Earlier this year, Hatch launched a project, Working Together Safely Fundamentals, to define expected standards of behaviour for its employees.
“These are 10 fundamental statements about how we will behave as a Hatch employee. That’s what we live by internally,” says Dan Welshons, global director of health and safety at the Mississauga, Ont.-based company, which provides consulting, engineering and project implementation services to the mining industry.
The 10 fundamentals are based on common hazards the 2,700 Hatch employees face and range from basic principles, such as embedding safety in work planning to more specific ones, such as working at height and road and vehicle safety.
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Welshons says the 10 fundamentals program has had a big impact on the business.
“Lots of people say it makes a difference on our project sites and within our office settings. It’s a frequent topic of conversation, which helps keep the momentum going. We can all absorb them and see how they fit into our everyday life at work,” he says.
Hatch’s Visible Felt Leadership program promotes safety discussions at project sites. During conversations with contract workers, project management teams ask workers if they have any safety concerns. During the last few years, Welshons says, this practice has been successful at improving safety.
“It creates a good two-way conversation between contract workers and management teams. It engages leaders, it engages workers to make things better.”
Martin Cartier, regional director for construction, North America, says safety at Hatch is the responsibility of all employees, not just of health and safety specialists. This creates a different attitude throughout the company: health and safety is part of every activity.
For example, every meeting involving more than three people starts with a health and safety share, a five-minute discussion in which everyone is expected to participate regularly.
“We want health and safety to be part of everyday life for everyone,” he says.
The company’s health and safety policy undergoes a comprehensive review annually to ensure it remains applicable and is understood by everyone, he adds.
Risk management is a top priority, Cartier says, in part because Hatch employees often work in extreme conditions. The aim is to reduce risks before workers arrive at a work site.
“We try to avoid the problem by designing differently, by planning differently. So when you’re at that remote site, you know what the remaining risks are and you know how to attack those remaining risks,” he says.
Welshons says Hatch’s incident rates get better each year. Through constant performance tracking and reviewing trends, the company is continuously addressing whatever safety issues those trends reveal.
“Our goal is no harm,” he says. “That’s the carrot that’s dangling in front of us, to keep striving towards. It’s always about improving. You can never stop.”