Blog: Health, Safety and Wellbeing SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - Continuous improvement

09 June 2020

sponsored by VolkerWessels UK

Health, Safety and Wellbeing SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - Continuous improvement (Mace Aviation, Infrastructure & Retail)

The Mace Aviation, Infrastructure & Retail Business Unit (AIRBU) learn from successfully completed projects and from incidents, understanding the key to success is continual improvement and innovative solutions.

Early and regular engagement with stakeholders is maintained to promote a collaborative working partnership and integrated programmes are developed. This ensures joint ownership of projects, including safe delivery. This approach allows operational problems or safety concerns to be reviewed immediately and an agreed solution found with lessons learned applied.

They use Root Cause Analysis as part of the incident investigation process, with identified improvements/lessons shared across the wider business, the client and other contractors to ensure incidents are not repeated. Examples include reviewing and enhancing service clearance procedures following a permit inconsistency and a faster way of communicating potential adverse weather conditions.

Their 'Safety first, Second nature' (SfSn) programme has been designed to deliver on their Safety First value. This is embedded in their Annual Delivery Plan, with all staff attending required modules to improve and refresh their knowledge and understanding of the Mace culture and values, centred around Standards, Leadership, Engagement, Behaviours, and Work Environment. This programme extends to their supply chain directors, managers and operatives.

The Mind Buddies, mental health first aiders, wellbeing ambassador, wellbeing initiatives and structured wellbeing plan ensures Mace continually look to improve the health and wellbeing of staff.

Their series of KPIs – both at project and supplier level – are set to monitor and act upon the measures they believe to be important. These are annually reviewed to meet the continual demands of the business and provide a proactive improvement culture to ensure a true reflection of numbers achieved.

Via a monthly performance matrix, suppliers self-score on approximately 25 questions based on the SfSn sections, as well as training, and environmental management. They also award bonus points for best practice. League tables are then published and presented by the Construction Director at the monthly supplier Directors meeting. Linking these KPIs to workload has driven a better adherence, with those in the GREEN receiving more work than those in the RED.

Projects self-score on a similar parameter of questions, which are then reviewed by a Mace Project Director unconnected with the project. At the monthly AIRBU Project Manager / Construction Manager Forums, chaired by the Construction Director, the league table is highlighted and those below the 85% benchmark are given some coaching and the best performing team recognised. 

Due to the unique nature of the work in the airport environment, Mace AIRBU developed bespoke procedures – above those developed by Mace Group – ensuring they deliver construction works in live international airports in the UK to standards required by the Department for Transport (DfT) and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulatory bodies. Their project locations include live terminal environments, baggage sorting halls, adjacent to live aircraft stands, and terminal roofs. These all involve differing constraints like restricted working hours (22:30-04:00), security checks for workers/equipment, and foreign object debris (FOD).

AIRBU use their ’54 Steps to put an operative to work safely’ document as a guide and prompt during pre-construction. It highlights everything needed by a project to allow works to commence; from isolations, permits and Construction Phase Plans, to Client authorisation, work area surveys and appointment of Duty Holders under CDM15. The 54 Steps is reviewed by the Construction Director and HS&W Manager during pre-construction, keeping the project team on track and helping them understand the significance of completing all aspects of the process.

Their best innovations and improvements come from working within a constrained or restricted environment like operational airports and shopping centres. They use the Mace Knowledge Hub and Innovations platform to promote new ways of working, ensuring other parts of the business benefit from their learnings.


Mace has now worked 9.76 million manhours (at the time of writing), over a period of five years without a reportable construction-related incident, whilst working in and around a live airport terminal environment.

As of the 14th February 2020, they have achieved a period of 260 days without a lost time incident. In 2019, they had just one construction incident resulting in an individual taking 1 day off work due to an injury.

Over the last five years, they have seen a significant fall in the number of reported incidents within the AIRBU. This has resulted in a decrease of 58% in the number of incidents – with injury incidents, near misses and health-related events. Most importantly, the significance and severity of the reported incidents have also decreased, with the majority being near misses and minor first aid treatments.


  • 9.76 million manhours without a construction RIDDOR incident: this has been over a 5 year period of sustained improvement in health and safety standards, processes and culture, both within Mace and across their supply chain.
  • Heathrow 2019 ‘Delivery Partner of the Year’: recognising exemplary performance in delivery throughout 2019.
  • Supervisors ‘Common Code’ – developing improved standards for all supplier supervisors to achieve. The ‘Common Code’ is an agreed set of minimum standards that all suppliers have agreed to work to, improving the knowledge, skills and leadership of all ‘Black Hats’ on projects.

About the Health, Safety & Wellbeing Award: 

Health, Safety & Wellbeing is of paramount importance and a culture of ‘safety first’ is crucial to performance. Overarching health and safety risk management systems and effective health initiatives are fundamental to reducing or eliminating all types of incident and promoting health and well–being across the supply chain.

> Find out more about the other finalists here

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