Health & Safety

Health and Safety is integrated within everything we do. We are committed to a safe working environment for all our staff, sub-contractors and visitors to our sites and our staff are trained to be conscious of health and safety at all times.  A safe workplace is a happy workplace.

In our work, we carry out a wide range of activities, from site walkovers to large scale excavations involving major groundworks. We have to deal with contaminated sites, work in enclosed spaces like deep trenches or sealed basements, work at height on historic buildings and even at sea. Therefore it is important that we are familiar with the health and safety requirements for all of these. To ensure that we are, our health and safety manager holds a NEBOSH National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety and we retain the services of an external Health and Safety Consultant, HSE Solutions Ltd.

They review our procedures, update us on the latest guidance and legislation and give  us specialist advice when required.

To demonstrate that the company’s management system complies with the required standards, we complement our internal review and auditing through external review and audit. This is undertaken on a formal basis each year by Achilles UVDB Verify. Our management systems are also reviewed by SMAS Ltd to ensure they comply with the requirements of the Safety Schemes in Procurement.

Working with the construction industry

Although our work is primarily during enabling or pre-construction phase, we frequently work alongside contractors from the construction industry. We regularly take the role of Principal Contractor under the CDM Regulations, a role we have embraced on projects like the M74 Completion, Forth Replacement Crossing, Furness Abbey and the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route.

Although recent changes to the CDM Regulations have made archaeology exempt from the regulations, we will continue to follow them as we feel the structured approach required allows us to carry out our work in as safe a manner as possible.

Raising Awareness

We work for, alongside and in charge of other contractors, and in every case, our staff know that good communication across the site will prevent accidents and potentially save lives.

The best way to keep our workplace safe is by raising awareness of the risks around us and to take action to deal with them. We encourage our staff to regularly re-evaluate the environment they work in and to report any new risks as soon as they are identified.

We emphasise that our staff should report all accidents and near misses, and feel empowered to act if they see something that is unsafe. We educate our staff to recognise that every incident, no matter how trivial, should be reported as the margin between a near miss or minor injury and something more serious can often be small.

As a company we seek to minimise workplace accidents in our operations with the ultimate aim to achieve a zero accident rate.  

Training

To ensure that our staff feel confident, committed and empowered,  we provide training beyond the minimum necessary for our staff to do their jobs safely. We provide both internal training through regular toolbox talks, workshops and training documents and external training. We also recognise that training is ongoing and ensure that new or revised training materials are issued on a regular basis.

All staff (including temporary workers) hold valid CSCS cards. In addition to this we provide First Aid at Work training to all our Project Officers and have embarked on a training programme which will see all our Senior Archaeologists provided with IOSH Managing Safely certification. In addition, all of our site and office management staff are provided with ‘managing sub-contractors’ training.

We also provide training which is project-specific. As we work extensively on upland wind farm sites, many of our Project Officers have completed 4×4 driver training. We also provide training for confined spaces when working on deep excavation sites and for working on quarry sites amongst others.

Health and Wellbeing

A key priority of our health and safety plan is the prevention of work-related illness. While there is clear evidence that employment can have a positive effect on personal wellbeing, poor health in the workplace can present significant safety risks. We are providing training to managers and team leaders on how to identify, manage and minimise work-related stress and we are encouraging and supporting healthy lifestyles amongst our staff. As a company we are supporting government initiatives such as the bike-to-work and child-care voucher schemes.