Taking the Lead on Roofing Health and Safety with NFRC Award Win

Published on 30th April 2021
Sarah Burke with Avonside Group NFRC Roofing Health and Safety Gold Award

We are delighted to announce that we have secured the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) Health and Safety Gold Award in the 2020 Roofing Awards!

The lady behind the award entry and who oversees the team that has helped ensure Health and Safety regulations are adhered to Group-wide, is Sarah Burke. Read on to find out what steps Sarah and her team has taken to maintain safety standards across our branches and sites.

What Did the Award Entry Involve?

The award submission form asked questions about the Group’s accidents, Health and Safety stats and RIDDOR (reported accidents), any HSE non-conformities and things Avonside Group has done relating to Health and Safety which are exemplary.

Working with the NFRC on Internal Fall Protection

In order to address the ‘exemplary’ criteria, Sarah wrote about the work Avonside Group have carried out with the NFRC around raising awareness of the importance of leaving internal fall-protection in place on new housing developments until the main roof covering is installed to prevent falls from height – one of the biggest causes of accidents and fatalities in the construction sector.

In addition to Sarah meeting with NFRC Health and Safety Officer Gary Walpole, we have worked tirelessly with customers to make sure the right internal fall protection systems stay in place throughout the duration of our works.

Sarah explained: “I thought housebuilders getting hectic with newbuild housing due to the Stamp Duty holiday extension would result in a spike in accidents, as construction sites got busier. But accidents on our sites remained low, and I largely put this down to COVID making staff more aware of health and safety in a wider sense.”

Getting Proactive with Ongoing Staff Training

Offering our staff online training will also have helped towards increased Health and Safety awareness. Sarah has been offering staff, including managers, 1-hour CPD courses every month covering various topics from Risk Assessments to Principal Contract Management.

Sarah revealed: “It’s always been difficult to take roofers offsite and hard to get roofers all in one room but now staff can login from their phones and participate in more accessible training. The training is more popular, and people are more interested because it’s available in short, bite-sized chunks. Because of this, I think staff will continue to book onto CPD courses after lockdown, in fact, I have sessions booked in for April and May and people have said they have already benefited from what’s been covered in previous CPD courses.”

She added: “COVID has remapped everything we do at Avonside. We’ve always had the technology but now we are really seeing the benefits it can bring. Online training is more economical with there being less travelling and even our Health and Safety committee meetings that used to be in person are now delivered over Microsoft Teams and more people attend now they’re online.”

This isn’t the first time we have been recognised for our high Health and Safety standards, with our Mid-Kent Roofing branch being awarded the Galliford Try Building Southern Safety Shield last year.

We are extremely proud of all our operatives who implement their Health and Safety training on-site and look forward to continuing to support them with long-term training.