Jacobs’ recognition for its Health, Safety and Wellbeing Excellence comes after a journey that started more than a decade ago following a terrible incident.
In 2005, 11 employees of Jacob’s subsidiary JE Merritt were killed by a huge explosion at a refinery in Texas.
Instead of trying to consign the incident to history, the company made the decision to overhaul its approach to health, safety and wellbeing so that such an incident would never happen again.
From the tragedy came the launch of the company’s BeyondZero campaign in 2007.
More than a decade later, BeyondZero is still at the core of Jacobs’ approach to business, constantly informing how the company behaves and regularly evolving to improve things further.
Huge strides have been made in general health and safety in the construction industry. However, in recent years, Jacobs has started to focus on employee wellbeing as well.
Jacobs has a huge global operation, but it is the UK arm that has led the way in improving the company’s approach to wellbeing with its Mental Health Matters Strategy.
“It was impressive to see how the initiatives, which had proved so successful in the UK, were now being rolled out across Jacobs’ global operation – which includes some challenging markets”
The initiative was launched in 2016 and the company started training up mental health champions, who are a point of contact for anyone in the business who wants to talk about issues affecting them.
By October that year the business had trained up 120 of these champions.
This strategy is designed to help those already in some level of distress, but the company has also introduced proactive initiatives to help people avoid reaching the point where their mental health suffers.
This has included a guide for building mental health resilience, and support systems for those who need advice about financial or personal problems or who want to speak to a counsellor.
The great success of the UK division’s initiative has led the company to roll out the approach globally.
Jacobs now has 400 positive mental health champions across its international offices.
This desire to address issues around mental health has received strong support from the highest levels of management, with senior executives sharing their stories.
Jacobs now wants to share its approach with other partner organisations and has gone out to train mental health champions in Highways England, EDF and United Utilities.
This impressive expansion beyond its own business, combined with strong leadership from the top, left judges in no doubt that Jacobs deserved to be recognised.
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