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Cross-Industry Stand-Down Takes Place To Tackle Health & Safety Challenges

Posted: 26/04/2017

Earlier this month (April 19th), thousands of workers from more than 1,000 office and production facilities, as well as building sites, downed their tools as part of Stop. Make a Change, a scheme designed to address some of the biggest health and safety challenges faced by the infrastructure sector in the UK.

Some 60,000 people took part in the stand-down, which is thought to be the biggest event of its kind ever undertaken by the construction industry in the country. Over 50 organisations have pledged their support to the initiative, which was launched back in November last year, while over 30 are now making specific commitments that relate to priorities including fatigue, mental health, respiratory health and plant safety.

The scheme has been supported by the Construction Industry Training Board’s (CITB’s) Structured Fund, with the group’s Chief Executive, Sarah Beale commenting: “It’s great to see so many employers getting behind this important campaign. While we know that there has been sustained improvements in health and safety in recent years, there is much more to be done. Stop. Make a Change signals a new, heightened awareness of health and wellbeing issues among construction firms and their employees across the UK, which CITB is pleased to support.”

Those businesses involved in the initiative will later provide feedback on the impact that the commitments they’ve agreed to have had on their operations, with best practice to be shared between all contributing groups later on in 2017.

Participating companies stopped work from 10:00 until 12:00 on April 18th so that staff and suppliers could take the time to discuss the challenges they face as individuals and as the sector as a whole, and how these can be overcome.

If you’re interested in taking part yourself, you’ll first have to identify the commitments you want to make with regards to the four issues mentioned above. Because the model is flexible, you’re able to decide on these commitments that are most closely aligned with the nature of your particular business, your individual risks and priorities and your level of maturity relating to each of the four topics. Even though the stand-down has already taken place, there’s no reason why you can’t still pledge to focus on making positive improvements in the workplace this year.

What could prove interesting is to have a look at the different companies that have pledged to make commitments to see what they’re doing and if it’s something you could undertake yourself. Amiante STR, for example, has pledged to tackle fatigue by setting controls on the use of out-of-hours emails, as well as conducting refresher training with all site staff to address plant safety.

Morgan Sindall, meanwhile, has committed to actively promote mental wellbeing for all staff, as well as segregating workers and mobile plant on all its projects moving forward.

For help and advice relating to your own incident response plans, get in touch with us today.