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AC Mauger Construction News | Putting health & safety first

Putting health & safety first

 

As Jersey’s construction industry works to refresh its health and safety regulations, James Joseph, Managing Director of AC Mauger, explains how changing attitudes mean that nowadays, health and safety should always be the first point on the agenda.

 The recent release of the States of Jersey’s Health and Safety at Work Inspectorate Annual Report 2013, shows that, with nearly 25% of all claims for accidents or ill health, the construction industry remains the most hazardous of all sectors for work-related accidents. This statistic alone, demonstrates the need for the industry to continue to focus on improving the manner in which health and safety is managed on construction sites.

 One positive we can take from the report is that the number of claims for short term incapacity allowance in relation to work associated accidents and ill health within the construction industry fell in 2013.

 The Health & Safety Inspectorate is currently working with the Jersey Construction Council to progress the replacement of the existing Construction (Safety Provisions) (Jersey) Regulations, 1970 with new regulations and, as an interim measure, the introduction of an Approved Code of Practise for Managing Health & Safety in Construction.

 As part of the working party with responsibility for bringing about the new regulations I fully support the introduction of a similar regime to that which is in place in the UK. It’s too early to say exactly what regulations will be brought in but they will help the industry to further improve health and safety by enhancing the management of risks through more effective planning.

 Health and Safety at the top of the agenda

The health and safety of everyone at AC Mauger Construction has always been and always will be of paramount importance. This means that we are continually developing and strengthening health and safety management on our sites.

 We ensure that everyone who is involved in the control of site work is aware of the responsibility for health and safety. All stakeholders - from the client to the architects and designers, right through the construction management team, site management team and to every contractor and sub-contractor on site – are involved in ensuring that the design and the carrying out of the work is not going to put anyone at risk. Planning and organisation of the working conditions before work begins must be in place whatever the size of the site.

 At AC Mauger we are working to change the culture on sites with a less authoritarian approach to Health and Safety which aims not to punish but to instil a “work safe, be safe” ethos. This is encouraged through constant education and monitoring that ensures that staff return home safely to their families on a daily basis.

 We have introduced a Health & Safety Manual as a management systems toolbox to effectively deal with many of the on-site Health & Safety challenges and to introduce companywide procedures in a standardised format.  We have also found that by making Health & Safety the first item on the agenda, we have been able to bring it to the forefront of weekly site meetings, thereby ensuring that questions or concerns can be discussed and actioned accordingly.

 Finally, I’m pleased to say that AC Mauger is now a member of the British Safety Council and is undertaking a Five Star Occupational Health and Safety Audit which will benchmark our safety management system against the current UK best practice. The audit will involve an in-depth examination of our entire health and safety management system and associated arrangements and as a result, will offer us a structured path for continuous improvement towards best practice.

 There’s no doubt that health and safety in the construction sector has improved enormously over the past few decades, however, the work we undertake will always come with inherent dangers that continually need to be addressed. At AC Mauger we are building a culture which places health and safety as the highest priority and, with the introduction of new regulations in Jersey, it is likely that this path will be followed by the industry as a whole.