Worker engagement on “The Greenline Underground Metro Project – Qatar”
Alison White, Director at Quality Safety Training Ltd, was involved in a long-term project to ensure health and safety in a large-scale building project in the Qatari city of Doha. Our client required us to create and implement a health and safety regime to ensure the wellbeing of their workforce of over 500 employees.
With the site spreading across the city of Doha and over 500 workers on one site, it is understandably difficult to monitor H&S practices and reduce accident risks. To combat this, the first thing on our agenda was to engage all workers and the management team to commit to a ‘Zero Harm Policy’.
Workers were taught the philosophy and practices behind such a policy and explained that the concept involved aiming to achieve a zero accident record. This is accomplished by each worker being highly aware of their actions and looking out for their colleagues at all times using certain methodology, rather than relying wholly on a supervisor.
It was quickly observed that language, multi cultural backgrounds and individual behaviour were the largest barriers to safety.
Commitment from the management team was fundamental, therefore management and supervisor training was delivered to further develop the skills needed to engage the workers in understanding the importance of safety.
STARRT Briefings were introduced and the safety manager was present to ensure the briefings were understood and delivered correctly. In time they became an integral part of the beginning of each working day.
‘Tool Box Talks’ were introduced and delivered by the supervisors to demonstrate that the whole team was committed to the safety of the entire workforce.
Each Saturday a mandatory 10 minute safety message was implemented, which saw the whole site cease work to ensure the entire workforce was present.
This began to develop from the time the safety manager arrived on site. A no blame culture was communicated and a suggestion box was introduced along with a Health and Safety monthly award for the workers. Communication was the most powerful tool to help the development of the workers’ mindset in understanding safety.
The Safety Manager consistently informed workers of any errors, before supporting and encouraging them to complete the job in a more safety conscious manner.
Over time the safety culture slowly changed as workers thought about their actions and possible consequences; understanding the dangers of carrying something out incorrectly. The management team also realised that by giving time to explain the reasons why safety is important, the safety record would improve and their role would become easier.
Involving the workforce, engaging them and taking time to educate them brought many benefits including:
- A low accident/incident rate (no major accidents were recorded).
- A positive change in attitude and culture.
- The whole project achieved 2 million man hours without a major accident.
Safety is dependent upon the entire workforce, not individuals. By working together and aiming to achieve zero harm, we can all contribute to providing a safe working environment.