AVONSIDE GROUP has won the NFRC Health and Safety Gold Award 2020 in the Roofing Awards.
The Group’s SHEQ Manager, Sarah Burke submitted their entry to the awards. The award submission form asked questions about the group’s accidents, health and safety stats, RIDDOR reported accidents and any HSE non-conformities.
Avonside Health & Safety
The form also required information on actions Avonside Group has implemented for health and safety which are exemplary. To meet the ‘exemplary’ criteria, Sarah wrote about the work Avonside Group has done with the NFRC to raise awareness of the importance of leaving internal fall-protection in place. It is particularly important on new housing developments that fall protection is in place until the main roof covering is installed to prevent falls from height. These falls are one of the biggest causes of accidents and fatalities in construction.
Working with the NFRC on Internal Fall Protection
As well as Sarah meeting with NFRC health & safety officer Gary Walpole, Avonside Group has worked with customers to ensure the correct internal fall protection systems remain in place throughout the duration of their works.
Sarah commented: “I thought housebuilders getting hectic with newbuild housing due to the Stamp Duty holiday extension would result in a spike in accidents, as construction sites got busier. But accidents on our sites remained low, and I largely put this down to COVID making staff more aware of health and safety in a wider sense.”
Avonside Staff Training
Avonside Group offering staff online training will also have contributed to increased health and safety awareness. Sarah has been offering staff, including managers, one-hour CPD courses each month. They cover various subjects, from Risk Assessments to Principal Contract Management.
Sarah explained: “It’s always been difficult to take roofers offsite and hard to get roofers all in one room. But now staff can login from their phones and participate in more accessible training. The training is more popular, and people are more interested because it’s available in short, bite-sized chunks. Because of this, I think staff will continue to book onto CPD courses after lockdown. In fact, I have sessions booked in for April and May and people have said they have already benefited from what’s been covered in previous CPD courses.”
Sarah adds: “COVID has remapped everything we do at Avonside. We’ve always had the technology, but now we are really seeing the benefits it can bring. Online training is more economical with there being less travelling. And even our health and safety committee meetings, that used to be in person, are now delivered over Microsoft Teams. More people attend now they’re online.”