Infrastructure clients aim to target seven safety blackspots by 2025


Seven areas of workplace risk are to be targeted in an ambitious new safety campaign by the Infrastructure Clients Group (ICG), which represents the major infrastructure clients in the UK.

Around 200,000 workers are engaged in projects for group members, which include Highways England, National Grid, Sellafield, Transport for London and EDF Energy.

In the next twelve months, the group has committed to undertake research, raise awareness and develop action plans to tackle risk from:

  • people and mobile plant;
  • mental health;
  • striking buried services;
  • lifting operations;
  • heavy goods vehicle operations;
  • hand arm vibration-related disease; and
  • public safety.

For each theme, the group will aim to eliminate illness and injury caused by these risks by 2025, with the support of contractors and other suppliers.

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) is acting as secretariat for the project.  

Action plans, developed with support from ICG members and beyond, will include standardised measures to assess current performance and demonstrate improvement over time.

The ICG was originally formed to discuss commercial, procurement and financial issues, but set up a health and safety workstream two years ago.

Alasdair Reisner, CECA chief executive, chairs the health and safety workstream within the group.  

Speaking to Health and Safety at Work, he explained: “There were certain risks that were common across all the organisations, so would benefit from collaborative working. Last year, the group established the common risks and it will now develop programmes for the top seven and will hopefully move them forward.”

He added that cable strikes were “an ongoing concern” for many organisations in the sector, and that ICG members lacked access to accurate details on the number and severity of cable strike incidents.

Reisner noted that one of the group’s tasks would be to establish the extent of current data collection on the issue. “But if we don’t have an industry standard on common data, it may be that we need to establish it,” he said.

Work at height is not included on the ICG’s list, on the grounds that other groups – including the HSE’s Work at Height group and a recent report from an All-Party Parliamentary Committee on the issue – are already addressing the topic.

“With work at height, there is existing strong activity, so we have picked seven areas where we felt we would make a difference,” said Reisner.

“We don’t want to do a lot of work and then realise we’re repeating things. On each of the issues we need to look at what’s out there, and do a gap analysis about what we need to do to bring the risk down to zero.”

Contractors and other suppliers across the sector have already signed up to support the initiative.

Steve Hails, director of health, safety and wellbeing at Tideway, is chair of the ICG health and safety group.

He said: “Our research signposts the key health, safety and wellbeing risks that our sector faces. We are working collaboratively to make sure we crack down on these risks. If you want to play a part in securing game-changing improvements to the industry, I would strong encourage you to volunteer to support this important work.”

More details can be found here.

In the autumn, CECA also plans to run its regular “Stop. Make a Change” safety campaign, inviting employers and teams to stage a safety “stand-down” across multiple sites.

“We wanted to put it back until the autumn, we hope it will be bigger and better this year,” Reisner said