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Safety gets shown the green card

12 July 2017

Wastewater engineers working for Lanes Utilities who set high standards of health and safety are being shown the green card.

Sites that pass a rigorous new safety inspection programme with flying colours are now awarded a green card in recognition of their achievement.

Those that do not meet all safety standards receive a yellow card, and those that are judged to have failed are shown a red card.

The initiative is designed to encourage and celebrate good standards of health and safety, while constructively challenging teams if their working procedures fall short of what is expected.

Lanes Utilities, part of Lanes Group plc, a leading UK independent drainage specialist, has introduced the novel initiative to support its wastewater network maintenance contract with Thames Water.

Lanes Utilities Director Andy Brierley said: "Our wastewater teams have really bought into the approach. They've responded well to the challenge, and it's already having an effect.

"Since we introduced the Green Yellow Red scheme at the start of 2017, the number of reported manual handling incidents involving our 1,300 field operatives has fallen.

"Teams are clearly pleased to be recognised for getting site safety right. Also, the rigour of these inspections gives us good evidence of where more needs to be done to encourage health and safety excellence."

The cards are awarded by a new team of five health and safety advisors. Each of them carries out four site safety inspections every day across the Thames Water region.

If the site passes, the wastewater engineer, or the team, is issued with a green card. If there are some marginal issues that need addressing they get a yellow card.
If the site fails the safety inspection, it gets a red card, which is likely to result in additional coaching and training for the wastewater engineers involved, co-ordinated by the health and safety advisor.

Health and Safety Advisor Kris Taylor said: "This is helping us embed a strong health and safety culture. It introduces a healthy element of competition between engineers, who are taking real pride in being awarded green cards.

"Every green card is celebrated on our internal social media platform, Yammer, which is generating a lot of positive banter among colleagues, who get the chance to pat others on the back for a job well done.

"It's turning out to be a great way to get the message across that doing things properly and safely is better for our engineers, for our wastewater customers, and the public."

Lanes Utilities carries out more than 1000 sewer and drain maintenance jobs for Thames Water every day, including blockage clearance, sewer surveying and diagnostic testing, lining, and excavations.