Beyond H&S Compliance – Promoting Positive Wellbeing through Highways and Infrastructure Frameworks

Single Sourced Framework Agreements can be successful in instilling more positive Health and Safety behaviours and culture. And by taking an integrated approach with environmental protection, projects delivered under the framework can make a lasting impact on health and wellbeing of the general public, highway users and the workforce.
Frameworks promote long-term, integrated approaches and develop positive behaviours at all levels. In this scenario everyone wins. Outstanding health, safety and environment performance go hand in hand with outstanding business performance.

In some ways there is a simple choice: to evaluate potential contractors’ H&S credentials every time a contract is being tendered (and trust that performance matches the words), or build a long-term, mutually beneficial, and wider reaching approach through a framework agreement.

Our goals as an organisation encapsulate what any framework should try to achieve:

  • Ensure everyone goes home safely from our customer’s projects without any injury whatsoever.
  • Have a positive impact on our people`s health.
  • Create a sustainable future socially, economically and environmentally.

Achieving these goals means investing in the competence, skills, behaviours and leadership of staff and the supply chain, and supporting them with effective processes and procedures.

Beyond Standards and Process

Standards are clearly important. For example, the OHSAS18001 Health and Safety Management System and ISO14001 Environmental Management System should apply to all projects.

But process only takes you so far. It is culture and behaviour that drives outstanding health, safety and environmental performance. For example, we have delivered £250m worth of projects through 3.5 million man hours without a single RIDDOR reportable accident across the whole of our Infrastructure business over a two year period. I’m not sure that processes and accreditations alone could achieve this level of performance. It is about how people think and how they routinely act.

Creating an open, learning and sharing culture, while striving for innovation and better use of technology, is key to creating this exemplar performance. By openly sharing the learning from our mistakes and failures the whole industry can achieve the level of health and safety performance we all strive for.

Building a Framework for Positive Wellbeing

Here are some specific questions to ask when seeking collaborative partners for highways and infrastructure frameworks:

  • Is there absolute certainty of compliance with CDM regulations?
  • Are all aspects of site safety including safety leadership, supervision, culture, collaborative planning, supply chain, assurance, competence, use of technology and site communications addressed?
  • Are the interests and safety of 3rd parties being proactively addressed: your teams, the project stakeholders and third parties such as transport authorities, emergency services, local residents, schools and businesses?
  • Is there a watertight compliance process? Is it controlled using a robust set of SHE procedures and guidance notes to monitor, audit and review the effectiveness of health and safety?
  • How are framework and project risks identified and mitigated? This might include working adjacent to live traffic, existing services, security and public safety, falls from height, manual handling, plant movement and excavations.
  • Does the Environmental Management Plan aim to efficiently use natural resources and energy, and reduce carbon emissions? How will ecological diversity be enhanced and pollution prevented? How will the framework increase the use of sustainable materials and reduce noise and waste?
  • Are occupational health issues being adequately addressed and are there sufficient health checks being provided? Do employees have access to 24 hour employee assistance programmes and is there a robust programme of health awareness activities captured in a well-being calendar?

It’s easy to see how framework agreements provide a better basis for long-term and sustainable embedding of exemplary H&S and environmental management performance.

Find out more by visiting Highways learning pages on our website.

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