Step 3 of the safety culture ladder: just a beginning

Accidents still happen regularly in the construction industry, despite the existence of laws and regulations, sector agreements and instruments designed to increase safety during construction. That's why Ballast Nedam has made safety its number one priority. All Ballast Nedam's organisational units recently reached level 3 on the Safety Culture Ladder: a major achievement on the basis of which we are now continuing to improve.

The Safety Culture Ladder is an instrument for measuring safety awareness, attitude and behaviour in companies and has a total of five steps. During the assessment process, the emphasis is on the safety culture. The higher the safety awareness in an organisation, the higher the awarded step.

We choose this Safety Culture Ladder certification because of our intrinsic motivation to work more safely. The Safety Culture Ladder does not focus on laws and regulations, but on attitude and behaviour. That suits Ballast Nedam perfectly. Achieving step 3 demonstrates to Ballast Nedam that safety is high on the agenda throughout the organisation and that all parts of the organisation are demonstrating responsibility.

Initiative and responsibility for everyone

Within the organisation, we are taking steps to further embed the focus on safety in the heads and hearts of all our people. Ballast Nedam therefore encourages everyone to show personal leadership, at every level of the organisation. From electricians to roofers and from pile drivers and concrete carpenters to project managers - everyone on the building site takes the initiative and responsibility to assess safety risks and take appropriate measures. On an increasing number of projects, supervisors and foremen discuss the day's work. What safety risks could arise? And how do we deal with them?

Further improvement: Safety Sprint Sessions

Dekra's analysis in 2020 showed that we could further increase our safety awareness if we let everyone play an active role in this matter. By doing so, everyone becomes even more involved and we improve our safety culture together. Step by step.

To accelerate this within each Ballast Nedam organisational unit, the Safety Sprint Sessions were initiated. These sessions are held per organisational unit and with several teams. In six weeks time, very specific work is done on one subject. After these six weeks, the results are delivered and the team starts on a new subject. The aim is twofold: firstly, immediately visible results are achieved in a short time. Secondly, more and more people are actively involved in improving the safety culture. This generates a snowball effect.

Genuine care

Ballast Nedam's safety programme includes working on a safe working culture. We take care of each other, speak to each other and make dilemmas open for discussion. We think it's important that everyone at Ballast Nedam works in a place where it's safe to speak out if it's safer to do so. And where someone gives a compliment if someone else takes his/her responsibility. Or where work is paused if it is not safe enough. This ensures a safe working environment, so that everyone goes home safely after a working day.

Safety in tenders

Since January 1, 2022, certification for the Safety Ladder has had a direct impact on tenders. In the tendering process, all signatories to the Governance Code for Safety in Construction (GCVB) will be asked for proof of step 2 on the safety ladder. Ballast Nedam is one of the GCVB signatories and meets this requirement with step 3.

In addition to the signatories, all other parties involved in a project must also meet the minimum requirement of step 2. Companies with fewer than five employees are excluded, unless they are actually larger due to the structural involvement of third parties. This new rule ensures that we are even more alert to safety in our tenders and that we select our partners with extra care.

Moving up the ladder

In 2022, Ballast Nedam will train our colleagues in relevant soft skills. These training courses will focus on recognising safety risks and realising that one's own conduct is a mirror of what can be expected from the people around them.

In 2022, various Ballast Nedam organisational units will also be working towards achieving step 4 on the Safety Culture Ladder. At this fourth step, the emphasis is on a proactive safety policy, in which there is continuous investment in increasing safety awareness, thinking ahead and taking the initiative. Ballast Nedam has therefore once again put safety at the top of the agenda this year.