Safety Focus: Avoid the noise and tune in to safety

08 Feb 2017

A busy building site may not be the first place you’d imagine hearing the term ‘mindfulness,’ but Collen Construction have successfully incorporated the practice into their innovative approach to site safety.

“Mindfulness is very useful in that it gets people to focus on the task that they are doing and if people focus on the task at hand, we will reduce accidents and incidents which often occur when people are distracted by what we call ‘the noise,’ in other words, the bills, the personal life, the GAA and all of these other things that might be on our minds,” said Health and Safety Manager, Joe O’Dwyer. “So what we are striving to do is to get people to reduce that noise for themselves and be mindful and focused on the job.”

“It is our objective to do all that is within our power to protect employees and others from work hazards and to prevent injury and damage to property. This calls for a proactive approach and adopting best practices throughout the organisation and enlisting the active support of employees and sub-contractors are vital to achieve this,” Joe added. Workers at Collen Construction are now taught the art of introducing practical mindfulness into their working day.

“Mindfulness is about maintaining a moment by moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surrounding environment,” Joe explained. “It is the recognition that we have thoughts, feelings and sensations that may not be related to the present action or task and it gives us the opportunity to develop skills that help us to manage these elements more effectively.”

“As a part of this process we practice cultivating the witness stance; stepping back, watching and listening to our thoughts, feelings and sensations without engaging in these,” Joe added. “We try to introduce the concept of mindfulness by discussing familiar situations with the guys on the ground because we are very conscious that the end user of this is not a guy in an office; it is the man on the ground and we have got some really great feedback on it because people recognise themselves in these situations straight away.”

Collen Construction, a family owned business established over 200 years ago, has received a number of awards for its innovative efforts in safety. Last year the company was awarded the Construction Safety Partnership’s Construction Safety Innovation Award 2016, for their Behavioural Based Safety Initiative.

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