20th January 2010
structure specialist De Boer is championing industry-wide health and safety excellence
by launching a series of specialist training courses for sub-contractors.
company has already taken the pioneering step of appointing a full-time,
designated health and safety manager to oversee all contracts handled from its
UK headquarters in Brackley.
Its innovative policy – believed by the company to be unique
within its industry – means a full-time safety specialist is available to work with
De Boer teams tackling construction projects of all sizes, whether for a
one-day build or a large-scale assignment lasting many weeks or months. The
strategy also involves induction training for new De Boer personnel followed by
annual refresher courses for all staff.
De Boer’s clients also frequently request assistance to ensure
they meet all relevant regulations on site and the new training resource has
been established in response to their demands.
External courses could be staged for sub-contractors as soon as February,
covering topics that include basic health and safety, working at height, using
personal protective equipment and complying with the Health and Safety at Work
Act. Training will be provided at De Boer’s Brackley premises.
The courses will be run by Phil Earl, who became De Boer’s full-time
Health and Safety Manager in May 2008 and who already handles in-house training.
Phil joined the company as a temporary tent builder 17 years ago and tackled a broad
range of roles including those of truck driver, transport manager and warehouse
before making his first foray into health and safety in 2003.
– widely known in the industry by his nickname Curly – has since gained the
industry-standard NEBOSH (National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and
Health) Certificate and is currently working towards his degree-level NEBOSH
Diploma. He has already passed diploma examinations totalling nine hours and is
hoping to successfully complete his dissertation over the coming weeks.
to Phil, the key to effective health and safety is in avoiding
over-complication. “People find the idea of health and safety very scary until
they actually get into it and then they realise it’s actually very simple,” he
explained. “Keep it simple and you’ll stop people hurting themselves. You
really don’t need a lot of bureaucracy to make health and safety work.”
divides his time between on-site visits and office-based work that includes
conducting health and safety audits, running training courses and chairing De
Boer’s Health and Safety Committee. His in-house training courses cover topics
such as first aid, working at height and operating fork-lift trucks.
and safety is becoming more and more of an issue because customers are becoming
increasingly aware of its importance,” he said. “People’s safety is of prime
importance but health and safety now enters into everything you do. Every time
you tender for a contract, there are detailed requirements relating to safety
is kept increasingly busy by De Boer’s ever-expanding portfolio of assignments.
He is a regular visitor to the construction stages of high-profile events such
as the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Goodwood Festival of Speed, Farnborough
International Airshow, Royal Parks’ music concerts and the Playtex MoonWalk
charity event, as well as a myriad of commercial projects including the
creation of temporary offices, warehouses and retail facilities.
But, according to Phil, health and safety issues are equally applicable
to contracts of all sizes. He said: “A one-day job is just as important as an
assignment on the scale of the Farnborough International Airshow. The team need
to know that health and safety is being treated as a priority and that I will
be available on site. I can also help clients ensure they don’t inadvertently
breach any regulations.”