‘Safe’ is one of the four Build to Last goals and all operations must ensure the health and safety of everyone who comes into contact with the Group’s activities. Zero Harm is Balfour Beatty’s vision which means, no injury or ill health caused by work activities. All operations are charged with constantly improving performance, sharing learning and best practice.

The Zero Harm objective is supported by risk-based prioritised action plans. These are formed around twelve key areas: communicating the vision; leadership; learning and sharing; co-ordinated governance; supply chain engagement; health and safety by design; improving management systems and processes; training and competence; behavioural safety; innovation, recognition and reward; performance indicators; and local initiatives.

Group initiatives, linked to the Zero Harm calendar are proactive and evidence-based. These include quarterly campaigns and Group-wide stand downs on key topics.

In 2016 these included work at height, interfaces between people and plant and treating health like safety.

Many parts of Balfour Beatty’s business achieved millions of hours incident free, demonstrating that Zero Harm is achievable. Group-wide leading and lagging key performance indicators trended positively, with particularly strong performance in the UK. The Group’s Lost Time Injury Rate (LTIR) improved from 0.32 to 0.31, 0.24 to 0.22 excluding the Group’s international joint ventures.

Central to sustainable delivery of Zero Harm is Balfour Beatty’s Making Safety Personal (MSP) programme, based around four simple golden rules. In 2015 the focus was engagement through workforce observations, which achieved a dramatic increase and this trend has continued in 2016. In 2016 the Group piloted and launched the MSP 1 foundation programme for everyone on making safe choices and an MSP 4 leadership programme.

Balfour Beatty’s industry-leading commitment to treating health like safety focuses on eliminating occupational disease and ill health. In the UK, Balfour Beatty is a founder and active member of the Health in Construction Leadership Group (HCLG). In 2016 the HCLG brought industry leaders, clients and contractors, together in a ground-breaking summit – Committing Construction to a Healthier Future.

The business continued to win awards for its health and safety performance. In the UK, the Sellafield Silo Maintenance Facility team won RoSPA’s Order of Distinction and clients award for safety. Balfour Beatty won several national awards too such as the National Joint Utilities Group to support visually impaired members of the community navigate around utility street works. In the US, the Group received the national AGC Safety Award for its outstanding safety record in Highways.

Employee survey results across the Group rated consistently highly on health and safety questions, a strong indicator of engagement.

Sadly, despite these positive improvements, five workers lost their lives across the Group in 2016, one in the UK, one in the US and three in the Gammon joint venture in Hong Kong/Singapore.

Three of the workers were subcontractors, two were direct employees.

Each fatal accident is subject to a thorough investigation and a detailed review by the Group Chief Executive and further review by the Safety and Sustainability Committee to ensure lessons are promulgated across the business and wider industry.

Lessons from the UK fatality involving plant have resulted in industry-wide improvements in the understanding and application of the hierarchy of risk controls.

In 2017 the Group will continue its relentless focus on health and safety within the business and working with the wider industry.

Figure 1: The Group’s Lost Time Incident Rate (LTIR)

Safety Dashboard Figure 1 

Figure 2: Accident Frequency Rate (AFR)

Safety Dashboard Figure 2

Figure 3: Major Injury Rate

Safety Dashboard Figure 3