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Traffic Management expert backs Significant Risk Thinking

Traffic Management expert backs Significant Risk Thinking


With the launch of a suite of webinars targeted at educating the wider industry about Significant Risk Thinking, David Shaw, Director of HW Martin (Traffic Management) Ltd, reflects on the company’s involvement in the Supply Chain Safety Leadership Group (SCSLG) so far.

“We’ve been involved with the SCSLG for the last two or three years, our motivation being that 80% of our workforce are on the ‘coalface’ exposed to significant risks every night that could cause life-changing harm.

“And, sadly, fatalities and life-changing harm continue to exist, even within businesses that are statistically considered high performing. We wanted to help the industry that we cherish – that many of us have been part of for our whole careers – change the way it approaches health and safety.

“The SCSLG is a community of like-minded people from National Highways and its supply chain who are passionate about eliminating the significant risks on the Strategic Road Network. I join key decision-makers and policy writers from companies such as Ringway, Kier, Octavius, Skanska, WJ, Connect Plus Services, Amey, Carnell and FM Conway to engineer change in our industry.

“Albert Einstein said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. I feel this sums up the approach of the SCSLG perfectly. Because, by changing our thinking about risk we are striving to eliminate them and continuously improve health and safety performance across the Strategic Road Network.

“This groundbreaking approach was used to profile common risks from across the supply chain. We identified nine, including incursions and IPV strikes. Working groups were formed for each of the nine significant risks comprised of representatives from the member organisations to improve safety performance through collaboration across the supply chain.

“We apply “above the line” solutions to each risk to deliver innovative, sustainable risk controls that eliminate or at least isolate the hazard and create an environment where people can fail safely and learn from their mistakes.

“As well as being an active participant in the SCSLG Leadership Group, I’m also part of the Incursion and IPV Strike Working Group and the Safe by Design Working Group. Our Operations Director, Andy Graham is an active participant in the Occupational Road Risk Working Group and Jim Clegg, Group Head of HSEQ is part of the Occupational Health Working Group.

“Joanna Hill, our Marketing and Communications Manager supports the Communications Working Group helping distribute the key messages and outcomes of the movement. Such as the forthcoming webinars that will help businesses like ours embed significant risk thinking into their approach to safety.

“We recognize and celebrate all the great work that has already been done and will continue to be delivered in terms of leadership, common intent, embedding culture change and mental health awareness – all of which have been pivotal in driving our industry forward and reducing accidents and ill-health across the board.

“It’s accepted in life that people make mistakes, but I cannot accept that a mistake in the workplace can lead to life-changing harm, even a fatality. It’s for this reason that the SCSLG are now implementing the new strategic direction industry-wide beginning with educational webinars that will help leaders at every level be accountable for significant risk thinking at work.

“It’s my intention to remain part of the SCSLG for as long as I can so that we can continue to be recognized as an organisation strategically aligned to National Highways, but also, at the forefront of change.”