Industry-leading civil engineering and construction contractor John Cradock Ltd. was honoured with a Higher Distinction at this year’s All Ireland Occupational Safety Awards. Building Ireland touched base with EHS Manager Sinéad Shinkins to get an insight.
As a long-established, award-winning, client-focused civil engineering / construction contractor that places a major emphasis on the Environment, Health & Safety, Quality and meeting exact customer requirements, it was no major surprise when John Cradock Ltd.’s commitment to achieving and implementing the highest possible levels of Health & Safety on site was acknowledged with a Higher Distinction accolade at the 2018 All Ireland Occupational Safety Awards.
The 27th annual All Ireland Occupational Safety Awards – ran by the National Irish Safety Organisation (NISO) in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Safety Group (NISG) – were staged in the Great Southern Killarney Hotel on Friday, October 12th 2018, celebrating how well organisations enforce their Health & Safety systems at work.
JCL’s EHS Manager Sinéad Shinkins was delighted that the company walked away from the prestigious awards ceremony with a Higher Distinction: “We’ve been participating in these awards since 2012 and have won numerous awards, but this was our first Higher Distinction, so we were very happy about that. It’s an added bonus for all the effort we put in, because Health & Safety on site is a major priority.”
Over the past 31 years, John Cradock Ltd. have garnered substantial experience in a full range and scale of civil engineering projects. Using primarily in-house resources, they have successfully delivered in excess of 300 technically and operationally challenging projects ranging in value from €20,000 to €30,000,000, serving a broad client base including local authorities, semi-state bodies and private companies.
Vastly experienced in roads and infrastructure, JCL have completed the full portfolio of minor road improvements, major road upgrades and greenfield road construction projects. They have additionally constructed, refurbished and strengthened hundreds of structures, while John Cradock Ltd. also boasts a quarter of a century’s experience in the delivery of high-quality, award-winning public realm projects throughout Ireland.
Other key areas of operation include building and civil works, Design & Build, site and enabling works, emergency works and successfully delivering all types of water and wastewater infrastructure projects including water main and sewer installation and upgrades.
Degree in hand, Sinéad joined the flexible, progressive company as a civil engineer 14 year ago before taking on the role of EHS Manager in 2009. JCL’s fully-certified Health & Safety Management System has been Safe-T-Cert Grade A for the past eight years and is also OHSAS 18001 certified. Meanwhile, their Environmental Management System is registered to ISO 14001, alongside a Quality Management System registered to ISO 9001 by NSAI. JCL have also been successful in achieving ISO 45001: 2018 accredition and received the certificate before Christmas.
These rigorous Safety, Environment and Quality Management Systems are implemented on every project undertaken.
Health & Safety is at the forefront of every project, with John Cradock Ltd. investing heavily to ensure that their people and systems are capable of delivering a best-in-class Health & Safety performance, regardless of the project size or type. All of their direct staff and specialist subcontractors are fully committed to implementing their stringent Health & Safety systems on site.
For the All Ireland Occupational Safety Awards, there are eleven criteria on which submissions are assessed: Statistics & Accident History; Health & Safety Management; Hazard Identification & Risk Management; Implementation and Operation of Health & Safety Policies and Procedures; Health & Safety Communication and Consultation; Proactive Health & Safety Management; Health & Safety Training; Reactive Health & Safety Management; Emergency Preparedness and Response; Work Related Vehicle Safety (including Driving for Work); and Demonstration of Superior Performance in Health & Safety.
“The 2018 awards are based on your 2017 systems and I used working examples from our sites to demonstrate our performance in each of those categories,” says Sinéad. As EHS Manager at JCL, what is Sinéad’s main objective? “It’s difficult to pinpoint one but our philosophy is that we want all of our employees to work safely in a safe environment and to go home in one piece. We are accredited to both the Safe-T and OHSAS systems and we strive to have a proactive approach to Health & Safety on site and to prevent issues from arising.”
John Cradock Ltd. pride themselves on delivering on commitments and exceeding client expectations, working closely with clients, engineers, Quantity Surveyors and Project Managers alike to deliver all construction and civil engineer projects to programme, on time and within budget.
When established in 1987, JCL initially carried out small civil engineering projects, with a particular focus on bridge repair and construction. A commitment to delivering quality and value to clients has always been the cornerstone of the company, which grew over the years. Some prestigious early projects which raised the company’s profile included Limerick Main Drainage Contract 3, Tralee Town Centre, Shaw Bridge Kilcock, Drinan Interchange and Sillogue Water Storage Facility.
As EHS Manager, Sinéad Shinkins has responsibility for the development and implementation of JCL’s Environment Health & Safety Management System. The company’s proactive Health & Safety policy is centred around the principle that people are their greatest asset and that the wellbeing of those people is of utmost importance so that they can enjoy life to the full and contribute to the overall performance of the company.
Each project is considered on its own merits, with a site-specific Health & Safety plan formulated to match the unique challenges and requirements of the client, the project and the site. Invariably, this comprises, as a minimum: a Site Specific Health & Safety Plan; Site Specific Health & Safety Statement; Detailed Method Statements & Risk Assessments for all works elements; Safe System of Work Plans completed by site operatives for all tasks; and minimum monthly audits by the EHS Manager.
To enable their people to implement their systems to the full, and thus deliver the safest construction experience for clients, JCL place substantial focus on training and development. To this end, all site managers have formal Health & Safety training including CIF / IOSH Managing Safety in Construction, CSCS Signing, Lighting & Guarding, CSCS Location of Underground Services and Occupational First Aid. All operatives (whether direct or subcontractor staff) have as a minimum Safepass, Manual Handling, Abrasive Wheels and the appropriate CSCS qualifications for the tasks they are asked to perform, while all site operatives attend monthly tool box talks.
Regarding the need to draw up a specific safety plan for each project, Sinéad continues: “From a roads contract to a reservoir to a bridge, every project is different and the Health & Safety plan will be different. I develop a plan based on the potential hazards that each contract can present.
“The majority of our employees have been with us long-term and we also use repeat subcontractors for specialist operations such as surfacing, paving, etc. and they all know the high levels of Health & Safety compliance that are expected of them. We also carry our on-site demonstrations to communicate the hazards.”
It’s a massive undertaking as John Cradock Ltd. employs 70 people directly – plus subbies – and would have five major sites running simultaneously at any given time, all of which need to be audited on a regular basis. One of the projects JCL was working on at the time of writing was a major infrastructural project adjacent to the M50 at Cherrywood, South County Dublin, a joint venture where a site safety officer was engaged on site every day.
“We have minimum standards that have to be maintained by all of our employees and subcontractors,” Sinéad continues. “We were using an external safety consultant up until 2009 but, as the company grew, a decision was made that Health & Safety would be better controlled in-house. It’s easier to manage the growing on-site requirements from within. Even for public sector work, there are now very stringent audits and things have moved on a lot from when I was on site myself.
“Senior management takes a very active role in Health & Safety. All of the internal audits that I carry out are reviewed by the MD himself and our Director for Safety. We have regular meetings to make sure that the highest standards are being met.
“We do a lot of public groundworks and the public perception of us as a company is very important. We’re in Athlone at the moment, for example, working on public realm works and an urban renewal upgrade at Church Street and we want to show the public that we can work safely and efficiently and get the job done with minimum disruption to them.”
Other ongoing projects include SK Biotech in Swords; a pedestrian / cycle bridge in Navan, County Meath; a precast reservoir and pipeline for Irish Water in Clonmel; and a road upgrade project in Ballinahinch, Wicklow. John Cradock Ltd. will continue to work tirelessly to promote Health & Safety with continuous improvement of Health & Safety performance remaining a key goal.
“We’re always trying to aim higher than expected,” Sinéad concludes. “Going forward, one of our first objectives is to upgrade our OHSAS 18001 to the new ISO 45001 standard. We have a good record in the area of Health & Safety. We’ve never had a fatality on site and have had very few reportable incidences or dangerous occurrences.
“We enjoy a great relationship with the HSA and it’s been six years since we had any notifications … we want to maintain that, continuing to adapt a proactive approach to Health & Safety and making sure that everybody goes home safely when their work is done.”
John Cradock Ltd.,
Kilcullen Business Campus,
Tel: 045 484484
Fax: 045 484485
Email: [email protected]
Taken from Building Ireland Magazine, January 2019, Vol 5 No 1