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Pulling Together For Safety – John Sisk and Son

Sisk 2030 Sustainability Vision
Wayne Metcalfe, Director, Health, Safety, Sustainability & Quality, John Sisk & Son.

Wayne Metcalfe, Director, Health, Safety, Sustainability & Quality, John Sisk & Son Ltd, writes about how Sisk teams and suppliers across Europe pulled together for safety during Construction Safety Week 2020.


Construction Safety Week 2020 was an excellent opportunity to reflect upon aspects of health and safety, and overall wellbeing, as well as promoting its importance throughout our industry.

‘Care’, ‘Integrity’ and ‘Excellence’

At John Sisk & Son, we are guided by our values of ‘Care’, ‘Integrity’ and ‘Excellence’ We take care of ourselves, the people we work with, and the environments and the communities in which we work. As a main sponsor of Construction Safety Week 2020, we set our health and safety teams the challenge of coming up with safety demonstrations that would engage our site teams, and the response was fantastic.

Over 60 Sisk projects across all sectors in Ireland and Europe participated, including Prague, Czech Republic; Haarlem, the Netherlands; and sites in Malmo and Lulea in Sweden.

Sisk Construction Safety Week 2020

Day One: Mental Health, Welfare And Wellbeing In Construction

On day one of Construction Safety Week, at Project Kells in Dublin city centre, the Sisk team collaborated with mental health charity Aware. Drew Flood from Aware spoke to the site team and our supply chain partners about men needing to talk about mental health and the issues they are facing. He also spoke about the services offered by Aware and urged anybody in difficulty to reach out.

Sticking with mental health, the Sisk team and our supply chain partners in Malmo, Sweden, hosted talks and exhibitions about mental health and wellbeing. A large portion of the team on site are away from home with limited options to travel home due to Covid-19. This was a perfect opportunity for the team to check-in on one another.

These were hard-hitting talks about mental health. This has now become a key focus of our business. We have demonstrated our commitment to mental health, having rolled out our partnership with mental health and wellbeing programme I Am Here to train 110 staff to have difficult conversations and recognise the signs if somebody is feeling down or depressed. The I Am Here programme builds skills in teams to connect people with help and support.

Day Two: Plant And Pedestrian Safety

The theme of day two of Construction Safety Week 2020 was ‘Plant and Pedestrian Safety’, which was marked at Xeljanz Pfizer and our Cherrywood projects with safety demonstrations. These focused on key considerations, that included:

  • The dangers of mixing people and plant;
  • Identifying the blind spots with a telehandler;
  • A demonstration of what a driver can and can’t see while in the cab, especially in poor weather conditions;
  • The positioning of spotters/PVMs and what are their roles; and,
  • The controls/safety devices to be used when operating a telehandler.

Sisk’s BioCork 2 project site marked day three by hosting several talks on Occupational Health in Construction. L to r: Finbarr Sedas, Radley Engineering; Tony Ruxton, John Sisk and Son; Paul Mc Garry, Ardmac; and Brendan O’Connell, STS.

Day Three: Occupational Health In Construction

Our BioCork 2 project marked day three – ‘Occupational Health in Construction’ – by hosting several safety talks on the following topics:

  • Respirable crystalline silica dust,
  • Driver fatigue; and,
  • Occupational cancer (sun safety).

Talks were given by the Sisk team and some of our supply chain partners.

Day Four: Working Safely At Height

As part of day four,‘Working Safely at Height’, the Sisk team and our supply chain gave a safety demonstration at our 70 St Stephen’s Green site in Dublin city centre. There was also a toolbox talk given on the dangers and work equipment standards for mobile access tower cranes.

Tower crane owner Mantis carried out a safety demonstration on emergency preparedness with a tower crane at Sisk’s Cork Street site in Dublin city centre.

Day Five: Emergency Preparedness

Our Sisk Living project at Cork Street, Dublin, saved the most eye-catching safety demonstration until day five of the campaign. In partnership with our tower crane owner, Mantis, our team carried out a safety demonstration from a tower crane for emergency preparedness. There were also safety talks on different harness and lanyard types, inspection of harnesses and what to do in the event of a suspension.

Pulling Together For Safety

As Director of Health, Safety, Sustainability & Quality with Sisk, I would like to express my gratitude to all of our health and safety teams and staff across Ireland and Europe. Our Construction Safety Week 2020 events wouldn’t have been possible without the support and dedication of our supply chain partners and clients. Against the backdrop of Covid-19, all of our teams pulled together to deliver some outstanding events and raise awareness of health and safety in our sector.

Thank you to all the Sisk team and our supply chain partners for participating in Construction Safety Week 2020. Please stay safe.