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Health and safety

Safeguarding the health, safety and welfare of our employees, those who work with us and anyone affected by our works, is always a top priority.

In 2018 we continued to promote a culture where everyone is prepared to speak up and challenge unsafe practices. Our accident frequency rates increased very slightly, but our long-term trend is downwards. The statistics below include the supply chain partners on our sites, as well as those directly employed by Willmott Dixon.



Accident frequency rates*
















* number of reportable accidents per 100,000 hours worked.

We launched a new combined risk management system, which reduced the number of health, safety and environment documents by almost a third. We also launched the second generation of our pre-enrolment system for our supply chain partners – this enables them to enrol before starting on site, cutting down on unproductive time and paperwork.

We became one of the first construction companies to be awarded ISO45001- the new international standard for occupational health and safety, which replaces the old OHSAS 18001.


We continued our push to improve mental health on our sites, through our All Safe Minds campaign. This aims to combat the stigma associated with mental illness – particularly among men – and encourages our people, and those we work with, to seek help if they are experiencing mental health issues such as stress or depression. Around 10% of our people are now trained as mental health first aiders, and we have a number of mental health first aider trainers in the business. In 2018, we trialled free health assessments in our offices.


A number of sites are trialling works in a cable-free environment to reduce the risk of slips trips and falls. The increased use of battery-powered equipment means that we also use fewer generators and therefore less diesel. As a result of these changes, and the reduction in testing of electrical equipment, one supply chain partner has been able to replace his van with a smaller model which has enabled him to go all electric.

Cable free.jpg

To eliminate trailing cables, which can be trip hazards, we are trialling a cable-free approach.

Lessons learned

While we have much to be proud about in the way that we deliver our projects, we sometimes fall short of our own high standards. In 2018 we were fined £1.25m plus costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act in relation to work to re-build a gable wall at a housing project in 2014. No one was hurt, but failure to follow the correct processes put workers at risk. Since then we have thoroughly reviewed our systems and processes to ensure that this type of incident never happens again.