If you work on the £50bn HS2 project, your instructions from the top are to challenge anything that you think might be unsafe. HS2 Ltd, the company developing the project, has published a simple two-page health & safety policy. In it, chief executive Simon Kirby sets out his personal commitment: “Safety is a personal thing. Tragically, in my career, I have had to visit rail accidents and the site of workforce fatalities. Seeing these things at first hand has had a deep and lasting effect on my attitude to the responsibilities we all have to both the public and our workforce. I will never compromise on safety.”
Mr Kirby says that he wants HS2 to “set new standards for safety”.
In black and white, his instructions to all who are to be involved in the project are: “If you see something that you think looks unsafe, it probably is – so please report it.
“By the same token, if you are ever asked to do something that you feel is unsafe, challenge it – whether this is someone doing something that looks unsafe, or it is the condition of equipment or infrastructure that worries you. You are all fully empowered to stop any task that looks unsafe, and will always have my support in doing so. Even if it turns out that the task was safe, it is always the right thing to stop and check rather than assume it is safe.
“I need every one of you to work with me in developing a culture where health and safety is always front of mind.”