Heras has reached a landmark for the amount of days that it has been lost-time accident-free in the UK.
The Doncaster-based company – which is Europe’s leading end-to-end supplier of permanent and mobile perimeter protection solutions – has not had any instances of workplace lost-time accidents for more than 500 days.
This milestone is all the more remarkable because this doesn’t just apply to its own offices and stockyard but also includes more than 550 projects in that time on sites around the UK, where its teams have been surveying and installing fencing, automatic gates, barriers and turnstiles – as well as service and maintenance.
The company’s HSE-Q Manager in the UK, Chris Charlesworth, said the safety-first culture comes right from the top of the company and cascades down so that every member of the 120-strong team embraces safe working practices, making them an integral part of every aspect of Heras’s operations.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that every member of the Heras team lives and breathes safe working practices in every aspect of our business, which is why we are so proud to have reached the 500-day mark without any workplace lost-time accidents,” said Chris.
“This achievement is especially significant because of the range of hazardous conditions that we encounter on projects to install perimeter protection and access control solutions.
“Our management team leads from the front, and all the senior people at Heras visit sites at least once a month to see our safety-first approach in action to reinforce our commitment to making sure that every one of our team is working in safe conditions.”
Chris highlighted that safety is always the first item on the agenda for the company’s monthly leadership team meetings, and there’s always scrutiny of all aspects of Heras’s practices.
At an operational level, Heras has achieved ISO 45001, which provides a structured framework for ensuring a safe and healthy workplace. It recently enrolled its installation teams on a Level 2 NVQ for Detecting Underground Utilities – because many of its projects involve excavation on site for fencing and gates, and its installers need to be aware of hazards such as electrical cables, gas pipes and high pressure water mains – which is one of its biggest risks.
At a site level, protocols cover everything from Toolbox Talks for Heras teams and Safety Leadership Interaction sessions to point-of-work risk assessments where other contractors are also working on the same site.
The achievement is another feather in the cap for a company that was honoured by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) earlier this year as one of just 200 UK companies named COVID Workplace Champions. Heras was recognised for going above and beyond in putting measures in place during the COVID pandemic to keep its staff safe – while making sure that it was still business as usual.
Reflecting on the achievement, Chris said that Heras’s approach to safety first is a rolling programme of continuous improvement – and there’s plenty of work still to do.
He added: “We are constantly looking at ways we can improve our approach to safety because every member of our team should continue to have full confidence in Heras to ensure they can go home to the ones they love at the end of every working day.”