H&S at Babcock – View of an apprentice

Shift leaders brief to operatives

Over the last year we’ve been supporting the Home Safe Everyday programme at Babcock Rosyth with conferences and workshops for leaders, managers, supervisors and operatives.  In a complex, busy construction site, the experience of apprentices is very important; they represent the future construction workforce and often have unique insight into the safety culture operating around them.  When apprentices share their views during workshops it always benefits the discussion.

Shaun McAllister is the apprentice representative on the Safety, Health & Environment Forum at Babcock Rosyth.  He attended a Safety Conversations workshop recently (Andy’s Story) and wrote about his experience for his colleagues:

The scenes were used to open up the eyes of the audience, and show so vividly the consequences of one moment of madness and lack of concentration…it would take a stone heart to not take the message on board.  Facts, statistics and pictures may be good ways of passing on information, but this is in my opinion the best way to fully illustrate the point and principle of H&S.

I think the Forum Interactive sessions are a huge success.  The way they unite everyone from all levels of the company at the end to work as a team to figure out the best way of dealing with the situations and talking to the people is genius as everyone gets to see how people at different levels and sectors would react to the same situation and can use their knowledge and experience, sharing their ideas to come up with what they think is the best and most inviting way to not just walk past, but intervene when someone is making a H&S mistake.

(The story) was set on an oil rig which was a good factor as it made it relevant to the audience, which helps with how intense the impact was on the audience.  Another good factor was that the facilitator assured us that any health and safety complaints, queries or even suggestions would be fully looked at and used by our H&S team.

(Scene 1) was a great scene as it shows something that is probably a day to day occurrence over any type of site world wide…pressure from superiors.  Although it is something we as a company (Babcock) are against, from the responses in the room…it obviously still occurs.  Also making it clear that these guys involved are sub-contractors brings up another day to day problem.  It is widely known that guys that are sub-contractors often feel they require to go the extra mile to what they should do, for job security.  They feel that telling a superior ‘no’ even if it’s the right thing to do, would get them a black mark against their name.  This was also backed up by opinions of guys in the room.

I also thought it was very relevant that we found out that it was Steve’s son’s birthday (Steve is the worker who dies in the incident).  Something that we all deal with and can affect us greatly when it comes to concentration at times, is having other things on our minds.  It isn’t always things to be excited by, but could be emotional problems.  This could really cause our attention to not be fully on what we are doing and possibly drift off while working.

In Scene 2 Andy goes to Steve’s house to give his wife his things.  She blames Andy for what happened, saying he should have ‘looked after him’.  The scene finishes with Steve’s wife going through his belongings,  This is possibly the most powerful and eye-opening presentation I have ever seen.  Although you understand that a serious injury or worse loss of your life would greatly affect your family and close ones, when it’s acted so well in front of you it leaves you with a much more illustrated view to the effects, and a lump in your throat.  It makes it so easy for you to picture it being your family going through a heartache you would never want them to experience.  It also shows the ripple effect better than it could ever be read, or explained verbally.  You see how it rips apart his wife and family, and at the same time how it has emotionally and probably mentally affected Andy.

We then went back to the first scene.  They asked people to freeze the scene when they thought Andy should have done something differently.  The best part of this is the actors stay in character when you are talking to them.  This gives people the life skills of approaching someone and trying to give them friendly advice without offending, patronising or being arrogant towards them.  It lets us as a team work out how we should best react in situations like this.  Also fantastic as it keeps people interacted and involved, which will help them to subconsciously take it all in.

The final scenario was completely different involving someone not wearing high vis.  This was a great way to finish because again it allows people to get involved, lets them see what may have occurred with their approach and if it was right or not.  it’s a good way of showing the idea of working as a team in the workplace to make it a happy and inviting environment to be in.

For more information please contact:

Tess Allen


++44 (0) 7920 207732