Safeguarding the wellbeing, health and safety of our employees, workforce and customers is the top operational priority for the Group. Persimmon is committed to being proactive in aiming to remove and reduce the health and safety risks associated with all areas of the work we undertake.
Training for all our directly employed personnel, including construction, sales, customer care and office based staff, is at the top of the wellbeing agenda. The Group’s Health and Safety Policy and management systems detail roles and responsibilities for our employees and provide additional guidance and advice on how to successfully meet the duties allocated to them.
Due to the volume of our build programme and high numbers of site based personnel, construction activities – including work at height, plant and pedestrian segregation, and site security/public protection – have been identified as the highest risk area for our people. Our Group Health and Safety Policy therefore stipulates, firstly, that pre-start planning is undertaken to identify controls to remove and reduce the risks associated with construction work activities and, secondly, that these controls are implemented correctly at all times.
The Group Health and Safety Policy also provides detailed guidance for Sales and Customer Care staff. Our sales areas and access to show homes and other properties are risk assessed and planned to ensure both the personal safety of our people together with the wellbeing of prospective purchasers and visitors to our sites. The activities of our Customer Care teams are managed via specific work related risk assessments that provide our skilled workforce with details of the necessary controls to employ in order to ensure the safety of themselves and our customers.
We strongly promote, to both our directly employed and supply chain workforce, the collective and individual responsibility we all have to ensure the controls required to mitigate the risks associated with our work activities are implemented at all times.
In addition to the training and planning that is undertaken, both our Group Health and Safety Department and our operational management carry out regular monitoring and review of all our work activities in order to maintain the required standards detailed in the Group Health and Safety Policy.
Over recent years we have significantly increased the resources of our Group Health and Safety Department to maintain high standards of health and safety across all of our operations. From a Group perspective this investment has focused on monitoring and reviewing the effective implementation of our health and safety management systems as well as ensuring detailed incident led investigations are carried out. In addition to carrying out Group functions, the increased resource has also enhanced our ability to provide services based on the needs of each operating business, such as bespoke training, pre-start meeting attendance and scheduled site visits with management.
In addition to the internal checks, we also engage the support of an external Health and Safety Audit provider. Each operating business within the Group is audited to test the effectiveness of the local management team in implementing the construction related requirements of the Group Health and Safety Policy. The audit consists of two days of site visits followed by a day of interviews with the local managing director and other department heads. The overall aim is that by implementing the requirements of the Group Health & Safety Policy and responding to the findings from our monitoring and review processes, we can deliver continual improvement in our health and safety performance levels.
As part of our incident led investigations we notify the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) of relevant work related accidents under the Reporting of Incidents, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). In 2016, the number of RIDDORs remained the same as in 2015 at 47. However, our Annual Incident Injury Rate (AIIR) decreased to 3.59 RIDDORs per 1,000 workers (2015: 3.62) and, due to the increase in build, the number of RIDDORs per legal completion reduced to 1 per 327 legal completions in 2016 (2015: 1 per 317 legal completions)*.
No. of RIDDOR reportable accidents
(Reporting of Incidents Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations)
No. of RIDDORs per thousand workers
(Reporting of Incidents Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations)
The HSE made 28 unscheduled site visits in 2016 (2015: 39). The HSE were satisfied with or identified minor issues in our operations on 60% of their visits (2015: 74%). The HSE issued 11 Notifications of Contraventions (2015: 10) on the remainder of their visits; there were no Prohibition/Improvement Notices issued (2015: 2). During 2016 we were not subject to any HSE prosecutions and we continue to strive to maintain excellent standards and a good working relationship with the HSE at all times.
The Group compares its annual performance against figures produced by the Home Builders Federation (HBF) Health & Safety Forum and the “all construction industry” statistics produced by the HSE. Both the HBF and HSE collate and publish annual accident reports for the 1 April – 31 March reporting period, and our annual statistics are comparable.
Health and safety training
Training is provided both to our directly employed and supply chain workforce and covers the risks associated with our construction operations, including sales, customer care and office based roles.
As well as new starter inductions and ongoing policy briefings and updates, we co-ordinate and provide Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) recognised training for our Construction Management teams, including Site Safety Plus, Scaffold Inspection, Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment for management.
In addition to the more formal training detailed above we also deliver Toolbox Talks for site personnel, including our supply chain workforce. The topics are agreed and delivered locally by our operating businesses and Group Health and Safety Department, based on performance monitoring findings. Details of the Toolbox Talks programme are maintained in operating business Health and Safety Action Plans.
The Group Health and Safety Department delivers training to senior management that focuses on the importance of leadership in setting the right culture and standards for health and safety across the business. This training also looks at how employees’ behaviours can be influenced to be more aware of health and safety risks and how to minimise and mitigate these risks. The number of health and safety training days co-ordinated and provided by the Group in 2016 was 7,989 (2015: 8,217).The cyclical nature of training programmes in line with standard industry requirements has reduced the number of specific training courses (for example Site Safety Plus, Scaffold Awareness and Lifting Operations) provided by the Group in 2016. However, the number of Toolbox Talks delivered on site by both the Group Health and Safety department and operating business management teams to raise awareness of regulatory and Group Health and Safety policy standards and requirements has remained consistent with 2015. All of our site compounds have facilities for the screening of DVDs on health & safety, specially developed for use by Persimmon. The DVDs include a specific message from the Group’s senior management and cover pre-start and site closedown activities as well as a wide range of work related topics. Additional DVDs have been produced to assist in the delivery of Toolbox Talks on operational issues such as working at height, traffic management and occupational health.
The Group views effective training as a two-way street and whilst there is a requirement for management and others to impart key safety messages via Toolbox Talks and other means, we actively encourage engagement from our employees and sub-contractor workforce. This includes, for example, offering ideas and suggestions on all aspects of health and safety as well as reporting all incidents, near misses and dangerous occurrences.
Persimmon continues to work closely with the Home Builders Federation (HBF) Health and Safety Forum to improve health and safety standards in the sector and is a signatory to the HBF Health and Safety Charter. The Group frequently contributes to HBF Health and Safety Forum initiatives and campaigns, and the Group’s Health and Safety Director represents the HBF on the Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC).
In response to the draft Health and Safety Plan for the Construction Sector that has been produced by the HSE, the HBF has agreed the following five areas for the house building industry to focus on:
- Occupational Health
- Sharing best practice/ lessons learnt
- Traffic Management
- Lobbying and engagement
- Contractors Supervision
The Group Health and Safety Department is aiming to have representation on each of the Working Groups charged with progressing these matters in 2017.
Persimmon remains a strong supporter of the HBF’s Qualifying the Workforce Initiative, which requires construction based personnel to obtain Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) Cards. This skills based certification scheme aims to provide evidence of an individual’s ability to carry out work they are engaged to undertake. As part of obtaining a CSCS Card the individual must complete a mandatory health and safety test. The results from the Home Builders Federation October 2016 audit of CSCS Card Holders showed that in 2016, 95% of the Group’s site based workforce held a card (2015: 93%).
|Our Wellbeing — Strategic Objectives|
|In 2017 we will:||Actions and Measurement|
|Continue to raise health and safety awareness amongst our directly employed and supply chain workforce||Improve sharing of best practice across the Group via operational boards|
|Provide robust operational support through our Group Health and Safety Department resource||Co-ordinate and provide practical risk based health and safety training across the workforce|
|Strive to ensure the highest standards of health and safety across our workforce and sites||Aim to reduce the year on year Accident Incident Injury Rate per 1,000 workers|
* The figure for RIDDORs per legal completion reflects the properties we build under our joint venture with St. Modwens.