Uniform Gate Instruction for More Safety on Construction Sites

In 2018 the safety instructions on entering construction sites in the Netherlands will be standardised 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 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. Ultimately, every construction project in the Netherlands should use the uniform gate instruction, which guarantees better professionalism and quality in the field of safety. However, there is still the possibility that an additional specific instruction is required on construction sites with specific risks. 

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 seventy. The aim of the collaboration is to increase the safety level in the entire sector and to prevent accidents by working in a structured manner on uniform and standardized rules, regulations, safety equipment and working methods.

The initiative of the Governance Code is to respond to the sense of urgency that exist among members for continuing safety improvements in the construction industry. Recently, however, the Dutch Safety Board (OVV) concluded that, despite the improvements, the same problems occaisionally return and that the construction sector does too little with its instructions.

The sector recognizes these findings and will take concrete measures to further improve safety in the construction sector. In addition to the rules, attitute and behaviour regarding safety must also be improved, in particular because the final responsible parties of both clients and contractors show visible safety leadership. Moreover, 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. Managers are obliged to act immediately on these reports. 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.