The safety of our workforce is a fundamental value to the Morson Group. We place safety at the forefront of our business by developing initiatives like Work Safe, Home Safe, and committing to industry frameworks for continuous improvement.
Gareth Morris | Associate Director
Safety is a core value of Morson International and the safety of our workforce is an integral part of our business. Our aim is to attain standards of health and safety in the workplace that exceeds legal requirements and Approved Codes of Practice. To achieve this we are developing a sustainable system and culture to help us deliver a safe and efficient service to our clients. We will strive to create collaborative working practices with our clients to ensure the safety of the workforce engaged at the client’s workplace.
Health, safety, and the respect of the environment are integral parts of Morson’s fundamental performance. We continually work towards the establishment of advanced formal management systems for Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS).
Promoting safe behaviour in the workplace is a critical part of the management of health and safety because behaviour turns policies and procedures into reality. We recognise that good systems alone will not eradicate the risk of harm in the workplace. We need to evolve the culture of the workforce to achieve zero harm.
The benefits of a behavioural safety approach are;
To help achieve this we have created a behavioural safety initiative called Work Safe Home Safe. Our aim is for our entire workforce to understand the need for personal cultural change and to understand how to embed safe working in individual responsibilities in the workplace.
We believe that addressing safety behaviours in addition to the continual development of company policies and processes provides a balanced approach that may be tailored to the specifics of each workplace and client.
Third (3rd) Party Approvals
SAFETY MATTERS | 2 MIN READ Vital Human Resources was approached by Network Rail 18 months ago to address rising disruption on the LNE and EM route and therefore placed 12 trespass and vandalism patrollers. As a result, there has been a 53% reduction in suicides within the Thameslink area. Read more about how the patrollers spent more than 157,000 hours within some of the railway’s most vulnerable locations. Since Vital Human Resources was approached by Network Rail 18 months ago to address rising disruption on the LNE and EM route, there has been a 53% reduction in suicides within the Thameslink area thanks to the outstanding work of our 12 trespass and vandalism patrollers. Within the contract’s first year, our patrollers spent more than 157,000 hours within some of the railway’s most vulnerable locations. This resulted in more than 50 lifesaving interventions along the Thameslink lines of the route alone, with Iman Masoud, who you may recognise from our summer 2018 edition after saving the life of a suicidal woman, completing three of these interventions. Following a hugely successful trial, Network Rail has since extended the scheme for the next five years, which will see 40 Vital trespass and vandalism patrollers working alongside train operators and the British Transport Police (BTP) throughout the routes. Travelling in pairs, our growing team of trained patrollers respond to issues regarding unauthorised access that may impact rail operations, whilst helping keep rail passengers and rail staff safe. Each receives extensive training from the Samaritans and the BTP on how to how to intervene in suicide attempts as well as safeguarding prevention and trauma. Our patrollers have already been involved in a number of potentially lifesaving interventions, with each undergoing rigorous applications to ensure they have the right personality, values and mindset to deliver such an important role. Combined with extensive experience, which has seen some of the patrollers working along these same routes for almost 30 years, the patrollers will also engage in a growing community programme to educate those living and working locally to highlight the issue of suicide on the rail network, the impact of mental health and educate local school children on the dangers and consequences of trespassing to promote help-seeking behaviours. To support the outstanding work of our patrollers, we recently rolled a new fleet of vehicles equipped with the necessary equipment to aid what they do. The 20 new Peugeot Partner 5 Seater Crew Vans have been specially designed in partnership with Network Rail and contain a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, detonator box and holder, and more. Visually, they provide a similar look and feel to a police vehicle, complete with flashing sirens and chequered flags to ensure they are instantly identifiable to the public, whilst ultimately providing a safe location for anyone who is vulnerable whilst waiting for additional support from the BTP. We cannot praise our team of patrollers highly enough for the superb work they do every single day and look forward to growing our network of patrol staff and supporting the wider work of Network Rail and BTP in keeping people safe. Download our latest issue of Safety Matters to read more about everything from health and safety innovation and project wins to top tips and case studies. Or, to search for our latest jobs, click here.Find out more
THE RECRUITMENT COO | EXPLORING THE FRONTIERS OF RECRUITMENT, LEADERSHIP & STRATEGY with Adrian Adair Adrian Adair is our Chief Operating Officer and has spearheaded significant market expansion, positioning Morson Group as the go-to strategic recruitment partner of choice across all sectors, both in the UK and overseas. Adrian’s leadership style places inclusivity at the heart of how the business acts and thinks. By identifying a future leadership team which is diverse and future facing, Adrian has curated a pipeline of talent which will strengthen the Morson Group's reputation as one of the most forward-thinking and ambitious recruiters. In The Recruitment COO, Adrian writes about leadership, talent and inclusivity as well as mistakes and motivation. From recruiter to the c-suite, Adrian is not a ‘thought leader’ – he’s an action taker, a change maker and an innovator. I was over with our rail training division, Morson Vital Training, having a quarterly catch-up with head of training Matthew Leavis when he introduced me to a brand-new initiative Operations & Apprenticeship Manager, Andrew Robinson, was launching. It had been noted that some of the apprentices were struggling with the manual labour elements of their jobs, partly since they hadn’t really undertaken any intense physical activity like that before. Consequently, the drop out rate was increasing, as was the risk of injury associated with lifting. Fitness Matters is the new 6-week initiative that’s been launched by MVT in partnership with CrossFit QYS in Salford. It aims to enhance the health and wellbeing of our 2019 L2 Engineering Apprentices as well as enhance their work readiness before they enter the operational rail engineering programme. Andy told me that the third session would be taking place after our meeting, so eager to see how the apprentices were getting on, I decided to head over to the gym with them. During the 90-minute session, the apprentices learned technical lifts associated with functional fitness. They also undertook strength and conditioning exercises before splitting into pairs to complete a number of challenges which required cooperation. It was great to meet with and join in with the exercises of some of the apprentices who will be our on-site ambassadors into the future. It was a tough session! Like a lot of our initiatives, this one works on several levels. Not only does it improve the apprentices’ general fitness levels (also valuable outside of the workplace), it allows them to work in a more efficient and more importantly safe way. Plus, the teamwork-oriented challenges develop vital teamwork skills and helped identify those who might be future leaders. This is something that the rail industry is really on the lookout for in the talent pool as large, long term projects loom on the horizon. It’s a win-win! This got me thinking about our wider business and our MorFit programme. We’ve always had a commitment to health and wellbeing from board level, but as our business has grown it’s made more sense to develop this further. Hence, we’ve created a new role within the business – Health, Wellbeing & Engagement Partner. This dedicated role is responsible for pulling all of our initiatives and activities around health and wellbeing into a cohesive strategy, and gives employees across the Morson Group a point of contact to have their say on all aspects of wellbeing; from company culture, work-life balance, and supporting physical health, to providing a forum for employees to tackle any mental health issues. The latter point is something of particular importance to us, to the extent that we’ve also trained up a network of mental health first aiders across the business. These are colleagues specially trained to identify, understand, and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue, and deal with an emergency situation. Crucially, this holistic approach allows strategies and initiatives to be devised that are reflective of what colleagues across the business are looking for. I like to get involved in MorFit as much as I can, be that yoga or the more intense physical sessions. The fact that I’m keenly into fitness myself aside, it’s good to be leading from the front and setting an example. It’s also a great opportunity to mingle with employees that I might not usually interact with on a daily basis. Companies need to bring health and wellbeing to the top of their agendas across their operation, and I’m proud to be part of a company that has not only embraced this for our direct workforce, but also the future generation of contractors that will serve our clients’ needs well into the future. Read more from Adrian's Recruitment COO blog hereFind out more
SAFETY MATTERS | 4 MIN READ Morson International sponsor Women in Rail's mentoring programme. Our pledge to double the number of female contractors by 2020 has risen from 7.5% to 13.8% within the past 12 months. We speak to Gary Smithson, Associate Director at Morson International to find out more. We are committed to improving diversity, inclusion and equality across all sectors in which we operate. So, in addition to pledging to double the number of female engineers that we employ by 2020, which has already risen from 7.5% to 13.8% within the past 12 months, we are proud to announce Morson International as a sponsor of Women in Rail’s mentoring programme. The nine-month programme accurately matches aspiring female mentees with successful mentors from across the rail industry to guarantee success, by moulding and accelerating a diverse talent pool. In order to champion diverse thinking, cross-fertilisation of ideas and boost networks within the UK rail sector, the programme matches mentees with a mentor from another business based on their location, personal interests, technical skills and experience. Now in its fifth year, Women in Rail aims to build on in its 260 pairs established in 2017, a considerable increase on the first 12 matches back in 2014, by collaborating with Moving Ahead: a specialist company behind the mentoring programmes in some of the UK’s largest and most well-known businesses.Gary Smithson, associate director for Morson International, said: “We’ve been a big supporter and champion of Women in Rail for a number of years, including their annual awards and Big Rail Diversity Challenge.” “Diversity is good for the industry and if we’re to reap the same commercial rewards as other, more diverse sectors, then we must address the issues within our own sector in order to rebalance gender ratios.” “This programme is a fantastic avenue to develop and harness some of the best female talent within our industry, gain valuable insights on what holds females back from entering rail professions and share best practice on retaining great people. Diversity is an issue that’s affecting our entire sector and one that we’re working on together with our clients and supply chain to make sure we are doing everything that we can to overcome.” “We have so many talented, intelligent and ambitious females working throughout our rail operations and will be placing a number of these on the 2018 mentoring programme to give them the additional skills and attributes to reach their full potential.” Read more about how we’re changing behaviours on track here. Adelne Ginn, general counsel at Angel Trains and founder of Women in Rail, added: “We are delighted to have launched our “repowered” Mentoring Programme this year, which looks at matching mentors to mentees from across the rail industry. Mentoring involves developing an individual to achieve their full potential and in turn, believe in themselves.” “Our programme has been designed to encourage the next generation to champion diversity in the rail industry and evolve to support men, as well as women, transport as well as rail and women internally as well as across the UK. We could not have done this without your support as sponsors, so thank you from all at Women in Rail.” Download our latest issue of Safety Matters to read more about everything from health and safety innovation and project wins to top tips and case studies. Or, to search for our latest jobs, click here.Find out more
MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS | 8 MIN READ It’s estimated that one in four people experience at least one diagnosable mental health issue in any given year and at any one time. 15% have taken time off work due to mental health reasons. Of these, 28% were off work for more than a month. 42% did not tell their employer they were off work because of their mental health. One in six employees will be suffering from depression, anxiety, or stress-related issues right now. Over the last few years, mental health has, quite rightfully, been in the spotlight. More than ever, people are realising the impact of poor mental health both inside and outside the workplace – as such mental wellbeing is high on the agenda for most employers. The topic of mental health isn’t new to us at Morson – it’s been part of our conversation for several years. Our activity has centred on creating a culture and working environment which is open, unbiased and inclusive, underpinned by professional support and resources for employees in need. Our workforce has received training on mental and emotional wellbeing and last year we surveyed our contractor population and published a whitepaper, aimed at reducing stigma and changing attitudes. Click here to read our mental health whitepaper which includes more insights from our contractor survey supported by powerful personal stories of our own employees and ex-Morson sponsored boxer Ricky Hatton. Our latest initiative goes further to weave a solid support network into our working culture. Our Mental Health First Aider programme provides personal support across our UK office network. We spoke to Heather Deering, Health, Wellbeing and Engagement Partner to find out more about the scheme: “Morson’s Mental Health First Aiders are colleagues who are trained to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide help on a first aid basis in the same way that a physical first aider would. They’re able to recognise the warning signs of mental ill health or emotional distress, approach discussions in a sensitive and non-judgemental manner, and guide people to appropriate resources if they need them.” “For us, putting Mental Health First Aiders in place across the business is a way of demonstrating that it’s okay to talk about mental health in the workplace, it’s to encourage anybody who is experiencing distress to reach out for help, and then actually providing that help.” Watch the full video below We asked out Mental Health First Aiders what inspired them to join the programme… At Morson, we recognise that mental wellbeing is more than just the absence of mental health issues – it’s a state of contentment, the ability to respond well to everyday stresses and to contribute to and participate in the world around us. We have a fantastic family culture at Morson where everyone strives to help each other as much as they can. That’s why finding volunteers to become Mental Health First Aiders was an easy task for us. Some of our volunteers share what inspired them to sign up and help people across the business… Leonie Kellar, Resourcer and MHFA at Morson International said: “Just the opportunity to really help people, I’ve also worked in a hospital before helping people with mental health issues as part of my college course.” Gareth Morris, Morson Group’s HSQE Director and MHFA added: “I’ve been touched with it with various immediate members of my family and it’s always been there in my mind that I look after health in terms of health and safety and health includes physical wellbeing and also mental wellbeing and that mental wellbeing is as equally important as physical wellbeing.” “Looking after the staff is so important because the staff are our assets and if people are well they are productive, they’re happy and they get more out of work and we get more out of work as well.” Research shows that being in work can have a positive impact on a person’s mental health. Apart from obvious benefits like providing a source of income, work can provide a powerful sense of identity, the opportunity to connect and build relationships with others, and a way to build self-esteem through achieving and contributing to a collective goal. Michaela Elliot, Recruiter and MHFA at Morson International discussed the need for conversation: “We need to get people out there talking. The statistics show that there are so many people out there that are not talking and if we are able to get one person talking that will help as many people that need the help and let them know that we are here to support them and to guide them to the correct people that they can speak to.” But what support is available to Morson employees? In terms of reactive support when somebody is having a tough time, we now have the Mental Health First Aider network in place, and we’re working hard to make sure it’s well publicised and feels accessible. We understand that some people might feel comfortable speaking to a familiar face, whereas others might prefer to speak to somebody who doesn’t really know them, who might be many miles away in a different office. We also offer the Employee Assistance Programme where our colleagues have 24/7, confidential access to trained counsellors who they can speak to over the phone or online, and that’s completely external to Morson. Our Mental Health First Aiders discuss the importance of their role and how they hope to help: Leonie said: “Someone’s actually got the opportunity to speak to someone if they need to, even if it isn’t necessarily that they’re in a crisis, they’ve got the opportunity to speak to somebody and help them through any issues or guide them in the right place.” Gareth added: “It’s just conversations. It’s people coming to you or you bumping into people and having a general conversation when you’re in the breakout area… How are you? How are things? And if people do show signs that they have some anxiety or stress then to perhaps give them guidance in where they can go for support.” As part of our mental health awareness initiative, we have responded to employee feedback requesting more practical guidance around mental health in the workplace. As a result, we have created a new toolkit which looks at subjects such as signs and signals someone might be experiencing a mental health issue and how to approach a conversation around mental health. Click below to download the toolkit.Every Mental Health First Aider at Morson has a white lanyard as opposed to the red lanyard that the rest of our employees wear. This ensures that our First Aiders are easily identifiable to someone who may need to chat if they wish to do so. Leonie chats about their importance: “I know when we initially did the training there weren’t many people that were aware that we’d even done it or who the Mental Health First Aiders were. So now its raising awareness, one of mental health and also who to speak to if you need to.” Mental health is something that Morson is serious about and we’ve detailed our commitment very clearly to both our employees to ensure they know what support is available and where to go for it. “The key point for me is that our Mental Health Strategy is an ongoing thing – we as a HR team are completely receptive to hearing thoughts and feelings about our initiatives, and I encourage anybody who has suggestions about what we can be doing to get in touch with me and share them.” – Heather Deering, Health, Wellbeing and Engagement Partner. If you’re struggling with a mental health issue and would like to speak to someone or seek support, you can contact the Samaritans’ free helpline number 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by calling 116 123.Find out more
DIVERSITY | 6 MIN READ Morson was delighted to host the North West Diversity Forum along with Manchester Airport Group and the Clear Company. The event brought together a number of individuals from organisations such as JLL, Shop Direct and Royal London to share key learnings and best practise and provide some practical ideas to take back to their respective organisations. We explored the link between diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. Morson was delighted to host the North West Diversity Forum along with Manchester Airport Group and the Clear Company last week. The inspiring session saw Adrian Adair, Morson COO share the Morson journey to inclusion along with a talk from Dr Mark McBride-Wright, an expert in LGBTQ+, diversity and founder of Equal Engineers. The event brought together a number of individuals from organisations such as JLL, Shop Direct and Royal London to share key learnings and best practise and provide some practical ideas to take back to their respective organisations. It also allowed participants to bring to the table their own challenges and opportunities to get support and expert advice from the group. Opening the event, Adrian Adair, Morson Group COO discussed empowering an inclusive workforce: “We’re in this room because we believe that building and empowering a diverse and inclusive workforce will enable us to achieve better performance, innovation and productivity. How many of us can say that our inclusive workplaces are present from the top down and the bottom up? Are we guilty of slamming the door shut on the success of open-door policies? How do we take the literal ‘open door’ and transform the view of our leadership team from dictatorial to inclusive? For me, it’s about being visible and accountable. I’m a strong believer that change happens from the bottom up. That business leaders need to trust, listen and act upon the insight of our employees to stimulate positive change throughout our organisations this process, environment or policies. By doing so we’ll be able to transform our organisational culture and employee makeup. When we remind ourselves that as senior leaders we are our organisation’s role models, we are able to ensure the success of our open-door policies. How we behave, communicate and deliver, all combine to transform our literal open doors into conversations with our employees, employees who are motivated to challenge the status quo and importantly to innovate. And with that our open doors become open minds and we can deliver business improvement from the top down by empowering change from the bottom up.” He finished with a key take away to keep in mind during the whole event… “We are all equal thinkers, that there is no monopoly on innovation and importantly that there is no such thing as a stupid question.” The North West Diversity Forum is run by The Clear Company, a diversity and inclusion consultancy business who help bring diversity issues to light. To kick off the event we discussed what the attendees would like to get out of the session, from improving diversity in their company to having a personal interest, it was clear that everyone had one aim in common – to learn more and share ideas. Rebekah Lee, Head of Marketing at Morson discussed our partnership with Equal Engineer and Dr Mark McBride-Wright: “As one of the largest recruitment businesses in the UK, we work in some of the sectors most challenged by gender and equality imbalances. We’ve partnered with Mark and Equal Engineers to ensure that our diversity offering provides much more of a fully rounded solution and covers a range of diversity topics rather than just looking at gender.” Mark McBride-Wright shared his inspiring journey with the group from moving to London in 2005, becoming a Chartered Chemical Engineer and embarking on his career in diversity. He explained: “In 2014 I founded an industry networked called InterEngineering which connects, informs and empowers LGBTQ+ engineers and supporters. The network has now grown to over 1000 engineers with five regional groups and 20 volunteers that help run the network… we’re on a mission to connect people globally.” As InterEngineering was growing companies started asking Mark if they could recruit his LGBTQ+ engineers so he saw an opportunity to step up a level and create something that has an equal focus on each underrepresented group and there, EqualEngineers was born. TOP BLOG: Morson Embrace Latest Technology to Ensure Our Website is Accessible to People Living with Dyslexia. Ross, MD at ReciteMe Explains Its Importance Masculinity in Engineering One of the key points discussed during the session was the concept of masculinity in engineering and how we can get ‘the majority’ on board. Mark explored the idea of flipping the gender narrative and linking diversity to health, safety and wellbeing. “There’s been a big movement in mental health and wellbeing and creating environments where people feel comfortable to share their experiences, their feelings and fears. So how do we help men become more vulnerable? There’s a whole lot of work that can go into helping expose that vulnerability, creating higher performing teams and arriving at a place where we have more cohesion. I believe that this is the framework for getting diversity into conversations, rather than getting caught up in gender pay discussions and reactive mechanisms. Be proactive and come at it as a full cultural engagement programme.” “It’s about coming at an angle where we don’t disengage anyone” Linking Diversity to Health, Safety and Wellbeing Mark discussed the link between diversity and mental health, especially in construction. The shocking statistics speak for themselves; if you’re male you’re 3x more likely to take your own life by suicide working in the construction industry, relative to the UK average. “The beautiful thing about engineering is that we already have a framework around creating a positive safety culture. We’ve seen over the last 30-40 years a continuous reduction in incident rates in engineering, people can come to work, be safe, go home and be safe. We’ve got mechanisms in place for calling out unsafe acts when you see them, so why can’t we just expand the focus from physical safety to mental health and wellbeing and use the systems that we already have in place?” The topic of mental health isn’t new to us at Morson – it’s been part of our conversation for several years. Our activity has centred on creating a culture and working environment which is open, unbiased and inclusive, underpinned by professional support and resources for employees in need. We have recently launched a Mental Health First Aider network who are colleagues that have been trained to identify, understand, and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue and will provide personal support across our UK office network. Find out more about our Mental Health First Aider network here. “It’s about applying the principles of first aid but to a condition that you can’t see” The points that we discussed in the North West Diversity Forum makes you realise how ED&I becomes a smaller circle of a bigger conversation. For more information on Morson's commitment to diversity check out our Diversity Portal. Or to find your next opportunity search Morson jobs here.Find out more
MORSON NEWS | 5 MIN READ Morson featured in Recruiter Magazine discussing Morson's health and wellbeing initiative. Adrian Adair, Morson Group COO, Matthew Leavis, Head of UK Training and Heather Deering Morson’s Health, Wellbeing and Engagement Partner discuss the many benefits of a personalised approach. We are proud to share that Adrian Adair, Morson Group COO, Matthew Leavis, Head of UK Training and Heather Deering Morson’s Health, Wellbeing and Engagement Partner have been featured in Recruiter Magazine discussing Morson’s health and wellbeing initiative. In the blog, the team discuss Morson’s commitment to mental health, the many benefits of nutrition, work-life balance and how a personalised approach leads to employee engagement and productivity. Read the full blog from Recruiter Magazine here. In recent years, health & wellbeing has risen inexorably up the agenda of many recruitment companies. A healthy and happy workforce is also a more engaged and productive workforce goes the thinking, while employees and candidates increasingly see it as an important aspect of being a ‘good’ employer. However, while such programmes, involving gym or spa membership, free fruit in the office and perhaps access to some sort of independent advice or counselling service have become more commonplace, some companies are endeavouring to take health & wellbeing to the next level. Three years ago, engineering and technical recruiter Morson International launched MorFit, a fitness programme for staff. Morson’s COO Adrian Adair hails MorFit’s success “in introducing some fitness into the organisation, and in showing us that we could really have an impact on staff” but says this is just the beginning. . . Determined to build a programme that was more than just for “people that were interested in fitness”, he says the company has set the ambitious goal of providing health & wellbeing “that is personalised for individual employees”. Three years after MorFit launched, that journey is well and truly underway. Although still early days, staff can enjoy not just the use of the company’s gym in the basement of its Manchester HQ, and fitness classes, but benefit from Morson’s new much broader and all-encompassing programme. To drive its health & wellbeing agenda and to build it into a long-term strategy, the company has recently appointed its first health, wellbeing and engagement partner, Heather Deering. Mental health is key Mental health is a key aspect of Morson’s programme, says Matthew Leavis, Morson International’s group head of UK training: “When you consider that one in four people will suffer from mental health issues, it’s a significant challenge,” he says. “It is something that we are particularly proactive about at the moment.” The company used Mental Health Awareness Day in May as the catalyst to help break down the stigma of mental health, by encouraging staff to talk about their personal experiences. “A lot of personal stories came out, and people came out and said how supported they felt, including senior people,” says Adair. The company also launched a network of mental health first aiders, usually mid to senior-level managers “to act as a reference point to spot some of the trigger points within their team”. The ambition is to expand the number of mental health first aiders to 80. “Gone are the days when you just asked ‘How are you?’, because most people won’t really answer that question. We work in quite a stressful environment, so I think it is really important for line managers to be able to spot signs within their staff,” explains Leavis. A typical trigger would be a change in personality, appearance or attitude to work, he says. Unusually, Leavis says the company also allows its clients to take advantage of its growing expertise in mental health, by giving their line managers the opportunity to attend training courses for Morson’s mental health first aiders. Leavis says that one client has asked Deering and Morson’s mental health practitioner to do some work with them on mental health. “It is available as part of our menu of services outside the normal recruitment services,” explains Adair. Taking this further, Leavis says there are plans to launch a mental health training division. Find out more about our mental health first aider programme here. Outside the office In a similar vein, Morson has extended the boundaries of health & wellbeing beyond its own staff working within its own offices, by introducing a fitness programme for a number of its rail apprentices, who are deployed on clients’ sites. Leavis says the initiative was launched in response to a spike in the numbers of rail apprentices, who left during the first couple of weeks of beginning their duties. “The youth of today are perhaps not as physically active as they used to be,” Leavis explains, “with social media, computers and online gaming, so we find that a lot of the young lads and ladies who come to our training centres are not prepared for the physical nature of the job, despite wanting to do it.” There were also concerns that this lack of preparedness for physical work risked injuries or accidents. Working with a gym in Manchester, Leavis says the company came up with a six-week physical fitness programme that would give apprentices “some core strength and basic functional fitness to help them adapt to their roles”. Comparing their performance at the end of the six weeks using a simple test, Leavis says some apprentices tripled their score. He says the programme has also boosted apprentices’ confidence. Partner for health In addition to physical fitness and mental health, Heather Deering’s brief includes mental health, nutrition, work-life balance and employee engagement. “It’s not that MorFit is going away, it’s more about taking things to the next level, and that’s where I step in,” says Deering, who while working for Morson as an internal recruiter qualified as an associate nutritionist. Supporting Deering across the Morson Group are two mental health champions. With its emphasis on putting staff at the centre, Deering says her first task was to undertake a consultation exercise with staff, using the feedback “to determine the priorities of the programme and what the initiatives should look like”. Deering says the feedback indicated that mental health ranked high on the staff’s agenda. Although Morson had done a lot of work on mental health in the past, she says, including training staff and publishing a white paper, the message that came back was that “the training was a little academic and theoretical, whereas they were looking for something more practical”. In addition to the mental health first aiders, one practical result is a mental health tool kit that provides advice about how to approach mental health in the workplace. Adair recognises that in recruitment there is a risk that hard-pressed line managers in particular focus on hitting targets at the expense of the physical and mental wellbeing of staff. However, he says that the focus on health & wellbeing, which started three years ago with MorFit, has now become embedded in the business. “Line managers are encouraged to talk to their people, and it’s about the line manager understanding both the business’s needs and their team’s needs.” Deering says what has helped line managers embrace health & wellbeing is a commitment from the top of the organisation. “I have not really encountered resistance; in fact, people are excited about it,” she says. “It’s about presenting the argument that looking after health & wellbeing makes commercial sense. If you want to attract the right people, keep them present at work, productive and here for the long term the research shows that if staff are healthy and happy, they are going to be engaged, have fewer accidents and perform better, which is all good news for your bottom line.” Adair says the key work for him is “productivity”. “One of Heather [Deering’s] goals is to minimise sick days, so actually if you make people more healthy, they actually spend more time at work.” Deering accepts that what she has embarked on is “a mammoth task” but she remains excited rather than daunted. “It’s about not rushing in and trying to fix everything at once because it is not a quick fix, but taking things bit by bit and by having a calendar of events each year we can cover all the different elements so as to build a long-term strategy.” Find out more about our health and wellbeing initiative here. Alternatively, if you’re looking for your next opportunity with Morson, click here to search for jobs.Find out more
Morson’s Compliance Manager, Oliver Wingrave has been featured in the safety reporting newsletter, CIRAS discussing how we keep our contractors safe and well whilst working on shifts. We recognise that night workers face a different set of safety and welfare risks to their daytime counterparts, so it makes sense to think differently when developing support provisions for them. Read on to get an insight into how we go about keeping our shift workers safe and well. To read the full article from CIRAS, click here. Why do you think that night time safety strategies need to be different? Anyone who has worked a night shift will tell you it’s a very different experience to working in the day. Research shows that working at night, when our body’s natural internal clock expects us to be asleep, puts stresses and strains on physical and mental wellbeing. Certain disorders are more prevalent such as stomach complaints, cardiovascular disorders and depression. Night working can make life difficult because it conflicts with normal family and social life, potentially creating domestic tensions and a feeling of social isolation. Wellbeing can be further affected by having to eat at night and lack of sunlight during winter months. And in many organisations, the support services for staff are primarily available in traditional day-time office hours. Did you know we have a Mental Health First Aider programme? Click here to find out more about our commitment to employee health and wellbeing and what we’re doing to support our clients, contractors and colleagues alike. What support does Morson give night workers? We decided that we could eliminate some of the risks associated with moving from days to nights by employing a permanent night team. This helps workers avoid some of the physical and social disruption. We try as much as the work from the client permits to allocate shifts that are consistent, so our gangs typically work the same pattern every week, making planning their lives a little easier. This approach also allowed us to put a support network in place which is open for business when our night team are working. We have a manned night office with operations managers and a health and safety team on site, working while the night team are working. Bi-weekly meetings and regular forums give workers a space to discuss any issues, and we run toolbox talks on common issues related to night working such as fatigue. We have several qualified Mental Health First Aiders on the night team, and our Safety Bus does night visits, so our night staff can access the same support as their daytime colleagues. Morson’s occupational health provider is also there for us to call upon to assist where needed, for example with medication advice. Support begins before our workers join us and continues throughout. We issue new workers with a Night Workers’ Health Questionnaire, and their responses flag up anything that needs further action from the Morson health and safety team. We give new team members a full induction and brief them on the relevant health policies and support they can access. Then, our operations managers and PWT (Protecting Workers on the Track) representatives carefully monitor new night workers to ensure they settle in. Finally, we know night workers may be at greater risk of facing other experiences that require specialised support. For example, some of our night staff recently witnessed a stabbing incident between members of the public. They were all contacted and offered assistance from our employee assistant programme. What advice would you give CIRAS members wanting to adopt your approach? The most effective approach is to have a strong support team in place that can manage the operations and health and safety of the night team. A key challenge is ensuring that the arrangements follow legal requirements and best practice. A good place to start is to look at regulations and industry specific guidance such as the RISQS audit protocol and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website. Specific advice on night workers is also available from government sources such as the HSE and gov.uk websites. It’s then important that the company has the resources and people in place to implement those systems. Consider appointing an occupational health provider (this could be the same centre you book any medicals with). Having the right management and support team is also essential. Your top management must be actively involved and buy in to what needs to be done. A final challenge is to keep improving. It’s one thing coming up with a system and putting policies and procedures in place, but the key to success is to implement them and maintain over time. It’s important that you always seek to keep improving including keeping an eye on what is happening in the industry, for example with legislation. To read more about our continued commitment to health and safety, click here. Or, to find your next opportunity with Morson, click here.Find out more