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The Shield




ISSUE 24, JUNE 2019

HEALTH and safety are always priorities at Southern Shield sites. But at one site in Feltham, they’ve also stepped up a gear when it comes to wellbeing and fitness, as they deliver a major improvement scheme. Full story on page 4 >>

SAFE AND WELL Know the drill

Climbing high

Road sense






First Person

SOUTHERN Shield has made a real difference to safety since its inception, with a consistent fall in the number of accidents. However, to continue sending more and more people home safe every day, the Safety Leadership Team need your help.Top down, mandated safety procedures cannot be the final answer as we know that safety initiatives that come from the frontline workforce are often the ones that make the most difference. It is the people who work at the ‘coalface’ who understand the issues and the practical solutions that can be taken. On this page is a great example from my company of a team who identified a problem and devised a solution which they then followed through to implementation on site. As a

result, the team removed the risk of hand injury and HAVs when using a large hand drill. I know there are other great examples around the region, so please let us know about them. If you have an idea or see something that could be done more safely then talk about it with you team and follow it up with your supervisor or manager. If we do this, we can all make a real difference. We also want to know about anything we have mandated that may not be working for you and that could be improved. I would be happy to personally receive feedback. Please email me at: Gareth White Operations Manager for BAM


Dean Woods, Site Manager, Osborne, Sussex Route.

THE SHIELD: Explain safety in 10 words. DEAN WOODS: Not injuring our staff; making sure their families aren’t affected. TS: What do you think of safety in the rail industry? DW: It’s excellent. There are robust systems in place which work as long as everyone adheres to and respects the rules. TS: How can safety be improved? DW: Communication. If we’re not told what needs improving – how can we improve it? TS: Why do people continue to get hurt on rail sites? DW: Fatigue, complacency, workload pressure amongst other factors, all of which could be avoided with better communication. TS: What more can be done? DW: Better communication, more training and reduce complacency, for example with regular and extensive random site visits – day and night. TS: Do you think we can achieve “everyone home safe every day”? DW: We can continue to improve and minimise risks, so hopefully one day, yes.

The Shield This paper is produced for:

Steve Cornish

TEAMWORK TURNS INJURY INTO INNOVATION DRILL operators are better protected from injury, thanks to a handy new safety tool developed by frontline staff at BAM Nuttall.

The team set to work developing the rig following an incident at Balcombe tunnel where large TE37 hand drills were being used to fix anchors for shaft lining. A drill bit jammed and the drill head twisted suddenly, breaking a colleague’s finger. With similar work required on this scheme and at Sevenoaks tunnel, the site

team were challenged to come up with something that would remove this risk. REMOVING RISK “Rather than just sit back and accept this, the team got together to find a safer way of working,” said Project Manager John Hayward.“We are all engineers; this is what we are good at. It was a real team effort including supervisors, site agents and frontline staff.” The aim was to create a rig to hold the drill, enabling the worker to operate it with foot switch, removing the risk of a ‘jam-

ming’ injury or hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). Working with local manufacturing company Millson Industries, BAM staff created the working rig, which after further modifications is now in full use on all shafts in the Sevenoaks tunnel work. BETTER AND SAFER “We are always looking to find better and safer way of working,” said Steve Cornish, general foreman at Balcombe and at Sevenoaks. “There’s a lot of drilling involved on

these projects and we’ve already done a lot of work with the drill manufacturer Hilti to reduce the risks of vibration. This rig enables the operator to take their hands away from the drill head altogether. “It’s lightweight and simple to take apart and reassemble, so it’s easy to handle. Normally we have at least three scaffold decks in the shaft so the rig needed to be movable between levels, through ladder hatches.There’s still some fine tuning to do, but it’s doing a great job so far.”

MAKING LIGHT WORK OF HEAVY METAL Written and designed by:

STEEL sections of a new footbridge have been successfully, and safely, lifted into place at Ewell West station. A team from Osborne are replacing a life-expired footbridge at the station in Surrey with a brand new fully accessible bridge. The scheme featured in April’s issue of The Shield . Lifts on 18 and 25 May used a 250 and a 150-tonne crane to

install stairs, lobbies and trestles on either side of the line. The third lift on 1 June saw two platforms connected with the main span, using a 200-tonne crane. Site Manager Adam Szeremeta said: “Key safety concerns were ensuring accurate set up of the cranes, making sure the lift plan was adhered to and that critical exclusion zones were established.”

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UV been warned The UV index tells us how strong the sun’s UV rays are and when we might be at risk of burning. When the UV Index is 3 or more, the sun is strong enough to cause damage for some skin types so take care and protect your skin, especially if you burn easily. In the UK, the sun’s UV rays are the strongest between 11am and 3pm, from early April to late September. You can check UV index on many online weather forecasts.

The sun’s no fun if you’re not properly protected

BRITAIN IS KNOWN for its unpredictable summer weather. But even in this country people working outdoors for long periods – even when it’s cloudy - risk damaging their skin, or worse, unless proper precautions are taken.

While a mild case of sunburn might be sore and irritating, repeated exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, increases the risk of skin cancer. Getting sunburn, just once every two years, can triple your risk of melanoma. Figures from Cancer Research UK show: • There are around 15,400 new melanoma skin cancer cases in the UK every year, that’s 42 every day (2013-2015) • Melanoma skin cancer is the 5th most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 4% of all new cancer cases (2015) • Since the early 1990s, melanoma skin cancer incidence rates have more than doubled (128%) in the UK. And some people are more at risk than others,

for example those with chronic heart or breathing problems, an those with fair skin and red or fair hair. There are some simple steps to make sure you are protected while working: • Plan your day – carry out more strenuous works during coolest parts of the day • Walk and work in the shade as much as possible • Take frequent short breaks, in a shaded cool area • Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water • If possible wear loose and lightweight clothing • Always use sunscreen on all areas of your skin and reapply regularly throughout the day. Look for a sun protection factor of at least SPF15 • Avoid eating large meals before working in hot environments • Report any medications that can affect you working in hot environments.


Skin scan

Protection factor 50

It is important to check your skin at least once a month for signs of skin cancer if you have had exposure to sunlight. Signs can include: • Growth of moles • Moles that are growing, bleeding or changing in appearance • Scabby spots and sores that do not clear • Skin discolouration If the skin does not improve in four weeks you must seek medical advice.

There’s more information on the Southern Shield toolbox talk, which can be downloaded from:

WHAT DOES GREAT SAFETY LOOK LIKE? THE SHIELD regularly runs stories highlighting the consequences of poor safety. Of course, it’s important to learn from times when mistakes are made but it’s just as important to understand what best practice looks like. Our Construction Managers see different examples of good (and bad) practice every day so we asked two of them to tell us what good safety looks like from their point of view. ________________________________ Stuart Barge, Construction Manager WHEN YOU VISIT A SITE, WHAT DOES ‘GREAT SAFETY’ LOOK LIKE? For me great safety begins with the basics. All vehicles reverse parked, no litter around the site, welfare facilities clean and tidy and all operatives wearing correct PPE. This tells me that staff on site are proud of their work and the image they portray – particularly on sites with public interaction, such as stations. WHAT PERSONAL SAFETY BEHAVIOURS DO YOU LIKE TO SEE? When operatives are approachable, this shows me they are engaged and looking for continuous improvement

on their site. It is also important that staff are receptive to challenge and feel empowered to challenge others. A ‘can do’ attitude to safety also becomes infectious on site.

a focus on sustainable approaches to project delivery. In my opinion, this will further enhance the perception of Network Rail in the future. ________________________________

GIVE US A RECENT EXAMPLE OF A GREAT SAFETY INITIATIVE… A recent large site I was managing, which had a lot of work at height, introduced a numbering system and tracker for its tower scaffolds. The tracking system helped them to identify any issues early and ‘quarantine’ them accurately prior to any remedial work.

John Philbin, Construction Manager

DOES GREAT SAFETY LEAD TO GREAT DELIVERY? Invariably, yes – and great safety always make operatives feel like they are valued. That means they are more willing to behave in a manner that reflects this, in the delivery of their project. DO YOU SEE EXAMPLES OF WHERE STAFF HAVE PUT THE PASSENGER FIRST? Our framework partner throughout Control Period Five (CP5) has communicated well with passengers and the public in general. Signs on its sites are also written in several different languages, to highlight their project work to a wider audience. In CP6 and beyond, I would like to see

WHEN YOU VISIT A SITE, WHAT DOES ‘GREAT SAFETY’ LOOK LIKE? I am constantly looking for best practice as well as the not-so-good practice that crops up from time to time. Great safety in my opinion is getting the little details right such as Heras panels double clipped and padlocks secured. If this level of detail is achieved, it is a good early indicator of a well-run site.

were not within the exclusion zone for piling work but he wanted to ensure I had been fully briefed and inducted before venturing out on site. This showed exactly the attributes needed to run a safe site. DOES GREAT SAFETY LEAD TO GREAT DELIVERY? The two go hand in hand. If work is being carried out safely, productivity will be more efficient. If things are

done unsafely there is more chance of lost time, injury, poor quality and even suspension of work.

WHAT ELSE CAN HELP TURN GOOD SAFETY INTO GREAT SAFETY? Good safety working practices should be recognised and recorded as it lets the contractor know that they are doing a great job – we all like to be told that from time to time!

WHAT PERSONAL SAFETY BEHAVIOURS DO YOU LOOK FOR? Having staff who challenge when in doubt or if they feel there is a better way to do something is something I always encourage and like to see. I constantly try to instil this in younger operatives or new starters. GIVE US A RECENT EXAMPLE… I was being shown round Bam Nuttall’s Haywards Heath drainage project for the first time, when I was challenged, politely, by the piling supervisor. We

Stuart Barge

stay safe in the sunshine

John Philbin




NEVER FELT BETTER The Shield discovers how both safety and wellbeing go hand in hand with delivery at Feltham station THE TEAM at Feltham station, 17 miles southwest of central London, have got a big task to undertake. They’re modernising the station by lengthening its platforms so 10-car trains can stop there, decommissioning a level crossing and creating a new entrance with a new cycle and footbridge. “The level crossing had to be removed because it was notorious for people ducking under the crossing barriers and running up the end of the platforms, which is obviously really unsafe,” said Mark Howe, Assistant Site Manager for Osborne. The team are also creating a new dual-purpose cycle footbridge over the railway line to compensate for the loss of the level crossing and existing concrete footbridge and steel cycle bridge. While the work goes on, a temporary footbridge has been installed. “This means we can get pedestrians over the line safely and not interfere with train services,” said Mark. DAILY INSPECTION The north car park will receive a complete overhaul with new steps, landscaping and accessible slopes installed. A new footbridge is also under construction, and this is where the Osborne team and its contractors are working close to a live line, resulting in safety hazards that everyone needs to be aware of. Every day at 9am, the site management team inspects the site compound and working areas.

GRANT WALKER, SITE ENGINEER, OSBORNE “We keep on top of safety here. If we see something that’s unsafe, we say something and do a Time Out Take Five. Plus, before work we take time to have a little look round and make sure everything is safe. We all know what we’re doing. I use the gym sometimes, mostly for the boxing. I think it’s important to have it on site for wellbeing.”

This allows the team to resolve any safety issues that may arise and ensure that the site is fully functional for the day’s work. The team also encourages staff to report Close Calls, and everyone understands the importance of a Time Out Take Five. This proved vital earlier this year when a highvoltage cable was found within the south walkway piling line. Site Operative Gene Payne from Brendan Keogh scanned the pile location and raised his concerns to the site team when a power signal was being traced. A Time Out Take Five occurred and work was halted to allow the situation to be evaluated. Energy company SSE confirmed with Osborne that the cable belonged to them, and suggested using GRP sheets with steel road plates to protect the cable from Osborne’s piling work. “After this we were able to safely continue with the work,” said Mark. The Feltham team also benefit from a management team that is focused on wellbeing and the physical and mental health of their team. “We have a gym on site for everyone to use,” said Mark. Once the gym equipment has been used, it will be sold at auction and the money raised will be donated to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. “The team here use the gym so it’s been a good addition to the site and shows that we care about the staff and want to help them be healthy,” said Mark.

GEORGE COJOCARU, SHUTTERING CARPENTER, KEOGHS “Safety is very important on site – you have to wake up fresh to come to work and look after yourself and others while you’re working. If you see something that is unsafe you have to say something. The basics are so important, like wearing the right PPE and taking care. The wellbeing on site here is great, I have never seen a gym on a site before! I’ve changed my eating habits too, it really helps with work every day if you are fit and healthy!”

Always use a safety harness when working a



A temporary crossing has been installed

DENNIS DUNK, WORKS MANAGER, OSBORNE “For me, on this site, one of the most important pieces of safety equipment is the head protection. If you fall on the rebars in the ditches, you’re in trouble so it’s vital to have head protection at all times. People really look out for each other on this site and that helps to keep everyone safe. The safe work leaders are great, and everyone gets involved.”

IT’S ALL GOING VERY WELL Senior Site Manager Kenny Griffiths has been living on a plant-based diet for almost a year and a half. He has also inspired some of the team to adopt healthier eating habits on the site and nondairy milks like almond milk can be found in the canteen fridges. Project Manager Arron Dolan is one colleague who’s adopted Kenny’s dietary advice. “Before I did, I was 18.5 stone,” said Arron. “Then Kenny talked me through the benefits of a plant-based diet and I trialled it for a month. I lost half a stone in that short period of time.”

at height, unless other protection is in place

Now, seven months later, Arron has lost five-and-a-half stone. “It’s changed my life,” said Arron. “I used to be asthmatic, but I haven’t used my pump for seven months. I was having to use it three or four times a day before I started this journey. “I was surprised about how alert I felt in the mornings after cutting out dairy and meat. My mood is now always lifted and I wake up feeling fresh and ready to start the day.” “Doing this has changed my life and it’s thanks to Kenny’s persuasion and the focus on health and wellbeing at the Feltham site.”

Kenny Griffiths

Arron Dolan




THIS picture may be a light-hearted look at the dangers of a badly secured site, but it highlights a serious issue.

When a 12-year-old boy slipped off a scaffold ladder on an inadequately guarded site, he sustained life-changing injuries requiring multiple operations. As a result he has no bladder or bowel control and is only able to walk short distances. The boy had climbed to the top platform of the scaffold and climbed the uppermost ladder to a height of around 10 metres. The ladder slipped, causing him to lose his balance and fall to the ground.

The company responsible was fined £160,000 after The HSE’s investigation found the security arrangements for preventing access to the scaffolding, especially by children from a nearby school, were not good enough. Stories like this show why it’s important to follow best practice. Here are some of the essentials: • Always lock and secure access points to sites at the end of the working day • Close and repair gaps beneath gates and fences that can be crawled through • Remove keys and leave all plant and equipment secure


• Any signs of trespass, such as damaged fencing or well-worn paths should be reported and areas made secure • E nsure open excavations are fenced off • All flammable materials, potentially hazardous substances and gases must be removed or made secure • Remove or block access to height. SEE IT, FIX IT, REPORT IT If you find any issues or potential hazards on your site, raise a Close Call.



LEARNING THE ROPES When it comes to safe working, Anna Hobenael is not hanging about

WHEN your work involves hanging from the side of a steep slope, it’s no surprise that safety is always on your mind. That’s the position Anna Hobenael regularly finds herself in. She works for CAN, a company that specialises in rope access to construction projects. These include bridges, tower blocks and railway embankment sites, such as Little Browns Cutting near Edenbridge in Kent, where Anna worked alongside staff from BAM on a project earlier this year. She was part of a team installing 10-metre soil nails into the bank to stabilise and strengthen it, and fixing netting over them – all while suspended on ropes. As well as technical skills, it requires a head for heights and a safety-first attitude. “It is important to have trust in your equipment and know how it works,” said Anna, who has since moved on to a road embankment project in Wales. “The first thing you do on site is to make sure everything is in working order. We always work with two ropes, the main line and a backup as well as a harness and the various devices on it. Checking these is vital.” SMOOTHLY AND SAFELY Anna took up her role at the start of 2019 after completing her level 1 rope access training. She needs to complete 1,000 hours before she can progress to level 2 and works under the supervision of at least one level 3 colleague. “They are there to make sure everything is running safely – that the knots, equipment and PPE are correct. And they are there in case something ever went wrong,” she said. Engineering runs in Anna’s family – Anna’s brother works for Rolls Royce and her father is an electrician and mechanic. She also showed engineering prowess at college. “For a product design project, we had to

Anna, pictured at a highway work site in Wales

drop an egg from a balcony without it breaking,” she recalled. “I put the egg inside the cardboard tube from a gaffer tape roll, with some tissue for cushioning and taped a balloon on either side. I think mine was the only one that didn’t break!” A short time working in an office persuaded her that she was more suited to the outdoor life. Having enjoyed climbing as a hobby, she decided to apply for a rope technician role. “I knew I wasn’t afraid of heights, so thought I’d give it a go,” she said. SPEAKING UP But it’s not only height which brings safety risks. “In some ways the ropes are the easy part of the job – it’s the mud in rainy weather that’s the hardest,” Anna explained. That’s when mud gets stuck to your boots and they become very heavy and slippery.” “Often, we work on vertical drops where this isn’t an issue but at Little Browns Cutting we were on a slope, so keeping our footing was more of a challenge. You need to have boots with a very good grip.” In a role that requires a lot of travelling, avoiding fatigue is also critical. For Anna, however, the greatest risk comes not from height, tiredness or slippery slopes but from silence. “If we think something is too dangerous, we are encouraged to speak up and stop,” she said. “We are always encouraged to talk about safety and discuss potentially better ways of working. “For me, that’s the most important part of the training – to raise questions if you are unsure. Speaking up is important for your own safety and for others too. In many ways, someone who keeps quiet is the most dangerous thing on a site.”

“Keeping quiet can be the most dangerous thing on a site” Always use equipment that is fit for its intended purpose







DRIVING is one of the most dangerous activities that most of us undertake. Do you always plan your journeys properly so that you get to your destination safely? Here are some of the things you should think about before and during your journey.

Never work or drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol






27 MILES = 46 MILES =


Always obey the speed limit and wear a seat belt


Never use a handheld or handsfree phone, or programme any other mobile device, while driving









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The Shield June 2019  

The Shield June 2019