The safety and wellbeing of our people and communities is our number one priority.
At Wates we strive for zero harm, and are proud of our industry-leading safety record, with a performance well above the industry average.
This drive towards a Zero Harm culture is set out in our long-term Zero Harm strategy in which everyone, regardless of job role, has an important part to play. This strategy is underpinned by our Were Safer Together campaign – an award-winning engagement and learning programme.
2019 ended with a Lost Time Injury Rate (LTIR) of 0.050, comfortably achieving the Group’s 2020 Zero Harm goal of 0.100. Since the launch in 2016 of the Zero Harm strategy and its supporting ‘We’re Safer Together’ campaign, the probability of
sustaining a significant injury during a working lifetime spent on Wates sites has reduced by 80%.
The continued improvement in creating Zero Harm working environments for everybody – whether on sites or in offices – is further evidenced by a 2019 Accident Incidence Rate (Reportable Injuries per 100,000 workers) of 75, being 79% below the construction industry average for 2018/19 and 76% below the average for Build UK members over the same timeframe.
Alongside these results, the Wates Group has continued to invest in professional learning and development. By the end of 2019, 615 leaders had attended its ‘Lead the Change!’ programme, and 635 managers completed its associated programme, ‘Drive the Change!’. These programmes are a fusion of leadership development and behavioural safety training aimed at challenging leaders
and managers across the business to think differently about safety without necessarily being safety experts.
Both these courses have been instrumental in achieving a huge step change in the perception of responsibility for safety and, in conjunction with the ‘We’re Safer Together’ campaign, won the ‘Health and Safety Solution of the Year’ award at the nationally-recognised 2019 London Construction Awards.
Our commitment to achieving Zero Harm is steadfast:
- We will eliminate the realistic likelihood of serious harm through our operations and we will make our sites as safe as our offices
- We will eliminate all occupational health risks with zero cases of new long-term work-related illnesses (including mental health)
Every mind matters
Workplace health and mental wellbeing matter. In 2019 the Wates Group was awarded Bronze in MIND’s Wellness Index Awards. This award is given to employers who have started their journey towards better mental health at work by developing and implementing initiatives that promote positive mental health for staff.
This was the first time the business entered for accreditation, which was based on an all-staff survey in December 2018. Building on its outcomes, further research was carried out to identify the key areas of employee concern and awareness.
By the end of the year, Wates had trained 273 employees as Mental Health First Aiders and had established a network of 30 Regional Mental Health First Aider Champions. The Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) work across the UK to listen to and provide guidance on the available support to struggling colleagues. Over the last twelve months, research has been undertaken to measure the impact of these MHFAs. It shows that 95% of them have used and applied their skills since their training, dealing with a wide range of issues such as depression, bereavement, financial difficulties, bullying, harassment, anxiety, work-related stress, personal relationships, domestic abuse and people having suicidal thoughts.
This research is helping to drive communications around mental health, suicide awareness, stress and fatigue, and work/life balance. During 2019 there was a learning and development programme provided to Safety, Health and Environment advisors to equip them with the skills to run stress management workshops and provide ‘Occupational Health in Construction’ training to colleagues.