BDC Magazine

Horbury Joinery

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BDC 317 : Jun 2024

Horbury Joinery

Featuring Horbury Joinery: Interview With Contracts Director David Bastow

  Horbury Safe (The Following is a Promoted Article) Health and safety has never been so pivotal to operational approach. In the construction industry today we are increasingly seeing businesses tailor their strategy to health and safety best practice. That’s because it not only ticks the boxes of legislation but facilitates the development of a working environment where staff want to be; where its expertise, as well as its wellbeing, is valued. Importantly, more and more companies in the industry are witnessing the commercial potential of these vital foundations. Horbury Joinery, which is part of the multi-disciplined national service provider Horbury Group, is one such example. Indeed, it has taken its reputation for the highest standards of craftsmanship and applied this to the safety and wellbeing of its staff. The Group has worked tirelessly to improve policies and procedures, analysing where incidents occurred, why they occurred and what could be changed to reduce the risk. Taking a holistic approach, the Group established Environ Safety Management Ltd, a dedicated company specialising in training and consultancy. This has brought huge benefits to the Group as a whole, with key members from each of the company’s divisions applying their knowledge in order to influence policy, find areas of improvement and promote best practice. This has helped, for example, to alleviate challenges deriving from having different trades on site at the same time. Policy dictates basic principles of health and safety but depending on the nature of the project, the lead trade will see a dedicated contracts manager, skilled in the relevant trade, write the method statement and risk assessment. This ensures they are fit for purpose. When divisions work collaboratively, contracts managers from each trade will come together to develop a method statement that encompasses the exacting standards demanded by the Group. The health and safety committee meets regularly to identify strengths as well as areas of weakness to inform policy and drive standards. For instance, through analysis of accident statistics within the joinery division, data showed that the majority of incidents involved the trapped or cut fingers of agency workers during their first thirty days of employment. Horbury Group aimed to reduce this risk at its source. It worked with its provider of agency labour to ensure the right sorts of people – with relevant experience or qualifications – were being put forward for work with Horbury. For any vulnerable people, the company would provide extended training and support. Within three months of this initiative going live, accident rates to fingers were reduced significantly. Contracts Director David Bastow, who also heads Horbury’s health and safety company Environ, says it’s the moral duty of a construction business to take care of its workforce. “We’ve turned health and safety from a blocker into an aid. What we’ve learned over the years is that health and safety is very behavioural and we’ve found that if you can instil high standards at the top level and filter it down to the sites, operatives understand that is the standard you must work towards. We call it Horbury Safe – and that not only meets legislation but goes above it, to develop levels of competency that ensures the working environment is as safe as possible. “Each quarter we look at accidents and near-misses and analyse them – are there any trends we can identify and target for improvement? Of course, it’s easy to target the RIDDOR’s because they are by definition far more significant but by analysing minor incidents we can make dramatic improvements to our overall health and safety procedure.” One of the changes the Group made was to only accept staff if their CSCS cards were gained for the trade in which they planned to work. “Some companies are happy for staff to have any CSCS card to get on site. We see that as wrong,” adds David. Horbury’s approach is complemented by an incentivised system. “Each site gets audited by our health and safety company. The site’s competency is scored and those points go on a leaderboard. Human nature means you don’t want to be at the bottom. That’s seen our teams really buy into the initiative; you can see them looking after each other and that’s very pleasing.” Another recent initiative has been the launch of the “Workforce Forum” which invites site-based operatives from each division to sit down with the directors to discuss day to day challenges. Honesty is encouraged and where Horbury can improve it will. Recently David was able to reveal at the company’s bi-annual seminar that accident severity rates were down to 0.06, well below the company’s target of 0.25. Accreditation to certified bodies such as CHAS identifies the competencies evidenced by the Group. David acknowledges that since the company embraced health and safety through its dedicated company, it has worked more closely with CHAS to enhance its policies. “Before we developed the health and safety committee I’ll admit we used to wait for the email reminder to say the CHAS audit is coming up. We’d quickly rally around to check if our policies were up to date. Now it’s an ongoing appraisal of our policies and procedures.” And the relationship between CHAS and the Group is now far more developed than simply passing the annual audit. “Organisations like CHAS are now more supportive and we can tap into that support and develop our policies further. Certain customers won’t let us tender unless we have a CHAS accreditation against us. But it’s not just about getting on tenders, it’s because we truly believe it benefits us as a business. Additionally, when we present to prospective clients and they ask about health and safety, which is always on the agenda, we can highlight our accreditations.” Looking ahead, the company is eager to make its initiative “Horbury Safe” a recognised symbol of excellence. “If you’ve worked with us as a client or you’ve worked with us as a subcontractor, you’ll know what health and safety means because of the value and

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