Uniform gate instruction for more safety on construction sites

In 2018 the safety instructions on entering construction sites in the Netherlands will be standardized by introducing a Uniform Gate instruction, as the members of the Governance Code "Safety in the Construction" (GCVidB) announce today. The purpose is to increase safety on construction sites.

The Uniform Gate Instruction is supported and implemented by all members of the Governance Code and has the ultimate goal that for the 500,000 people in the Netherlands entering the construction sites it is clear which risks they should be aware of, which rules apply and which behavior is desirable. The new safety instruction was drawn up in collaboration with the Stichting Samenwerken Voor Veiligheid (SSVV), a joint venture of 22 (branch) organizations from the Dutch industry and responsible for the functioning of the VCA safety system.

The new instruction is available digitally, can be followed online in the office or at home, and is an answer to the fragmentation that has arisen because larger construction companies developed their own port instruction over time. As a result, employees of subcontractors and suppliers who enter construction sites of different main contractors must always follow a different gate instruction before they can start work.

The introduction of the Uniform Gate instruction provides a better quality instruction and also saves time and money. The directly obtained certificate is valid for one year and gives access to all construction sites where this gate instruction is requested. However, there is still the possibility that an additional specific instruction is required on construction sites with specific risks. Ultimately, every construction project in the Netherlands should use the uniform gate instruction, which guarantees better professionalism and quality in the field of safety.

The Governance Code was started in 2014 by fourteen companies and organizations, consisting of ProRail, Rijksvastgoedbedrijf, Rijkswaterstaat, acta Safety Professionals, AKD, Ballast Nedam, BAM, Dura Vermeer, Heijmans, KIVI, Strukton, TBI, Unica, VolkerWessels, and shortly thereafter Van den Herik Sliedrecht. In the meantime, the number of members has grown to more than 70. The aim of the collaboration is to increase the safety level in the entire sector and to prevent incidents and accidents, by working in a structured manner on uniform and standardized rules, regulations, safety equipment and working methods.

The initiative to the Governance Code is a response to the sense of urgency that exist among members in order to continue improving safety in the construction industry. Recently, however, the Dutch Safety Board (OVV) concluded that sometimes, despite the improvements, the same problems return and that the construction sector does too little with its recommendations.

The sector recognizes these findings and will take concrete measures to further improve the safety culture in the construction sector. Not only rules, but also attitude and behaviour regarding safety must be improved, in particular because the final responsible parties of both clients and contractors show visible safety leadership. Secondly, it has been agreed that all parties involved in a construction project jointly bear the responsibility at all stages of the design, construction and operation.

The introduction of the Uniform Gate Instruction is the first tangible example. Unambiguity increases the recognisability and applicability of safe working tools. Moreover, it contributes to a culture in which clients and contractors can address each other in equality.

In addition to the Uniform Gateway Instruction a Report App will be introduced in the second half of 2018. This app allows employees to report unsafe situations on the construction site and with which managers are obliged to act immediately. Sector-wide lessons can also be drawn from the reported situations and incidents.

In order to reach more agreements and concrete measures that increase the safety awareness in the sector, the members of the Governance Code will be actively engaged in the coming months with the OVV and the industry association Bouwend Nederland. This association started a Task Force on Security & Working conditions and organizes the National Safety Day.