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New time-out initiative improves health, safety and wellbeing

Jackson recently embarked upon a ‘Time-out’ initiative to further strengthen and improve health, safety and wellbeing on sites, and to promote two-way communication between staff, subcontractors and clients.

Time-outs are held on a quarterly basis and instead of coming to work for a usual day or night shift, all staff, operatives and subcontractors involved on the project are invited to take part in a stand-down discussion about site safety, and develop ideas for improvements. Importantly, everyone is paid their night shift rate for attendance, which encourages full participation, and promotes healthy debate.

Following the most recent time-out, a survey of the participants found that communication and hazard awareness has improved dramatically, and 96% of respondents said they felt safer and more part of a team as a result. The time-outs have broken down barriers between the site team, management, and supply chain and fostered an open and inclusive environment where all members of the team feel able to challenge, discuss and resolve issues.

Several ideas and initiatives have been developed during the time-outs which are being rolled out across the company, and shared across the industry as best practice examples. Details are below:

Site-specific Hazard Videos and Briefings

During the first time-out in December 2016, the team identified complacency towards their working environment as the most significant risk. One operative said:

“When you’re faced with live traffic every night, you get used to it, and the risk it represents becomes the norm.”

In order to counteract this, we developed a suite of videos and briefings which raise awareness around the five key hazards presented to the New Haw team on every shift.

We set up screens in the canteen, site offices and welfare vans, which play the videos along with other relevant safety material, before shifts and during breaks. The videos are available with audio, and without, to ensure they are suitable for all environments. A significant portion of the workforce also speak English as their second language, so the videos and briefings were also translated into Punjabi. These screens serve as a constant reminder of the real risks of working on high speed roads and have been well received by the site team.

Watch the videos here:

Site Info Hub

Following the implementation of the TV screens the team have also developed several other ideas forcontent to display on them. We are currently trialling a new ‘Site Information Hub’ which is essentially a website containing site-specific health and safety information on it, such as risk assessments, method statements, briefing documents and routes to hospital, and then a centrally controlled information hub, which contains the Jackson company induction, health and safety toolbox talks, ‘hot topic’ bulletins from across the industry and industry news.

This website is hosted on a tablet which is accessible to everyone on site. By attaching a Chromecast to the existing TV screens around the site, the information on the tablet can be cast to the screen, making it easier to give briefings to large teams. Being portable, the tablet is also taken out on night shifts in the welfare van, so the team can access information such as risk assessments at the work site, or simply browse through safety bulletins or toolbox talks during their breaks.

The largest benefit to this system is that the entire site team, including our suppliers, have site, company and industry health and safety information at their fingertips. Site specific hazard information can be displayed as a constant reminder when the system isn’t in use, and anyone on site can browse the information at their leisure. This system has also opened up a two way flow of information, not only with our own workforce, but also with our wider suppliers, and we’re now able to run all-staff safety stand-downs via YouTube live broadcasts without having teams crowded around several different laptops.

The system is still in the trial phase, but we’re continuing to develop the website and contents to make it even more interactive.