Editor, UBM

March 19, 2015

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McDermotts taking health and safety training to the boardroom

The construction industry is considered to be one of the most dynamic and complex industrial environments, with HSE (Health & Safety Executive) statistics stating it accounts for 31 per cent of the UK’s total workplace accidents. Over recent years, the CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) has reported skills deficiencies and gaps in training and development activity, whilst HSE Research argued that education and training in the construction industry has defaulted.

At a time when the CITB identified that by far and away the key business challenge for employers in the construction sector is the need for increased sales, a West Midlands civil engineering business has committed to health & safety training as a strategic imperative.

McDermotts is a groundworks and civil engineering company based in Birmingham, West Midlands, supporting some of the country’s largest construction companies. A family founded SME (small medium enterprise), it has one all-encompassing virtue: integrity.

Its strategy was rewarded in 2014 with further year on year growth, inclusion within the London Stock Exchange report “1000 companies to Inspire Britain”, and the achievement of a Zero Accident Frequency Rate. This has been further recognised in recent weeks with McDermotts being shortlisted in the Construction News Awards 2015 within the category of Health and Safety Initiative of the Year.

To achieve its strategy McDermotts invested in specialist expertise. A beneficial training partnership was established with Salutem Ltd, a construction health & safety advisory and training provider who project managed and delivered the entire programme.

Malcolm McDermott (Managing Director) refers to attention to detail being essential to ensure highly effective and relevant training in a dynamic and complex industry.

Attention to detail in terms of defining the training requirements, contextualising and tailoring content, and providing a range of flexible delivery modes became invaluable in the overall success of the health & safety training strategy. For example, specialist courses such as “Avoidance of Underground Services” need to be highly tailored to company procedures and the equipment to be used, something an open course cannot adequately offer.

Today, McDermotts is now fully compliant with UKCG (United Kingdom Construction Group) and customer requirements, but recognises the continuing nature of this training strategy in terms of upskilling new recruits, refresher training, and providing individuals with the skills to effectively implement its management systems.

Matthew AlbuttMatthew Albutt is sales and marketing executive for McDermotts

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