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Another very close category ? but the winner was the only one that had talked about measurement and defect-free delivery

SPECIALIST AWARDS

STEELWORK SPECIALIST OF THE YEAR ? sponsored by Parker Steel

WINNER: WILLIAM HAYLEY ENGINEERING

Haley's discipline of measuring everything it does ? f rom customer sat isfact ion scores to days lost to sickness ? has enabled the company to manage growth and introduce numerous performance improvements.

Quality and a 'right first time' culture is central to the company's approach ? it expects to deliver jobs on time and with no defects just as much as its clients expect it to. The company believes it is un ique in inspect ing 100 per cent of all steelwork made in its factory ? 'we tell our customers that we do the snagging at our works, in our time, and not on their site, in their time'.

Last year, the company introduced 42 specific improvements into the business. For example, every piece of steel is given a hard-stamped mark number, but now this mark is placed at one end of the beam (instead of in the middle) so that erectors can identify the correct orientation of the beam. This simple improvement helped improve efficiency and also safety, since there is now no need to swing the beam around to find which end fits each connection.

What the judges said: 'A great little company that seems to be about finding solutions, not excuses.'

HIGHLY COMMENDED: BILLINGTON STRUCTURES Renowned throughout the sector for its design expertise, Billington Structures is also a leading player in the drive to improve safety in the structural steelwork sector.

A recent safety innovation is the company's own edge-protection system, called Easi-Edge.

This system, designed to reduce the r isk of falls from height, has generated so much interest within the industry that Billington has now set up a new manufacturing division to produce it.

An earlier safety innovation (the development of the site Hand-over Certificate, pioneered by Billington) is now standard procedure in the industry, ensuring all sites are prepared with safety in mind prior to steel erectors arriving on site.

What the judges said: 'It is their continuing commitment to health and safety, training and sustainability that is most impressive.'

FINALIST: SEVERFIELD-ROWEN As the UK's largest steelwork company, Severfield-Rowen occupies a unique position in the industry. Its development of steelwork products and production methods is second to none, and its commitment to improving health and safety has knock-on benefits for all companies in the industry.

The company is constantly striving to improve standards and practices across the board, and 2005 saw the patenting of a new handling system called Off-load Safe, designed for the safe off-loading of steel and other products. Not only is this system now used th roughout the Severf ield-Rowen group, it is also being produced commercially for all steelwork and materials-handling companies.

FINALIST: CONDER STRUCTURES Conder describes itself as 'reliable, honest and renowned for its portal frames'. The company is also among the five largest players in the sector and is growing rapidly, with a 30 per cent year-on-year increase in turnover.

In June last year, Conder launched a new edge-protection system in partnership with access specialist SGB. The system conforms to the latest British Standard (BS/EN13374).

Last year also saw the introduction of a full glove policy for all steel-handling activities, with the result that no cuts or abrasions were reported during the past six months.

FINALIST: WILLIAM HARE Hare's aim is 'to deliver the most costefficient steel frame to every client, every time' and to do that the company insists upon consistently high standards from its employees. This commitment is rewarded with excellent working condit ions and first-rate safety standards.

Commitment to health and safety has included the testing of all power tools to rate the vibration level and limit exposure.

The company has also developed a fall prevention system for off-loading steelwork.