Without adding too much to the droves of content and information currently out there for construction safety week, this is just a little overview of what I have experienced with EHSQ professionals and hiring managers over the past 8 months from the EHSQ recruitment perspective within the construction industry.
It’s fair to say the importance of the EHSQ role has been amplified this year and in particular the Health / Hygiene element. EHSQ professionals had to quickly upskill and devise strategies and approaches to navigate a new challenge that had not been dealt with before, All this while been kept under watch from the media and public, seen as majority of the construction work can be seen from public streets/roads which has added pressure to be on the ball and compliant.
We have found that recruitment of EHSQ professionals has been very consistent over the past 8 months. We did have a dip in April & May, but demand resumed quickly after the initial lockdown lifted. There has been a steady amount of hiring and even a slight increase due to the requirement of COVID-19 Officers. The nature of the Virus pushing EHSQ to the top of everyone’s list.
During downturns in the past, EHSQ tended to slip down the priority list. The pandemic however, has further proven the value of the profession. It was no easy task to draw up those protocols and procedures in rapid order, implement them and ensure compliance on site. It’s important to say it’s not just EHSQ – everyone from labourers to directors and any connecting counterparts are playing a role and contributing to the adherence.
Measures like temperature checks, staggered clock-ins, rigid adherence to social distancing, more comprehensive logging of tasks, all of these require buy-in at every level. It’s been impressive to see that on the whole, that buy-in exists.
There have been cases on sites, but the vast majority of construction projects have stayed open. The industry and those that work within it continue to work on much needed infrastructure and housing the country needs. There have been some that slowed and are delayed or in some cases done away with but the huge contribution by the EHSQ professionals have allowed things to move forward.
In a previous blog, I spoke about the mounting responsibilities of the average EHSQ professional in construction. Over the last few years there has been an increase in the Mental health element and now we have seen added focus again on the Health/Hygiene side of things. This a growing role which requires many skill sets, resilience and focus if it is to be done correct and with competence
There is no doubt the previous 6 months have raised stress levels and anxiety for those in the profession. However, the nature of the current crisis has required a great amount of care and understanding – both have been called for in the past and #SafetyWeek is just another reminder of the importance of EHSQ within the construction industry.
Keeping a modern construction project moving safely with minimum risk is no mean feat. This has led to the EHSQ professional becoming ever more well rounded and skilled. Someone who has to adapt constantly and keep their focus and energy up while being able to influence those around them.