The Longworth Christmas Blog – #3 Lee Smith 04 Dec 2019
Longworth Blog Advent 2019
In the third of our Christmas Advent Blogs, our SHEQ Manager Melissa Fazackerley asks our Senior Contracts Manager Lee Smith the following question –
As someone who has been with Longworth from starting a working life, how has health and safety changed within the organisation?
Since starting my career at Longworth in September 1997, I have seen many changes in the Construction Industry. There has also been wholesale changes within our organisation which relate to Health and Safety. Many of these changes are due to the significant growth of the company from a small office space in Sale Manchester to our current location in Haydock. The directly employed staff levels have increased from less than 10 to current levels which are at 60+.
Health and Safety in my early years
In the late 90’s working from a set of trestles with a few scaffold boards was deemed acceptable access. There were a very limited number of health and safety training courses available. When you’re a 17 year old apprentice, you do not really believe that health and safety will affect you at that age. You think you’re invincible.
As I became more familiar with the work I was carrying out, I started to realise how health and safety was going to be a big part of my daily working life. It was at this point I decided that I wanted to take part and be involved in as many training schemes and courses as possible to expand my knowledge. I needed to appreciate the risks I faced each day going to work in the construction industry. Over the years I have attended many different courses and built-up a wide range of knowledge of experience. I am now in the fortunate position within Longworth where I can share and have a positive influence over other members of the Longworth team as I continue my career.
As the construction industry continued to improve safety at work, so have Longworth. The continued training and investment in staff has become the company ethos. Particularly over the past 5 years where we have committed hundreds of days into training all our staff to ensure they have the most up to date and relevant training to assist them in their everyday duties.
Time to Change
One of our biggest commitments to date has been to raise awareness of Mental Health. All the Directors and members of staff signed a pledge to raise awareness of Mental Health issues through the Time to Change campaign. 10 of our employees including Directors committed their time to the cause and to help people understand Mental Health. Longworth now have 3 members of staff who have achieved a Level 2 qualification in Mental Health Awareness. Our SHEQ Manager Melissa has also qualified as a Mental Health First Aider.
It was not until I read some of the statistics relating to how debilitating a poor state of Mental Health can be that I realised the impact it can have on an individual. During 2017 and 2018, 541,000 Construction workers suffered from some form of work-related ill health. 44% of which related to workers suffering from stress, depression or anxiety. That’s a total of 239,000 new cases during a 1 year period. A total of 15.4million working days lost.
Up until 5 years ago, Mental Health in the construction industry was never heard of. Now in 2019 it’s one of the biggest killers in our industry. Unless we come together and help the people in need, this figure will continue to grow. So if you think for any reason someone may be suffering from any kind of stress, depression or anxiety, PLEASE take a minute to talk to them and let them know your there for them.
What our clients say
"Longworth's knowledge, hands-on attitude and wealth of experience allows them to work with the architect and project team to turn complex designs into reality. We commend their positive and cooperative attitude towards design."
Jason Duggan - Architect, Capita Symonds