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The Shield

THE PAPER FOR RAIL PEOPLE IN THE SOUTHERN REGION WORKING safely at height is something Safia Whitwham knows plenty about. Safia is an Assistant Site Manager on a major viaduct strengthening project involving £2.5m worth of scaffolding. It is her practical experience on sites like these that makes her a good safety ambassador and a positive role model for young engineers.




YOU SAID.. . W h a t we l ear

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AIMING HIGH Main events

Zero heroes

Fight the fatigue







A SERIES of Southern Shield events for frontline teams focusing on safety, health and wellbeing, challenging others and key risk areas, have been held across the region. At a recent event held at Waterworks Centre in Leyton, Safety Leadership Team members Andrew Duffin, Regional Delivery Director, Network

The Shield This paper is produced for:

Rail and John Cox, Managing Director Rail, VolkerFitzpatrick, talked about their own personal safety journeys, highlighting two fatalities and key learning points from the incidents. Other discussion points included the purpose and aspirations of Southern Shield, initiatives that are being undertaken to improve behaviours and safety, Time Out Take Fives and the importance of challenging others and unsafe behaviours. Another key focus of the event was health and wellbeing. Mark Taylor, Contracting Manager for VolkerFitzpatrick, told the story of his weight loss journey and how he has improved his diet and physical health over the last year. This was followed by a session on nutrition, diet, sleep and exercise by Luke Hanna, a personal trainer. The event covered health and wellbeing initiatives that are available to everyone in the Southern Shield including The Employee Assistance Programme and Know Your Numbers health assessments. Steven Bradley

Words into action

Speaking to The Shield after the event, Steven Bradley, Overhead Lineman for Network Rail, said the event had been valuable. “It’s great to get this kind of information and good that you Andrew May can speak freely. “It’s made me think about how I can look after myself health wise – especially in terms of what I eat –and to look after others that I work with. “I think there should be more events like this. I came to a similar event last year when the focus was on mental health. It shows that the leadership cares.” Andrew May, Site Manager for Amey,

added: “Learning about the human welfare side of things was important. It’s opened my eyes a bit about how you have to look after yourself. I will definitely be

putting that stuff into action. “It was good to hear how safety is paramount on sites. I think more site visits by senior managers, especially unannounced, would be a good thing. It would keep everyone on their toes and mean people wouldn’t let anything lapse.”

Written and designed by:

IN BRIEF On camera A Southern Shield video is being developed to support worksite inductions and this should be available in the new year.

Safety culture

WORKER PRAISED FOR STAND ON SITE SAFETY WHEN Nagasi Mebrathu saw a Making a Difference Award. supervisor attempt to enter an The incident took place at an exclusion exclusion zone, he knew straight away zone below roof work at Waterloo station, what he needed to do. and it wasn’t the first time Nagasi had Nagasi, who has worked on the spoken up. railway for three years, “I knew what the immediately asked the supervisor was about to do was unsafe, so I said supervisor to stop, and even so,” said Nagasi.“I said reiterated that it was unsafe behaviour when the why not use another exit? I was surprised supervisor questioned the because he should challenge. For spotting the potential know the rules as well as safety breach, challenging the Nagasi Mebrathu anyone,but I have stopped more experienced colleague and people before. for sticking to his principles when “It makes me proud to be questioned himself, Nagasi has been recognised but it’s what we should all be recognised with a Southern Shield doing – working safely.”


Peter McLellan, Operations Director for Wessex Capacity Alliance and a member of the Safety Leadership Team, said:“We recognise that it can be difficult at times to challenge others or speak up about safety concerns. Not only did Nagasi prevent someone from entering a dangerous area where they could potentially come to harm, he acted as role model displaying positive challenging behaviour and helping change our safety culture.” The Making a Difference Awards recognise colleagues who have gone above and beyond in the pursuit of safety. Southern Shield Culture Survey – see pages 4 and 5.


Look out for Culture Step-Up Events that are taking place across the region during December. For more information can be found at

Grand design Would you like to help prevent design safety hazards and risks from reaching our worksites? The Southern Shield Design Close Call Working Group are looking for help to improve and promote Design Close Call Safety Conversations. If you are interested in supporting contact shield@

Happy returns Return to work briefings will be taking place on all our sites in the new year.



THEY’VE been working on some of the most high-profile highrisk projects in the southern region but BAM Nuttall’s teams have achieved a notable safety milestone – zero lost time accidents in 12 months.

In total, more than 700,000 hours were worked in BAM Nuttall without a single lost time injury or RIDDOR accident. Six out of 10 projects involved working at height and 12 per cent of working hours took place at nights or weekends. Major projects with significant safety considerations have included Sevenoaks and Balcombe shafts, where teams were working 100 metres above live lines, and Mitre Bridge where crews worked on suspended scaffold just 300mm from live overhead electricity lines. Gareth White, Operations Manager for BAM, said: “Key to this success is learning from past accidents, industry trends and the Close Call information we receive. We look to treat everyone the same and empower them to challenge unsafe behaviours with the aim of creating an improved culture.” To mark the milestone, The Shield spoke to some BAM colleagues about how they think this was achieved:


GENERAL FOREMAN, SEVENOAKS SHAFTS Steve said good working relationships mean close knit and successful teams. “Our site teams feel comfortable talking about any issues that they might have – be it private or work related. “Working with sub-contractors on a long-term basis leads to a more productive site team, where safety improvements can be discussed. It also creates a more enjoyable work environment. “The Sevenoaks shaft project was an IP Southern Route to Gold top scoring site in 2018, an achievement they should be rightly proud of.”

“Our site teams feel comfortable talking about any issues that they might have – be it private or work related”


GANGER ON BALCOMBE TUNNEL SHAFTS Chris said being able to suggest improvements was a key factor in the success. “A good example of this is that at the beginning of the project we decided to hire a tracked dumper to reduce the impact we would have on the access track – particularly during the winter. “To reduce HAVS (hand arm vibration syndrome) on site we are using drills that have the least vibration but can still do the job and we record the time spent on tools to accurately monitor exposure. “We have a good relationship with sub-contractors and we all treat each other as part of one team. And not rushing people on site to complete tasks makes a big difference to safety.”

“We have a good relationship with sub-contractors and we all treat each other as part of one team” Chris Saysell


“We benefit from having home-grown, directly employed design managers who each have an area of expertise” Wendy Gillies


Mick explained how sharing best practice contributes to a safer working culture. “Every three months I meet with senior colleagues. We swap ‘war stories’ and discuss safety initiatives such as eradicating the use of breakers, rock drills and scabblers to drastically reduce the exposure to HAVS on our projects. “We’ve also built a strong team of front line operatives, who are empowered to speak up when things don’t look right. They look out for each other and make sure our supply chain buy into what we are trying to achieve.”

Steve Cornish

BAM’s emphasis on ‘safe by design’ is an important factor, said Wendy. “We benefit from having home-grown, directly employed design managers who each have an area of expertise. Our design managers get involved in construction methodology and planning. “Designers are asked to take on board concerns and solutions generated by the site teams. This integrated approach helps stop accidents.”

“We’ve built a strong team of front line operatives, who are empowered to speak up when things don’t look right” Mick Nelson

LADDER TAG STEPS UP SAFETY ANYONE wanting to use a ladder will need to get permission and a signed ‘tag’ from a site foreman under a new initiative introduced by BAM Nuttall. It follows a change to the Southern Shield Charter, which prohibits the use of step ladders without a task specific risk assessment and the approval of a Construction Director or equivalent. BAM’s safe system of work procedure has been brought in to further reduce the risk of falls from height – one of the biggest causes of death and injury in the UK workplace. The move comes as BAM Nuttall’s parent company discusses banning step ladders completely from its sites.

Under BAM’s new procedure, all ladders must carry an identification mark or number and a ‘ladder tag’. Before being used all ladders and steps must undergo a pre-use check and the ladder tag signed off. If any defects are found, the ladder tag is removed – resulting in a “do not use” notice being displayed on the tag holder – and the issue reported to the competent person on site. A time-limited permit must also be completed by the site competent person and issued to the user. The permit will determine the reason that the ladder is the most suitable access for the task. The procedure relates to loose ladders and

steps, including those with working platforms and handrails. It doesn’t include ladders fixed into scaffolds. “People tend to be complacent when using equipment such as step ladders,” said Gareth White, Operations Manager. “However, the recent fatality in Scotland when a young contractor fell from a step ladder highlighted how dangerous they can be. Anything we can do to highlight the dangers must be worthwhile.” The complete Southern Shield Charter and appendices can be found by visiting:

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YOU SAID… The Southern Shield Culture Survey told us a lot about how you think and feel about working on the railway. Here are some of the key results, the response from the Safety Leadership Team and the actions we can all take to improve safety and communication on site THE CULTURE survey results revealed some positives, some negatives and some interesting contradictions. This was particularly true around challenging safety on your worksite. While 90 percent said they always question unsafe behaviour, more than a third said that where they work, other people walk on by without challenging safety issues. Something that comes through loud and clear from these results is that people often want to speak up about something that is unsafe or not quite right – but are worried about doing so. Half of respondents said people sometimes felt afraid to speak up. “We all believe that everyone deserves to go home safely from work every day but many of you feel that speaking out and challenging unsafe behaviours was one of the biggest concerns,” said John Dowsett, Osborne’s Managing Director for Infrastructure and a Southern Shield Safety Leadership Team member. “I know that challenging poor safety behaviour or even speaking up when we are unsure can sometimes be really difficult. One of the biggest barriers to speaking up is fear of the reaction from others or the consequences of asking questions – no one wants to be made to look stupid, shouted at or viewed as a trouble maker. But we all know that speaking up and questioning if we are working safely can stop one of our workmates getting injured. “There are two things we can all do to break down this barrier. Firstly, you can wear one of the Feel Safe to Ask stickers on your helmet which are included in this edition of The Shield. This says to other people that you are open to being approached and happy to answer questions about what you are doing. Wearing the badge is completely voluntary but if you do decide to wear one you are helping others to watch your back and that of your colleagues. “Secondly, if you are unsure, confused, things have changed or for any reason at all, you can always call a Time Out Take Five and take a pause in what you are doing. This allows you to reassess the working environment and any risks or hazards that are present. Time Outs can take as little or as long as needed to resolve any outstanding issues. The overarching objective is that if it can’t be done safely, don’t do it. “A big thank you to everyone who took part in this survey which helps us to understand what your concerns are and how we can make a real difference to our safety culture. The hard work starts now as we begin to make the changes you said we needed to make; however, please remember that by creating an environment where people feel more able to speak up or question others, we can all help to keep each other safe.”

New hazards? People changed? Confused?



Task changed? Unexpected problem? Unsure of procedure?

Remember: A Time Out Take Five may be called by anyone at any time.

Always speak up if you are un


What you said about…

What you said about…

“In my workplace people are sometimes afraid to speak up regarding safety concerns”

“In my workplace people walk by without challenging safety issues”

honesty and openness:

others taking ownership: 34% agreed with this

55% agreed with this

What you said about…

What you said about…

collective responsibility:

priorities on site: “I feel production/delivery takes priority over safety” 37% agreed with this

“I personally look out for the safety of others outside my own team, even if they work for another company” 98% agreed with this

What you said about…

What you said about…

personal ownership of safety:


“When I raise a concern, not only is it acted “If I see someone acting unsafe I will always personally upon, I can see that it has visibly made a difference to safety” challenge them” 89% agreed with this

92% agreed with this

In total 1,049 people completed the 2018 culture survey. Statisticians tell us that this a good representative sample of our workforce due to both the number and the range of roles of people who took part.


Scared to speak up?

nsure or if you have a concern

I won’t be taken seriously?

I’m willing to listen

I’m too inexperienced I value your comments They will get upset with me

I will say ‘thank you’


OTHER KEY THEMES REVEALED BY THE SURVEY: • Local behaviour, safety and culture change programmes have an impact • There’s regular engagement through safety briefings, Toolbox Talks and stand downs • More Close Calls are being raised, closed out and feedback provided • Time Out Take Fives are taking place • Many identified improved safety culture on their site • There’s a strong sense of teamwork and team spirit among front line staff • Improved visibility of management including more site visits • We are getting better at learning from safety events.




BUILDING BRIDGE A mile-long access path and strong winds were just two of the challenges faced by a bridge replacement team A VICTORIAN railway bridge near Haywards Heath in West Sussex has stood the test of time for 120 years. But after becoming cracked, the brick structure which carried the line over a walkway below, was no longer not fit for purpose and needed replacing. The new bridge should be structurally sound for another century or more and will also prevent future performance issues due to speed restrictions being placed on the line. But before it could begin, the team from McLaughlin & Harvey – the principal contractor working on the project – carried out a trial run. Not only that, because of the bridge’s remote location, the team had to install a mile-long access path to get equipment, machinery and vehicles over farmland and close enough to the site. This took three weeks to build, but once completed, it allowed the team to make a start. The work had originally been scheduled to be done some years previously and, because the teams on site had changed,

the trial offered a chance for everyone to become familiarised with what the work involved. “McLaughlin & Harvey is a new contractor to work with us in the South East and we had a big briefing with their management and supervisors about safety before the project began,” explained Keith Waters, Senior Construction Manager for Network Rail. “During the actual process of the project, we had safety briefings in the morning and after every shift change. We kept everyone on site briefed, which is a challenge with a number of different contractors involved.” The project itself was relatively straightforward – replacing the original brick structure with new concrete slabs, which were lifted into place by a crane. However, with high winds on the day of the trial and forecast for the planned weekend of work, the team needed to check if the crane was safe to rig and then whether anything could be lifted. The Shield spoke to some of the team about these and other safety challenges...

JOHN ROGERS, TRAFFIC WARDEN, MCLAUGHLIN & HARVEY “My role is making sure the access way is safely used. If I send a car down from one end, I have to radio the other end to tell them something’s coming and they hold any traffic there at the gate house. There is not a lot of room here with all the cars and lorries so it’s important to keep in contact with the gate house on the radio. “This site is good for safety. There are designated pedestrian areas for people to walk in and they’re clearly marked. “Planning is the most important thing to keeping everyone safe, as well as communication. If everyone knows what’s going on at all times then we have a good chance that everyone can stay safe.”

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SEAN LAGAN, SITE SUPERVISOR, MCLAUGHLIN & HARVEY “One of the biggest risks on this site are the lifting operations of the crane. We’ll have swinging loads over areas normally used by site traffic and personnel, and with strong wind like this that increases the risk. There is also the live rail, but we have supervisors on hand to help manage risks there. “We have an exclusion area around the crane platform to prevent anyone inadvertently walking under the loads and putting themselves at risk. We’ve also got a crane supervisor, driver, banksman and dedicated person keeping an eye on the exclusion zone to stop anyone from entering it.”

MEL ATCHESON, PLANT OPERATOR, MCLAUGHLIN & HARVEY “The risk in my role is with the use of heavy machinery, so I need a banksman with me all the time I’m moving around the site. Safety on site is very good. We have morning briefings and regular Time Out Take Fives. “The main safety risks on bridge works are on the cranes and the area surrounding the lifts. We keep a designated lifting area, where only certain people have access. We have to keep numbers to a minimum so only people necessary to the task should be in areas where there’s a safety risk. “Everyone is responsible for safety on site and everyone should intervene if they think they see something unsafe happening. Luckily I’ve never had to – but I suppose that’s a good thing.”

Always use equipment that is fit for its intended purpose




THE COLD TRUTH RAIL may be our business but staying safe on the road is every bit as important as staying safe on site, or on track. Road accidents are one the biggest causes of lost time injuries every year in the UK, which is why three of our Lifesaving Rules relate specifically to driving. As the winter brings darker, wetter and frostier conditions, the risks increase. But driving safely in winter can be as simple as sticking with the basics. Allow extra time to demist your windscreen and clear all vehicle windows to ensure you have full visibility before setting off. Drive and brake to suit the weather conditions and allow enough distance between you and other road users. It’s important your vehicle is well

prepared too, so as well as keeping de-icer, an ice scraper and warm hivis clothing in your vehicle, always carry out these basic checks: • Tyre pressure – refer to the vehicle manual • Tread depth – 3mm is the minimum for Network Rail, but it can vary vehicle to vehicle, so check the manual or fleet vehicles’ wheel arch to be sure • Wipers – make sure that they effectively clear the screen • Windscreen washers – check they are working and fluids are topped up with a 50/50 mix of water and anti-freeze screen wash • Lights – check they are all working and clean • Engine coolant – check level of anti-freeze.


Stopping dista increase by up nces to times in the sn 10 ow and ice.

DON’T BE DAZZLED It’s not all about long winter nights – the low winter sun can dazzle even the most confident and experienced drivers. The glare can easily impair your vision and cause you to miss signs and lights, or pedestrians crossing the road. If you can’t see very well, chances are that other road users can’t either. To help avoid the dangers of low winter sun: l Reduce your speed or stop all together l Wear sunglasses in bright sunlight l Make sure your windscreen and all vehicle windows are clean, both inside and out. RoSPA has a comprehensive list of vehicle checks and winter driving tips on its website:



F is for fuel You would be amazed at how many people set off without having enough in the tank

Sun glare has n a contributed to ad ro 8 2 f average o r in deaths per yea 10. 0 2 ce n the UK si


L is for lights Check all your car’s lighting parts before you set off O is for oil It’s best to check your oil level whilst the engine is cold and the vehicle is parked on a level surface

Paul Burr, is a Principal Construction Manager, Network Rail

THE SHIELD: What does the role of construction manager (CM) bring to projects? PAUL BURR: CMs bring a wealth of experience to support the supply chain. Onsite they are the ‘eyes and ears’ of our project managers and project engineers and ensure that issues are suitably resolved and escalated where required. They also maintain contemporary records using smartphone apps which keep everyone informed of progress, status and any emerging issue. The use of apps has also enabled the introduction of the ‘Construction Route

W is for water If coolant level is slightly low, top it up with a little water. Check your screen wash too E is for electrics Make sure the battery is secure and in good condition R is for rubber Check tyre pressure and tread depth.

to Gold’ which ranks the performance of each active site. This encourages sites to improve and more targeted use of CMs where they are most needed.

consistently awarded on time to give our contractors the lead time they need to adequately plan and deliver projects safely.

of a shredder. I won’t count the time one of my construction managers wore a ‘mankini’ to a team building event – I’ve never been the same since!

THE SHIELD: How long have you been in the railway? PB: I first started working on the railway in 1996 as a site agent for May Gurney Construction.

THE SHIELD: What is the best thing you have seen on the railway? PB: Our Lost Time Injury Frequency Ratio (LTIFR) steadily reducing over the last few years, so it’s now approaching zero. This means we are moving in the right direction in getting everyone home safe every day.

THE SHIELD: Do you think it’s possible for everyone to go home safe every day? PB: Yes. We have come a very long way in the last few years, however we still have challenges with the culture within construction where staff are prepared to take short cuts despite having been trained and deemed competent to do a task safely. I think once we have cracked that cultural issue it will be possible.

THE SHIELD: What one thing would you change? PB: I found it frustrating when I was working at May Gurney, being awarded contracts late and then being put under pressure to deliver before you even started. So the one thing I would change is to ensure that contracts are

THE SHIELD: And the worst thing? PB: It wasn’t on a rail site but one of the craziest things I’ve seen was two roadworkers cutting tree branches using a chainsaw while both standing on top

Always obey theRAIL speed limit and wear LIVES– pagea seat 8 belt

THE SHIELD: Define safety in 10 words… PB: The culture that ensures everybody gets home safe every day.



IT IS often assumed that to deliver our projects on time and to the right standard that safety must be sacrificed – that by addressing safety issues production will be slowed down and costs will increase. Our recent culture survey (see pages 4 and 5), revealed that 37 per cent of you said that you thought that production and delivery took priority over safety. However, fantastic delivery does not mean that safety needs to take a back seat. Did you know that the factors that lead to a great safety record also lead to great performance overall? Many of our projects are already achieving this – fantastic performance with zero accidents while also making a real difference to train passengers and freight users. Here are some examples:

Wessex – Axe facts The Axe Valley flood mitigation project blockade was handed back 24 hours earlier than planned. The installation of two 40-metre long, 550 tonne culvert structures beneath the railway has improved safety and will reduce delays due to flooding. The work has reduced the risk of flooding in the area from a one in five-year event to a one in 20-year event. There is also a reduced requirement for interventions in periods of wet weather.

Anglia – No wire ire At the end of November, the Anglia Great Eastern Overhead Line Equipment team completed the 150th and 151st wire runs since a production line method was implemented. The success rate of installation to date has been 98 per cent. During a 50hour possession at Manor Park, these two wire runs (totalling 1,990 metres) and a monoboom structure crossing four lines were successfully delivered. The renewal of these wires has reduced the risks of poor train performance and will also increase reliability by removing speed restrictions, especially during the summer months when fixed wires are at risk of sagging due to heat expansion. The project will also help cut maintenance costs.

m r o f Per


THE RIGHT CHOICE? The pressure is on to finish that job and hand back the railway on time. In the rush to complete the work, it is becoming unsafe – so, what are you going to do?

South East – smart banking

Carry on and get the job done as fast as possible even if you need to cut a few corners. After all, if you finish on time then everyone is happy – apart from your workmate who got injured in the rush. OR

When they stabilised the embankment slope at the aptly named Crooked Bank in the South East Route, the team also took the opportunity to reinstate adequate support to the track. This reduced the requirement for additional

Take a Time Out Take Five and reassess the task. After that, every knows what they are doing, hazards have been eliminated and you have the right people, plans, tools and equipment to do the job. The work is still completed but everyone also goes home safe.

maintenance and also meant that they were able to reduce delays for passengers by removing a temporary speed restriction.

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RAIL LIVES The Shield meets Safia Whitwham, an Assistant Site Manager who is prepared to face any challenge

SAFIA’S A SAFETY A THERE ARE a whole host of potential safety issues that come with working with scaffolding – and no one knows this better than Safia Whitwham. Safia is an Assistant Site Manager on the Gade Valley project near Watford that is strengthening a huge viaduct and applying a new coat of paint. The viaduct spans railway, roads and a river and a large amount of scaffolding has been erected to accommodate the works. “We have £2.5m worth of scaffolding on site and part of my role was managing this and reviewing risk assessments and ensuring day-to-

day safety is adhered to,” said Safia. “One thing that I found after we started was that people were working overhead but sometimes this wasn’t noticed by people on the ground,” said Safia. She found that often people were moving safety barriers to get through as they weren’t sure what they were there for. “To make this element of the works safer, we introduced a marshal.” When the strengthening plates arrived for unloading, Safia and her team put up signs and held briefings to make sure everyone on site knew the risks and how to avoid problems. This meant

that the heavy steel plates were hoisted onto the scaffolding and into place without incident.

Experiencing it all

Safia has seen a lot in her almost five years in civil engineering. But it is the practical experience on site that helps her be a good assistant site manager and safety ambassador. One memory in particular sticks out for her and taught her a valuable lesson. “I was working on a site on Aldershot High Street a few years ago and we had set up an exclusion zone with a diversion route. The diversion was quite long and on a Saturday night, people who

had been drinking too much hopped over the fence to try and get through and this was of course incredibly dangerous, despite the fact no work was going on at the time,” she said. This lesson taught her to “be prepared and think outside the box” when it comes to potential safety issues.

Fantastic progress

Safia is in a senior role at Watford and she’s progressed at a fantastic pace. Her engineering talent makes her a positive role model for young women in an industry that despite year-on-year

never undertake a job unless you have b


Safety in numbers “One thing that I found after we started was that people were working overhead but sometimes this wasn’t noticed by people on the ground” Safia Whitwham

From January to October 2018 in the southern region, there were:

5.13m hours worked


lost time injuries


RIDDOR accident



minor injuries This means 1 person injured for every

114k hours worked

improvements, is still dominated by men. According to campaign group WISE, women accounted for just 11 percent of those in engineering roles in the UK in 2017. “Originally, I wanted to do something related to sports science, but after a while I realised it wasn’t for me. That’s when I got into engineering and maths, which has led me to where I am now,” Safia said. Her mum played a huge role in influencing her decision to enter a male-dominated industry. “Mum was a great help. She supported me the whole way,” said Safia. After studying at university in Southampton,

sponsored by her now-employers Osborne, Safia got straight onto site and became more involved with the engineering industry. She was the 201718 chair of the Institute of Civil Engineering (ICE) London Graduate Group and a former London Graduate of the Year. Her role at ICE allowed her to make more people aware of what civil engineers do and encouraged others to get into the industry. “I was a diversity ambassador to encourage all genders and races to consider a career in civil engineering,” said Safia. She also took part in ICE’s Pride celebrations, championing equal rights for the LGBT+ community.

been trained and assessed as competent


Where will the next accident happen on your site?




DON’T SNOOZE AND LOSE SIX STEPS TO FIGHT FATIGUE Plenty of sleep Get at least seven to eight hours a day. Cut the coffee Avoid drinking caffeinated drinks four to five hours before bed as this can cause sleeplessness.

FATIGUE is one of the biggest causes of accidents in the transport, construction and maintenance industries. Described as a state of extreme tiredness resulting from physical or mental exhaustion, it can lead to reduced alertness, impaired decision-making and poor judgement of distance and speed. On a railway site that’s clearly a serious risk. It’s also bad for your general health and can cause sore or aching muscles, appetite loss and reduced immune system function. The main causes of fatigue are a lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep with lots of interruptions, long working hours or poorly designed shift work with inadequate breaks during the working day. It’s why the Southern Shield Fatigue Working Group is looking at how we can tackle the issue. “We want to spot potential issues before they arise and be able to help individuals that are suffering from the signs of fatigue,” said working group member Craig Lightheart. “This should reduce the likelihood of an accident at the same time as improving the health and wellbeing of our fellow colleagues.” The simple steps listed on the right are ones you can take to reduce the risk...



If you are concerned that you or a colleague is suffering with symptoms of fatigue, raise this with your line manager or supervisor.





The confidential Southern Shield Employee Assistance Programme is available free to everybody working on behalf of Infrastructure Projects Southern. Call the 24-hour freephone number on 0800 358 459 or go to where you can join the vClub with the username: southernshield and password: homesafe.

Put down your mobile Avoid using technology 30 minutes before bed.

5 1


4 well 3Eat well to stay 6 A healthy diet that promotes longer-

lasting energy. Avoid junk food and drink plenty of water.


Take a break Make sure you get frequent breaks 1 throughout the day.


3 5




Don’t drive drowsy Avoid driving if you feel tired.




5 4 3 6 1Talk on the Southern A Toolbox Shield website contains information 5 2 on the causes of fatigue. You can find this on 6 1 2 1 2 What do you think? Get in touch –


The Shield December 2018  
The Shield December 2018