Health and safety is a subject that should never be far from the forefront of any business’ agenda that operates in the construction sector. The large, ambitious, and often challenging projects that businesses are working on everyday mean that designing out risks and taking precautions should always be carefully considered. In this article, Managing Director at Land & Water, Kevin Kirkland, outlines how the business continues to approach health and safety. 

It can be all too easy for businesses to fall into the trap of viewing health and safety as a paperwork process. However, at Land & Water we believe it is a behaviour. As an organization, we have the reputation of thinking outside of the box – whether it is designing carbon out of project, building habitat creation schemes or health and safety, our teams work tirelessly to deliver projects for clients in a way that manages risk, but also maximizes the potential benefits of a project. 

It is a firm belief that outstanding health and safety starts internally. Like all responsible businesses, our staff receive on-going training, risk assessments are conducted and we are up to date with legislation. But outstanding health and safety should also priorities wellbeing. After all if we are to expect our team to work on site safely, be alert, focussed and conscious of their actions we must ensure that their wellbeing is prioritized. 

As a result of this Lynn Puttock has been appointed to the role of Wellbeing Director. In this position Lynn has done an outstanding job of bringing the discussions around wellbeing to the forefront of our organization. Seeing the importance in mental wellness, Lynn was our company’s first accredited Mental Health First Aider ensuring that the team knew that there was always someone trained and ear ready to listen to any concerns. This also meant that the business had someone able to spot warning signs of declining mental wellbeing. 

Within her current role Lynn has helped create an internal mental health support website for the Land & Water employees in order for them to access 24/7 wellbeing assistance. She also continues to regularly visit sites and ensures all employees have access to the correct training including Mental Health First Aid courses. The nature of the work that Land & Water does means that our teams are spread throughout the UK and as a result Lynn has spearheaded the drive to ensure that we have a network of fully trained Mental Health First Aiders working within the business. With 18 qualified personnel our team has plenty of support on offer. 

As a business we are also passionate about fostering the next generation of talent in the construction industry and health and safety is an intrinsic part of this process. It is inextricably linked to career development and is viewed by our team as part of the upskilling and progression process. 

We recently sent our Apprentice Lizzie Asbury on a powerboat training course – the benefits of which are twofold: Lizzie has now been upskilled and is able to take charge of the daily waterborne monitoring on projects such as the one we are carrying out at Blenheim Palace; but she can also do this work safely. 

Speaking about the course Lizzie said: “The course was great fun and we learnt so much over the two days including how to pull up alongside a jetty and hold off from a buoy. I was a complete beginner but now I feel I have the confidence and skills to go out on the safety boat at Blenheim to take DO readings by myself.”   

Team members also recently took part in a safety stand session with Canal & River Trust, Kier Group and Arcadis at the Airedale swing bridge project. Attendees were encouraged to discuss health and safety openly, focusing on sharing best practice across the Trust’s partners. Not only do discussions like this highlight valuable learnings, they also foster relationships with clients. They appreciate that we are in their corner, we want a project to be successful and safety is inextricably intertwined with this. 

Looking for Schemes that support a holistic approach to how business support their staff is another great tactic to ensure that health and safety remains a priority.  Recently Land & Water received its Investors in People accreditation. Receiving this accreditation recognizes that Land & Water Group has robust principles and practices in place to support its people and create a positive working environment. The Investors in People accreditation also recognized the business’ ongoing commitment towards our team as we continue to strive for the sustainable growth of the organization. Going through the accreditation process meant that we had to look at our internal processes, policy and ethos in hyperfocus. As well as highlighting many areas in which we excel, it is also inspiring to see the many areas in which we can continue to grow. 

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