Site discipline programme cuts behaviour problems

Nearly all employees of NG Bailey who have embarked on a site discipline programme that uses a collaborative approach with employees to tackle unsafe behaviour and reduce the risk of site accidents have had no further onsite behavioural problems. The success rate for the programme, part of the company’s ‘Safety first and foremost’ initiative, was 97%.

Site supervisors work with employees who have carried out an unsafe act to help them identify why they acted unsafely. A behavioural-improvement plan is then developed to help ensure the behaviour does not happen again.

The approach marks a departure from traditional construction-industry practices of reprimanding or dismissing employees, with little or no guidance about what they did wrong. That system, according to NG Bailey, moves behavioural problems around — with dismissed or reprimanded employees able to join a new site with little or no knowledge or how their behaviour was unsafe or what they can do to fix it.

Stuart Mortimer, director of safety, health, environment and quality, explains, ‘Research shows that unsafe behaviour is a major cause of site accidents. For every 330 unsafe acts, there is like to be a serious injury. This means that every time we prevent an unsafe act, we potentially prevent a serious injury.

‘Employee recognition, understanding and rehabilitation are paramount in addressing this. With our new programme, we set clear boundaries up front about what is and is not acceptable onsite behaviour, and take decisive, constructive action when these rules are not followed. While this approach seems simple, it’s actually a giant leap for our industry.’

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