The occupational health and safety of everyone involved in our business or affected by it is a vital consideration in everything we do.
Policies and procedures
The Board actively promotes a positive occupational health and safety culture within the business and ensures that this is reflected in all of our policies and procedures, as well as in our approach to the training and development of the people involved in our operations. Occupational health and safety is the first agenda item at monthly Board meetings.
We have developed a comprehensive set of policies and procedures covering all of our operations, and these are constantly updated and communicated to relevant employees and everyone else working on our sites. Our procedures identify all of the relevant risks and hazards that are likely to be encountered in the course of our work and, more importantly, set out the appropriate precautionary control measures to ensure work is undertaken safely.
We also require our supply chain partners to employ competent people and encourage their continuing professional development. We expect the highest occupational health and safety standards from each supplier, and this is a key consideration when awarding contracts. We monitor our suppliers on an ongoing basis and take the necessary steps to ensure they meet our high expectations, including offering subsidised on-site training specifically for their employees, often at no cost to our partners.
The Group’s Health and Safety Management System is accredited to BS OHSAS 18001:2007 and is audited every six months by the British Standards Institution (BSI) in accordance with their stringent processes.
We have an Executive Safety Committee and an Operational Safety Forum whose members are senior employees with extensive industry experience. Both of these groups meet regularly and are instrumental in developing significant changes to the way occupational health and safety is managed and to our policies and procedures. This ensures we are constantly up to date with any changes in working practices or regulations. John Fitzgerald is the Board director with overall responsibility for occupational health and safety.
Training and development
Telford Homes operates in an industry where up to date qualifications, standards and knowledge are vital to the safe and successful operation of the business. The Board views training, particularly through apprenticeships and our Management Trainee programmes, as an essential investment in the future of the Group and the construction industry more broadly.
We invest in a rigorous health and safety training programme to ensure that all employees have the appropriate skills and knowledge, and these are evaluated in the context of prospective changes to the external environment. The needs of members of staff joining the business are carefully assessed to identify and address specific training requirements.
The year to 31 March 2017 has been our busiest on record, with over 2.55 million person hours worked. There were just three reportable injuries (RIDDOR) during the period, resulting in an Accident Frequency Rate (AFR) of 0.12. The construction industry average AFR for the year to 31 March 2016 was 0.35.
We carefully monitor the nature of any accidents or incidents to ensure we learn from them, and adjust our training requirements and procedures accordingly. The majority of our accidents this year arose from simple behavioural failings of the people involved, and we are continuing with our behavioural focused training programmes to make people aware of these basic mistakes and the impacts they can have.
This year our occupational health and safety performance was once again recognised by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) when we received our eighth consecutive gold award, and similarly our management of occupational road risk was recognised with a gold award. These awards and the BSI certification are recognition of the very high standard of the Group’s overall approach to occupational health and safety.
Although our occupational health and safety performance in the year has been excellent, we are not complacent and continue to strive for improvement. We will ensure that, as the business grows, we have systems in place to train new staff and suppliers in our policies and procedures.
We remain confident that our comprehensive procedures and investment in training mean that Telford Homes is doing everything possible to minimise health and safety risks within the business, now and in the foreseeable future.