Marcos Casalderrey, Health and Safety Manager in Chile, is the promoter of the Safety Monitors project. This is based on hiring people with disabilities caused by workplace accidents to encourage self-care in construction.
The initiative has been honoured by Sacyr through its ‘Natural Innovators’ award and has had a significant media impact in Chile, while also being recognised by the Quillota municipality (Chile) as part of its Todos Incluidos (Everyone Included) campaign. Workplace safety is a sensitive issue, which concerns all society, including Sacyr, and Casalderrey has succeeded in tackling this situation with an innovative approach which has merited recognition by the company.
The Safety Monitors Programme was created out of the search for improvements in the area of occupational health and safety, in an attempt to implement monitoring of behaviour in the field. Casalderrey's goal was to find “a creative idea that would manage to make workers aware of the need to take care of themselves and to avoid taking decisions which, in a split second, can be life-changing for someone”.
The Safety Monitors hired have the perspective and the traumatic experience of being a worker involved in a workplace accident, of people who see their future plans thwarted and have to re-adapt in almost every aspect of their lives. They are in charge of raising the awareness of the other employees. They also perform inspections and contribute observations on conduct that has been improved, that is, on hazardous situations which, thanks to their intervention, did not result in an accident.
“The workers and, in general, the entire organisation have welcomed the monitors in a satisfactory, proactive way. The employees understand how much they can contribute on a day-to-day basis, and improve the work environment and the corporate image of being committed to health and safety and, above all, to the inclusion of people who find it hard to return to a job after being injured in a work-related accident”, stated Casalderrey.
The winner of the award commented that the monitors appreciate carrying out the work and make employees aware and understand “the rules have to be complied with, that they shouldn't improvise, that they should use the implements and protections”. Casalderrey's work and desire is to prevent life from taking an unexpected and dramatic turn. “We must be aware everything can change in just a few seconds and there is no going back”, he concluded.