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Crossrail adds diversity and inclusion focus to safety

Crossrail director of health and safety Steve Hails has confirmed that the organisation is looking at how diversity and inclusion impacts on safety and achieving its target of zero accidents.

Speaking at today’s British Safety Council annual conference, Hails said that as Crossrail moves from construction to fit out the safety principals and target zero aims remain the same.

As well as reviewing the way safety is communicated to focus on behavioural targets and aims rather than specific risks, Hails said that he had recruited a diversity and inclusion specialist to Crossrail’s safety team. “Through this new role we are looking at how language, religion, gender and sexuality can affect the behavioural aspects.”

Hails denied the move was linked to the death of Rene Tkacik on a Crossrail site in Holborn March 2014 where the coroner, who ruled the death as accidental, identified the deceased’s state of mind as a result of language issues and social exclusion as a contributory factor. Hails said: “That was a tragic accident and we are still reeling from it. The decision to recruit a diversity and inclusion specialist is not the result of a single event but an aim to focus on wider issues.”

Commenting on what lessons had been learnt over the life of the project so far, Hails said that the approach to safety had naturally evolved and much of the learning had been about incremental change.

During the event Hails also spoke about how the safety challenge on site will change over the next few years: “The challenge we face is that the culture has become embedded over the last five years with many staff working on site for long periods of time. The next phase represents a change – workers are likely to be on site intermittently, for shorter periods of time and there will also be multiple trades working alongside each other.”

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