Retrospective Take Care Quarterly theme

From October 2023, we started the Take Care Quarterly themes. These are key safety themes based on our top risks. Ballast Nedam Road Specialties has been active with the quarterly theme of Collision Hazard, among others. Annemie de Bruin, HSE officer, and Mischa Boeije, project leader, share their experiences.

"Clients find it important to keep the road open while works take place. We are then close to moving traffic. Collision risk is therefore an important issue for our organisation," says Mischa.

Safety is important, but sometimes it needs a little extra attention. By repeating and engaging in conversation, Mischa and Annemie strive for a risk-free working environment.
"People still sometimes say, 'there's no other way, so we'll just do it for now'. That's a clincher in terms of safety. We have to get rid of that remark. Of course, sometimes bland remarks are made, but that doesn't matter and is also good to keep it light-hearted," says Mischa.

Starting the conversation with a dice

With seven hundred projects a year, it can sometimes be difficult to make information sufficient for everyone. Messages from head office are adapted based on existing risk cases within Ballast Nedam Road Specialties. "Project leaders receive messages with information on the topic so they can pass it on to colleagues on the shop floor. Then everyone is invited to a presentation at the office. These presentations are scheduled a year ahead so everyone can take this into account. We also hand out posters so that the theme is visible at every location," says Annemie. "I am also always available, for questions about safety. Because I think it is important that safety is pursued."

One of the resources from the Take Care programme that is happily used is the dice. "The dice with various questions on the quarterly theme on it works very well to start the conversation. It also allows not only those who always have something to say to speak, but also those who are normally quieter in the group. With the dice, we try to encourage everyone to answer safety questions and think about it," Mischa explains.

An open culture

Foreman Wilco Timmer is enthusiastic about the sessions: "I have been with the organisation for almost 20 years, but in recent times we have made great strides in terms of safety. Most people are now aware of it. Through posters, for example, but also the safety sessions where you sit together as a group and talk about safety. I think that is the best way. There has really come an open culture, especially at our place in Leerdam, where we can talk to each other transparently and openly and where you are taken seriously." Besides there being more awareness, there has also been a change in practice. "We had an unsafe situation at the site, which was reported. In consultation with the contractor, we were then able to quickly create a safe situation. We tackled the problem at the source and reduced collision risks."

Besides the quarterly theme of Collision Hazard, other issues discussed include Alcohol, Drug and Medication Use and the proper use of PPE. The next theme on Ballast Nedam Road Specialties' schedule is Recognising hazards.

The Take Care Quarterly Themes

The Take Care Quarterly Themes are our top risk-based, key safety topics that we want to pay extra attention to. Every quarter, all business units select their own Take Care Quarterly Theme to work on and give extra attention to, following a set approach. Addressing a quarterly theme consists of several sessions during the quarter, based on the 4-step plan:

  1. Introduction. Naming the theme, so that it is clear what we will focus on together in the coming quarter.
  2. What can we improve? Brainstorming on where improvements can be made and sharing experiences.
  3. Get to work! Translate goals into concrete actions and define responsibilities.
  4. Celebrate successes!

These are the different quarterly themes:

  • Falls from height
  • Collision danger
  • Hazardous substances
  • Order and tidiness
  • Lifting of building components and materials
  • Electrical hazards
  • Hazard recognition

Stephen van Bree, Corporate HSE Project Manager

"To ensure safe working together, we develop initiatives like the Take Care Quarterly themes together with colleagues in the field. This ensures support and recognition. The Take Care Quarterly themes are not pedantic or purely informative. Instead, the resources invite dialogue. This way, we involve everyone. At the end of the quarter, we look back at the results and celebrate the successes achieved, because everyone can be proud of them. This is how, together, we make work progressively safer step by step, and in a fun way too!"

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