H&S Rapid Deployment Program

Client: Global Civil Works Infrastructure

After three years of managing Health & Safety for this global client we became aware of an area of acute need in some of their operating countries, which was threatening their winning of new contracts. A great deal of new business opportunities for this client (and its competitors) are concentrated in developing countries, where the size and manpower resources of the country operation are limited, but pressures are being placed upon them to have comprehensive H&S Management Systems in place. We were receiving increasingly desperate cries for help in putting these systems in place quickly, in order to win (or not lose) a contract. We put our mind to how best we could help and came up with an idea we now call the Rapid Deployment Program (RDP). 

How does the RDP system work?

The RDP involves an S2 Project Manager fast-tracking the implementation of the critical H&S Management Systems in a specific country. The first use of this system was completed in Africa where the client has many new country operations. The country team in question were a small hard-working group who were determined to fulfil their customer's requirements for H&S and therefore gain an advantage over their competitors in the region.

What are the steps involved in RDP?

  1. Request for help received from Country Team

  2. Liaison with Country Team to establish what is in place already

  3. Preparation for Visit 1 (selection of Appointed Coordinator from the existing team)

  4. Visit 1 – S2 H&S Advisor goes to carry out a ‘Cultural Audit’, set up systems, train staff + Sub-contractors and meet with the Customer’s H&S Dep't

  5. Interim support, liaison & continued implementation (1 month)

  6. Visit 2 - Audit of systems & sites + pressure on Sub-contractors to comply (penalties) + Customer review of new systems

  7. Full Implementation & improvements required following the audits. 

The first RDP project worked extremely effectively in the eyes of all concerned. The required systems were all in place within only 6 weeks, with only the approved climbing training for Sub-contractors and delivery of new climbing equipment outstanding. We were pleased with our own performance but see the commitment of the Country Team as having been fundamental to the success achieved on this first project. Our S2 Cultural Audit was the key to understanding the local demands and to gaining an understanding of how to motivate senior management and the local personnel.

What did we learn from the first RDP project?

The RDP project in Africa taught us an important lesson about barriers to lifting the standards of H&S management - especially in developing countries. Where local laws are minimal or not enforced, Sub-contractors on projects frequently see new H&S management requirements as token bureaucracy. They take it as one more initiative that will come and be forgotten in a week or two. In the absence of a local law enforcement mechanism to drive H&S standards, it is therefore necessary to get the message across that this will not go away. In Africa, our client’s Senior Managers came in at the end of my interview with one of the Sub-contractors, who had so far failed to implement the required new systems (providing a risk assessment, method statement and site worker inductions). They asked the Sub-con manager why the new systems were not in place after one month, and were told that they had been too busy. Our client’s Program Manager told him that he sympathised and therefore would give him more time, but in order to do so he would take some work away from him until things improved. Within an hour, this Sub-contractor went from being the worst H&S performer to the best. He left the building and immediately phoned his sites to get things sorted out immediately.

As a result of what we achieved with RDP in Ghana and the client team’s (commercially driven) willingness to work hard to make it a success, our client won a prestigious global safety award from one of their key global clients. This has given a significant impetus for our client’s business as well as a great boost to morale. Since then, we have used the RDP process many times and in many different industries, to help clients achieve their H&S requirements in lightning-quick time.