Occupational safety and health arrangements on CrossRail – an overview

2017-09-01T11:12:43Z (GMT) by Wendy Jones Alistair Gibb
Statistics from Crossrail suggest progressive O ccupational Safety and Health (OSH) improvement over the course of the project. Accident levels are currently at or below those achieved on the Olympic Park, which was recognised as an exemplar of good practice. Interviews with employees of Crossrail and its contractors suggest this can be attributed to a range of factors including Crossrail’s high expectations of the contracting companies, high levels of engagement and collaboration and the embedding of OSH throughout the project rather than it being seen as an ‘add-on’. OSH management at Crossrail has developed over time to take account of changing demands. Interventions in the last 4-5 years have included Gateway assessments to encourage contractors to develop and share good practice; Stepping Up Week to support worker learning on OSH; and the introduction of leading indicators. Crossrail has worked hard to improve Occupational Health (OH) management by specifying standards for contractor OH services and by driving good practices in the management of health risks such as dust, vibration and shift working. Many interviewees commented specifically on how successful the project had been in this respect, although there was some variability between projects in the standards achieved. Implementation of Design for Health and the increased use of occupational hygiene practices have been features of Crossrail, but have been inconsistent across the project. The use of an Occupational Health Maturity Matrix (OHMM) has proved particularly effective as a mechanism to help contractors develop their processes and practices. 1 There are many things which the industry can learn from Crossrail, particularly in relation to the operation of complex projects. These include the importance of sharing learning between contractors, the need to evolve management processes and OSH metrics, the need to balance the benefits of these against the demands they place on the contractors, and the importance of setting and enforcing clear standards in terms of clinical OH services and occupational hygiene services. Again the OHMM can be a particularly useful tool in this respect. Many learning points from Crossrail have already been taken to other projects, such as Tideway, influencing for example Tideway’s decision to specify a single provider of OH and occupational hygiene services; their focus on design for health from an early stage; and the introduction of leading indicators for OSH management.