Agreeing that safety planning must begin at the earliest design stage of any construction project, the importance of ongoing communications between clients and all contractors including worker and management, continuous training, and checking references and experience of contractors were just some of the points made by key global practitioners attending the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) first-ever joint forum on the subject of contractor safety.
Nearly 100 people from the construction, toy pharmaceutical, oil and telecommunications industries representing multi-national organizations attended the joint IOSH-ASSE international forum "Global Best Practices in Contractor Safety," held last week in London.
Citing the explosion in construction around the globe and an increase in construction injuries and fatalities, attendees came together to share best practices for managing contractor safety in a global workplace.
"We are pleased that we have this opportunity to begin an ongoing dialogue on this very important topic," ASSE Vice President Kathy Seabrook said in her opening address. "This issue affects everyone, everywhere and we-re here to look at solutions and to share ideas."
"This meeting provided a unique development opportunity for senior occupational safety and health personnel, not only from the excellent presentations, but also by debating the collective wisdom and experience of fellow professionals," said IOSH President Ian Waldram.
At the forum, the attendees heard from business owners and how they work with contractors; from UK''s Health & Safety Executive-Head of Construction Rodger Evans on the health and safety challenges which the construction industry faces today; and from the global construction industry on what best practices they use to integrate safety into all of their projects.
Some of the best practices presented at the meeting included Hasbro''s three-pronged contractor safety process which included post-work requirements, and Hasbro''s process for managing contractor safety risks along with communicating and integrating safety practices from the beginning of all projects.
For instance, one attendee noted following the group discussion on how to improve global best practice in contractor safety in third world countries said, "I have found in my research that developing world projects can outperform European and U.S. projects in terms of safety."
"Contract workers in these countries have no preconceived ideas of what is a bad practice and through education from the companies represented here today, they learn only how to work in a safe way," echoed another attendee.
"I challenge all of you to take this information and experience that we''ve shared and learned today and communicate this to others," said Paul Weida, Black & Veatch vice president of loss management. "Because if its stays in this room, it''s useless. We need to pass on this knowledge and engage others in participating in our ongoing efforts to increase global best practices in the area of contractor safety."
by Virginia Sutcliffe