In the third in a series of articles, we look behind the scenes of Bracknell Roofing and ask key members of staff about their areas of specialism and what makes our business stand out. Audit & Compliance Manager Harry Henderson looks at the issue of health and safety.
The roofing industry hit the headlines recently after a survey claimed that it was one of the top three most dangerous jobs in the UK. You have to take some of these headlines with a pinch of salt – but there’s no getting away from the fact that there are higher than average levels of workplace risk involved in roofing, which is why the number one priority of our business is the health, safety and welfare of every employee, subcontractor and other trade on every site we work on because everyone should expect to work safely on Bracknell Roofing projects.
It’s by no means an exhaustive list, but here are a few key points that demonstrate our approach and commitment to health and safety.
Site-specific risk assessment and method statements (RAMSs) are the foundations of every project we work on, and a lot of time and effort go into assessing sites and schedules of work to plan for every eventuality.
The other assessments we conduct include Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH), detailing the chemicals in the materials used on site. Even manufacturers’ fixing specifications are added to the bundle of paperwork for each project.
The same attention to detail applies in other areas. For example, each person working onsite has two toolbox talks per month: one on safety and the other on quality. Ensuring these happen is one of the KPIs of our Contracts Managers – so they happen. We invest significantly in training both employees and subcontractors to ensure that we have the right skills and knowledge across the business to promote a safe working culture, which we believe is so important to our success.
If anything happens onsite, no matter how small, we produce a hazard report. This is shared across our entire business because it flags up any incidents and it serves as a reminder that any lapse in concentration or awareness of a roofer’s surroundings can result in something that could compromise the safety of the individual and those around them.
Having all of our paperwork and processes in place is all very well in looking after our roofers, but it’s a two-way street with main contractors, as they also have their own responsibilities and processes in place to ensure a safe work environment for all trades on site.
Take scaffolding, for example: we are reliant on the contractors to ensure that it is erected correctly to give our roofers and other trades working at height safe working conditions.
Just because we have RAMSs, COSHH evaluations, safe working procedures and a whole host of other things in place doesn’t mean to say we can’t keep striving for higher standards – and this is exemplified by our commitment to the standards of the National Examination Board for Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH).
We are well underway with plans to ensure that we have NEBOSH standards embedded across the business, with one person in each branch achieving accreditation.
As well as all the upsides of keeping everyone safe, one key benefit of the robust measures we have in place is the reputation we have in the roofing industry as a responsible employer that looks after the safety of staff and contractors. This helps us to compete for business in a very competitive marketplace. It also helps us to attract subcontractors to join us as we continue to grow the business.