For Carillion Canada, diverse risks present both challenges and opportunities. Behind much of the company’s complex construction, road maintenance, power distribution and service businesses are varying cultures, backgrounds and languages.
“In one project, we might have porters pushing hospital beds around; in another we could see linemen working high up a tower charged with 500 volts of electricity,” says Alistair McIntyre, vice-president, health and safety, at the 3,850-employee company based in Concord, Ont.
The opportunities lie in forging a unified health and safety culture by changing the basic behaviour of individuals and groups to constantly look out for each other and pull together as one company.
“Safe behaviour is what turns systems and procedures into reality,” says McIntyre.
“These messages all have one purpose and one goal — the health and safety of our people — but the danger of having so many separate messages is that some can be missed or ignored,” says McIntyre.
All safety communication material features the word ONE, so there are posters with the phrases ONE Culture, ONE Chance, ONE Team, ONE Way or ONE Body (encouraging workers to take care of it, for example).
Target Zero is supported through a number of other programs, including the Don’t Walk By program, launched in 2011. A key performance indicator that encourages everyone to report at least one item for improvement on a monthly basis, it began with a total of 1,000 suggestions per month. Through various initiatives, the monthly total has risen to nearly 15,000 while accident frequencies have dropped.
“A great safety record doesn’t happen by accident; it requires worker engagement,” adds Alan Finlay, worker co-chair for the company’s joint health and safety committee at the Niagara Regional Police Service Headquarters project in Niagara Falls, Ont. This includes identifying and challenging unsafe acts and conditions, learning from incidents and improving for the future.
Building on the successful model of the safety initiatives, the company has recently introduced the “Health Like Safety” program that uses traditional safety tools to manage health issues. These include clear targets (zero health-related incidents caused or made worse by work) and plans (working as one company).
Part of the health drive is supporting teams of employees participating in the Global Corporate Challenge, a workplace health initiative that encourages participants to take 10,000 steps per day. Many of the employees who entered last year’s competition reported losing weight and increasing productivity — positive impacts on morale, health and well-being.