideway; Micheál O’Connor, Vice President and General Manager, Jacobs Ireland; and Tom Parsons, ‘Beyond Zero®’ Culture Manager Europe, Jacobs.

Jacobs Safety Symposium
Micheál O’Connor, Vice President and General Manager, Jacobs.

The inaugural Jacobs Safety Symposium at the Aviva Stadium on Thursday, 27 February brought together many of the leading figures in the Irish construction industry.

The Symposium heard that a collective and consistent approach is critical to driving safety excellence across the industry. With 150,000 people working in construction in Ireland and the sector experiencing annual growth of 10%, a sustainable safety culture is critical to keeping people safe. The supply chain’s complexity and increased tiering means making sure all partners – from major contractors to sole traders – adopt a consistent safety approach to safely and efficiently deliver projects.

Speakers

Featuring presentations and panel discussions from leading experts, including Dr Sharon McGuinness, CEO, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA); Catriona Schmolke, Jacobs Senior Vice President and Jacobs Global Head of Safety; and Tom Parsons, Jacobs Culture Manager Europe, whose contributions spotlighted the need for collective responsibility and a collaborative approach to driving safety excellence across the industry, as well as the far-reaching benefits of a sustainable safety culture.

A Robust Safety Culture

Speaking at the Safety Symposium, Micheál O’Connor, Vice President and General Manager, Jacobs, said: “Fostering a robust safety culture throughout the construction supply chain is fundamental to our collective success. Safety is the right way to execute work, not an add-on for consideration. At Jacobs, through our BeyondZero culture of caring, we are committed to driving safety excellence within and beyond our organisation.

“Our people – at every level of our business and across every function – are empowered to be accountable for their actions when it comes to health and safety, and the result is a win-win for colleagues and clients alike. This Safety Symposium marks another important milestone in our ambition to elevate our industry’s safety standards and reap the benefits that come with a commitment to keeping people safe.”

“Our people – at every level of our business and across every function – are empowered to be accountable for their actions when it comes to health and safety, and the result is a win-win for colleagues and clients alike. This Safety Symposium marks another important milestone in our ambition to elevate our industry’s safety standards and reap the benefits that come with a commitment to keeping people safe.”

Jacobs Safety Symposium
Dr Sharon McGuinness speaking at the Jacobs Safety Symposium.

No Room for Complacency

Dr Sharon McGuinness said, “Bringing together everyone in the business of construction is a positive way for all stakeholders to collaborate and make the sector safer for all, and I very much welcome Jacobs showing leadership on this critical issue for the industry.

“Construction workplace deaths more than doubled last year from five to 12, and there really is no room for complacency. Having a strong safety culture in an organisation is vital, and the leaders in the sector must drive and promote good health and safety practice.”

Dr McGuinness pointed out that muscular skeletal injuries are the most prominent injuries in the sector and that a lot workers get up at 5AM to drive long distances to work before, in many cases, operating heavy machinery.

“Companies need to aware of all the risks involved on their sites and carry out risk assessments to address all of these risks,” she said.

Themes

Themes discussed at the Safety Symposium included:

  • The role leadership plays in driving a sustainable safety culture
  • How industry stakeholders can work together to pursue excellence in safety
  • How workplace culture can act as a catalyst for safety excellence, with people empowered to speak up without reprise
  • The need for workplace safety culture to support people’s well-being and mental health
  • The benefits that a shared focus on safety can deliver for all stakeholders.