At Veolia Water Technologies, health and safety excellence is a key part of how we operate every day. We have been repeatedly recognised for our achievements in this area and it plays a fundamental role in why we are able to forge such long term relationships with our customers.
How do we approach health and safety?
Health and safety is our number one priority to ensure we protect our employees, subcontractors and customers as well as anyone involved with or impacted by our work. We take a proactive approach to safety at all times and operate an open-door policy. We want to instil in our employees our Always Safe rules and empower them to stop work and report an issue if they feel it is not safe. Our Always Safe rules are a set of guidelines that every employee commits to adhering to at all times.
Training is a core part of our approach. We pride ourselves on ensuring that our colleagues and subcontractors are trained to high health and safety standards, giving them the ability to assess the risks, introduce the necessary controls and work safely at all times. As a minimum, all our Site Managers have a Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) Site Managers certificate and Construction, Design and Management (CDM) training. All of our service engineers complete the Client Contractor National Safety Group (CCNSG) Safety Passport programme and are trained in risk assessment, manual handling, chemical handling, working at height, asbestos awareness and basic electrical safety.
In addition, our entire team is trained to carry out Point of Work Risk Assessments. These are site specific assessments that highlight all hazards and risks in the environment to ensure suitable and sufficient controls are in place to allow work to be carried out in a safe manner.
How does this set us apart in our sector?
Safety is an essential part of the operation of any site and customers need to be assured that anyone visiting their premises will comply with all safety guidelines. We clearly communicate our commitment to safety with each project or maintenance contract we undertake. We also work collaboratively with clients and other contractors to continuously improve our approach.
A complete commitment to health and safety best practice has long been part of our offering to customers. A testament to our success is the long-term relationships we have been able to build, based on excellent customer service, unrivalled technical knowledge of water and wastewater treatment and a positive approach to the safety of everyone involved.
We have consistently been recognised for our commitment to health and safety. We have been awarded the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Gold Award for Health & Safety for 17 consecutive years. This has earned us the prestigious RoSPA Order of Distinction accolade – awarded only to organisations which have maintained health and safety excellence and received the Gold Award more than 15 times consecutively. We are also CHAS and Achilles Verify accredited, Safe Contractor approved and a member of the British Safety Council.
How is our approach evolving in 2020?
Our strong health and safety culture has provided us with the ideal foundations to meet the challenges of working in a world coping with COVID-19. Our dedicated service teams have worked extremely hard to meet client demands through these difficult times. To keep our engineers on the road while ensuring complete safety of our people, customers’ teams and the public, we have adapted and introduced new measures and procedures. This included new COVID-19 risk assessments and controls to ensure we maintained the highest levels of safety.
However, our underlying principles have not changed. Every employee is expected to consider the risks and if at any point they feel it is unsafe to commence or continue work they are empowered to stop and alert the relevant people. Our success during these difficult times has been, in part, a result of having the right culture in place already. Our teams have not had to adopt an entirely new approach but simply apply their training to a new potential risk.
Health and safety is at the core of what we do, from the design and construction of new water technology assets to regular maintenance checks. We are proud of what we have achieved, as demonstrated by our strong customer relationships and recognition by RoSPA. It is the building of a robust and positive health and safety culture that has helped us meet the challenges that recent months have presented.
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About the Author
Lyndsey is a fully chartered H&S practitioner with a wealth of experience. She has worked for Veolia for 23 years in a variety of positions, starting out working for UK & Ireland she is now the Health & Safety Manager for Northern Europe.