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Health, Safety and Wellbeing Excellence (Project): Winner

Winner: Interserve Construction – Piazza Learning Centre

Working on a constrained site at the University of York, Interserve combined commitment and innovation to ensure its team were well protected on the Piazza Learning Centre project.

The judges all agreed that Interserve’s submission exceeded the criteria, adding that they would be taking a number of lessons from the project back to their own businesses.

The £17m Piazza Learning Centre had to be delivered on a live campus, surrounded by 20,000 staff, students and other construction works, which tested Interserve on several levels.

The scheme features a 100-seat lecture theatre, 350-seat restaurant, 34 classrooms, office space and a 350-seat auditorium. 

The contractor scored consistently throughout the audit process, received a 10/10 from the Considerate Constructors Scheme (for noise monitoring), and won two regional safety awards as well as a national innovation prize for the project.

One such innovation was its visual sound indicator: a device that monitors the sound level on the site. When this reaches a dangerous level, the device lights up, providing a warning for workers that hearing protection needs to be worn. 

The firm also designed a new induction video to engage with the workforce from the outset, and had a dedicated safety awareness pod in the compound.

“Interserve has brought its own initiative to the project, going above and beyond its own contractual obligations while striving for excellence in health and safety”

Judges’ comment

Interserve demonstrated an exceptional focus on its operatives, and sought to ensure everyone on site had the optimum accreditation.

All workers had to undertake a CITB-approved health and safety course, and Interserve provided various additional training programmes to get every operative up to a high standard. Over the 65-week construction period, more than 1,000 workers went through the induction process.

Interserve used a board game as part of its efforts to further improve site culture, swapping Monopoly’s London street names for health and safety terms. It was numerous small measures such as these, the judges said, that added up to major overall improvements.

Elsewhere, technology was put to good effect, with QR codes corresponding to site layouts, drawings and emergency information.

Mental health was key to the project, too: Interserve nominated a mental health and wellbeing spokesperson for the site, who was a trained counsellor and available to all workers. Alongside a number of wellbeing campaigns, the company offered reduced rates at local gyms as well.

Zero RIDDORs were recorded during the build, with just one lost-time incident and six minor accidents.

Interserve has now secured back-to-back contracts with the University of York, which the judging panel said was a testament to the firm’s achievements.

Highly commended: Costain / Skanska JV – Crossrail C412 Bond Street station

Coming a close second, the Costain / Skanska JV on Bond Street’s Crossrail station managed to combine a winning company culture with an emphasis on design safety and efficiency.

The judges agreed that the initiatives undertaken across the group were remarkable in that they had to be ingrained within two companies as opposed to one, as well as the supply chain.

The role of design in terms of health and safety – such as the removal of steel shafts – also showed the JV’s commitment to its staff. Both Costain and Skanska demonstrated how they had listened to their employees and altered certain designs, such as the floor materials, to offer a safer working environment.


  • AMK – Deephams STW
  • Costain / Skanska JV – Crossrail C360 shafts and headhouses
  • J Murphy and Sons – Nemo Link
  • Kier – R7
  • Mac-Group – One Cathedral Square, Bristol
  • Toppesfield – Mind Yourself Cultural Behavioural Safety Programme


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