At Amey, we believe safety is everyone’s job. Our Zero Code is shaping the behaviours of our workforce and embedding a culture of safety throughout the company. It highlights the actions we must all take to protect ourselves and others from harm and focuses attention on encouraging and developing correct and safe behaviours, and it applies to everyone who works for and with Amey.
Safety as our priority
Our primary focus this year has been on ensuring we operate within COVID-19 secure environments. Our Health and Safety experts have worked tirelessly, guiding and supporting our operations.
We maintained the correct levels of PPE for all key workers during the pandemic and there were no instances of work stopping due to PPE shortages. We produced a set of policies and procedures for work in the COVID-19 environment (eg social distancing in vehicles, updated risk assessment processes and site business continuity plans). Beyond our key workers, in July we sent all 15,000 employees a reusable face covering, packaged and distributed by the social enterprise Ethical Stationery.
Sickness levels were no worse during the pandemic than the national trend in areas of outbreaks in spite of our employees receiving full pay. We found very few instances of multiple COVID-19 absences and when investigated these were genuinely related to having to isolate due to close contact. Absence was around 2% higher overall than normal during the peak of the pandemic.
Major safety campaigns in 2020
Beyond COVID-19, we progressed a number of other activities to reduce the risk of harm.
- Amey joined a national campaign to highlight the danger of ‘zombie batteries’, which caused over 250 fires at recycling and waste facilities in the UK in the year to March 2020, up from a quarter the year before. The campaign is urging people not to throw dead batteries away in household rubbish or recycling, to prevent risk to the public and key workers and to avoid millions of pounds of damage to waste treatment infrastructure.
- As part of our commitment to safeguard our employees and the communities in which we operate – we rolled out 450 trench grids across our Utilities contracts. These ensure that no street work excavations are left uncovered overnight. This Oxford Plastics design, was the winner of the Amey Utilities 2020 Challenge. At just 7kg, the grid’s trellis-style design is small and light enough to be carried in our smallest commercial vehicles. Trench grids can be linked together to protect longer excavations up to 1m wide.
- At Amey, safety is everyone’s job and we support engagement with safety through our Visible Felt Leadership programme. This is an opportunity for leaders and teams to have detailed on-site conversations about their experience of safety and to see where improvements can be made. Over 125 of these visits were made in the course of the year.
- Amey was the winner of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Initiative of the Year Award for its ‘ThinkSafe’ project. The project saw Amey develop three safety toolkits based on non-traditional safety factors, such as psychological conditions, that may contribute to accidents or incidents. The toolkits have been rolled out across Amey to help drive the business’s ‘Target Zero’ ambition (zero Lost Time Through Injury by 2021).
A focus on wellbeing
We continued to build on our programme of wellbeing support for our employees. We have enhanced our free Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), giving access not only to all employees but also to their immediate families. The EAP offers advice on many topics and 24/7 confidential counselling.
At Amey we have a growing network of 215 Wellbeing Ambassadors and 120 Mental Health First Aiders, who offer support to our people and signpost them to help if they need it. Our Mental Health First Aiders are trained to spot the early signs and symptoms of mental health conditions and can offer initial assistance and guidance alongside our EAP. They are supported by the introduction this year of a full time Wellbeing Manager.
We’ve also introduced Wellbeing Wednesdays on the first Wednesday of every month which introduces a topic, highlighting the importance of taking time out of your day to think about and look after your own wellbeing. Free, online tools including webinars on seasonal wellbeing topics, provide ongoing support and encouragement for remote workers to look after their wellbeing.
In 2020 we delivered our first ever virtual Graduate and Apprentice Wellbeing Festival. The digital event:
- brought together over 300 young people starting out in their careers to provide a mixture of support, guidance and advice through talks and interactive breakout sessions delivered by internal and external experts.
- focused on raising awareness of wellbeing and mental health, increasing knowledge of the support and resources available and providing tools and techniques to encourage self-care.