Gerry Keane, HSE Manager, Walls Construction, writes about how the company approached Construction Safety Week 2020 and why Walls is a gold sponsor of the annual programme.
Walls Construction was delighted to be a gold sponsor of Construction Safety Week 2020, which took place from 19th to 23rd October. Walls had a full programme of health and safety-related events across our projects during Construction Safety Week 2020, recognising that it is an excellent medium for increasing the focus on health and safety for management, site personnel, subcontractor partners and others.
The planned events covered the topics selected for focus throughout the industry, including mental health and wellbeing, plant and pedestrian safety, occupational health, working safely at heights and emergency preparedness.
Construction Safety Week 2020
This year’s Construction Safety Week took place in an environment where, first and foremost, our industry was in the privileged position of being open during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. This increased our obligation, in collaboration with subcontractor partners, other suppliers, and all stakeholders, to give prior, careful consideration as to how best to apply the central themes of the week while ensuring Government guidelines, the ‘Construction Sector C-19 Pandemic Standard Operating Procedure’ and our own Covid-19 management plan were followed.
The Walls Construction Safety Week Committee did a fabulous job, ably supported by various site teams and others, planning and delivering a timetable of events that supported the five key themes for the week. Construction Safety Week champions were appointed on each site, to help with planning events and communicating information, such as video links and competitions to highlight safe work practices. Each evening posters and other material were circulated, including material provided by the CIF, based on the theme for the following day, all within the parameters of Covid-19 guidelines, such as social distancing and face coverings.
Due largely to Covid-19, Construction Safety Week 2020 was site-led. Site teams provided updates and posted images highlighting site-based events, while many subcontractors and suppliers were actively involved, notably running specifically designed toolbox talks. As a result of Covid-19 restrictions, technologies, such as WhatsApp, were widely used to ensure that health and safety promotion material got to the target location – workers on the ground.
The Construction Workers Health Trust, an important and valued service, provided health screening on a large site. At the same time, throughout the week, a selection of webinars on themes such as employee wellbeing, proved very popular. Webinars are a great tool in this pandemic, being accessible to the large numbers of management and staff working from home. The use of webinars and other initiatives that support work-life balance is a crucial learning experience from this pandemic, and it can be said that the way we manage our business and ourselves in the future is likely to be changed significantly.
Walls Great Catch System
Another popular initiative during Construction Safety Week was prize-awarding for highlighting health and safety suggestions through our ‘Great Catch’ system. Also, on-the-spot prizes were awarded to recognise other safety initiatives, such as exemplary housekeeping standards and safe plan of actions (SPAs), the management of exclusion zones and excellent PPE compliance standards.
Walls Construction has been a primary supporter of Construction Safety Week since its inception in 2016, and engagement with health and safety is now more important than ever. Construction Safety Week 2020 enabled the industry to demonstrate that the standards achieved during Covid-19 are those we intend to maintain to ensure the health and safety for all.