Safety Focus: “We live BeyondZero every day”-Jacobs

20 Dec 2018

Operating in Ireland for 44 years, Jacobs expects high safety standards and practices from contractors on all its sites. Construction Magazine’s Robbie Cousins learns what it means to live it’s ‘BeyondZero’ safety ethos.

Jacobs is one of the world’s largest and most diverse global professional services providers, operating in more than 40 countries with a global workforce of more than 77,000 employees. Established in Ireland since 1974, the company offers a full spectrum of services including scientific, technical, professional and construction-and programme-management for business, industrial, commercial, government and infrastructure sectors.

Jacobs’ Irish operation is a Centre of Excellence in pharmaceutical and biotechnology, electronics, transportation, water, and environmental. It provides clients with end-to-end solutions in engineering, procurement, construction management, commissioning, qualification, and validation. Its portfolio includes substantial government agency work in transport, rail, and utilities, along with pharma, biosciences, semiconductors, and mission-critical projects.


Jacobs operates to the optimum standard in safety, and any contractor that works with Jacobs is expected to strive for and maintain this high standard.

Shane O’Sullivan, HSE Manager, Ireland Operations, says safety is a core value at Jacobs:

“Our safety culture is embodied in our BeyondZero “Culture of Caring” philosophy that inspires mutual respect and personal accountability among everyone who works for or with Jacobs. It creates a deep emotional commitment, active engagement and provides the courage to drive excellence and safekeeping in all we do.”

Shane  explains that Jacobs is continually working to improve safety programmes and create a work environment and a safety culture that supports people doing the right thing in all aspects of decision-making.

“Our professionals work continuously on complex and fast-paced projects. All our team members are skilled technically, solutions-oriented and can advise, coach and support our people and contracting partners in all aspects of safety,” he adds. “We are currently expanding and looking to hire people who embody these essential skills and capabilities.”


Jacobs is OHSAS 18001 certified and working on a transition to ISO45001. Over the years, Jacobs has developed relationships with top-tier contracting companies.

“Our contractors know the performance expectations required when working for Jacobs, and they are directly involved in the early stages on projects,” says Shane O’Sullivan. “Safety starts with contractor input during early design aspects, including a rigorous procurement and pre-qualification process with a pre-start safety kick-off to outline expectations and performance.”

Once a site is operational, the Jacobs team works closely with construction managers and trade contractors to make sure work is properly planned and executed.

“We set up our sites for success,” says Shane O’Sullivan. “We believe the first impression when you walk onto a Jacobs’ site sets the bar for work in the field. This starts with how we drive on site and park cars in clean, finished car parks. We have top-end welfare facilities and healthy options in the canteen. We promote well-being and have recognition programmes. When we ask people, ‘what is BeyondZero?’ we get different answers about zero accidents and no injuries. But, in reality, it is who we are. It is the way we go about our business and execute our projects. We live BeyondZero every day.”


Micheál O’Connor Vice President and General Manager of Jacobs in Ireland says: “Our culture of caring is a 24/7 culture that goes beyond the workplace and encompasses health, well-being and safety in the home and social life.”

“We have between 3,500 to 4,000 people coming through our doors or gates daily. It only takes a second for an accident to happen, and we manage a lot of seconds. It is challenging, and new issues continue to surface, but an inherent belief in our BeyondZero culture, the commitment, dedication, and relentless hard work by our people, our clients, trade and supply-chain partners makes it possible.”


Jacobs was delighted to be a Construction Safety Week 2018 sponsor and to help promote the importance of maintaining high safety standards on all Irish construction sites. During Construction Safety Week, Jacobs held events across its sites and managed services network, which included guest speakers, training events and stand downs.

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