Excelling in Health & Safety management in Panama
The Panama Canal expansion project represents one of the most challenging works under construction worldwide.
Over 8,000 workers and hundreds of engineers and technical partners are working on an infrastructure that will contribute to international trade exchanges for at least a century.
Our guarantee of top health and safety standards in all our operations is of crucial importance to us, and for this reason we have implemented an advanced planning, organisation, and control system. Together with a strong focus on training and raising awareness among employees, this policy has earned the Panama Canal’s H&S management system recognition as the foremost practice of its kind worldwide.
This particular construction site’s Health and Safety Policy has a specific target of zero accidents, which is achieved through the rigorous application of standards, and zero tolerance for lapses in conformity. Before being able to access the site, all newly hired personnel are fully informed of this strict policy, as well as those applicable to the entire Salini Impregilo system, through a three-day training course on health and safety. At the start of each shift, team leaders hold a meeting with the workers to explain the specific safety risks related to the activities they will be carrying out. They detail the causes of accidents that have occurred the day before, if any, in order to discuss and share appropriate preventive measures.
Further to this, the on-site Safety Officers hold meetings with all workers every week in which they summarise the safety targets achieved, and outline possible improvements. Subcontractor employees also take part in these activities, and supervision is the same as that for direct employees. For specific activities, such as working in confined spaces, only trained technicians with special certification are employed. These workers attend monthly meetings in which problems relating to safety are discussed, sharing mutual experiences and identifying possible improvement measures. In addition, all work areas are subject to daily and weekly audits by the Health and Safety department, and regular external audits are conducted by the client, local authorities, financers, and the management system certification body.
Team leaders and their managers are assessed through a KPI (Key Performance Indicators) system developed to measure the safety performance achieved at the respective areas of responsibility. The best performance are rewarded every month.
The figures related to H&S activities carried out in 2014 are self-explanatory: over 335,000 training hours provided to the direct workforce plus around 118,000 hours to the subcontractors’ employees; 300 meetings on health and safety issues; 210 among audits, control and monitoring programmes carried out by about 50 dedicated staff.
Thanks to this systematic approach, the Group ensures high health and safety standards to all parties involved in the project, reducing the risk of injury, non-conformities detected during the audits and non-compliance risks.