“Home safe and well” is the Highways England fresh new approach to health, safety and wellbeing improvement. Our vision of ‘No-one should be harmed when travelling or working on the strategic road network’ is summed up in this simple phrase; we all want and need, to get home every day to the people we love and for the things that we love doing.

The approach is inclusive and aimed at customers, employees and supply chain with a focus on ownership and outcomes. Together, we will:-

  • Build a positive health, safety and wellbeing culture
  • Promote greater ownership
  • Embrace innovation, and
  • Place more importance on health and wellbeing

Home Safe and Well supports the delivery of our first imperative safety, whilst keeping customer service and delivery at the heart of what we do. These three imperatives are what we are here to deliver as a company. Safety is the core strand, woven through everything we do. Safety is both a value and an imperative. As an imperative: it is what we set out to achieve. As a value: it is how we go about achieving it.

We can’t routinely eliminate risk, but we can recognise it, assess it, manage it, and make sure no-one comes to harm from it. Safety is the most important part of our work.

We’ve come a long way since 2015 when our five-year safety plan was first published. The five-year plan provided a strong foundation from which to learn and improve as our industry adapted to new challenges. Home, safe and well takes this one step further; it is more than a set of actions, it is an approach marbled through everything we do. 

Our company and directorate plans describe the change in more detail. These plans are owned by Highways England’s Executive Team and overseen by our Board. They are less prescriptive, more collaborative ways of working. They encourage each area of our business, our supply chain partners and every individual, to define and own their own commitment to getting everyone home safe and well.

We have taken a collaborative approach from the start, involving a range of people from inside and outside our organisation. It was important to do this to ensure that the way we go about managing health, safety, and wellbeing in Highways England reflects the unique issues that we face. We would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to help us with our approach.

We looked at our performance since 2015 and identified six focus areas that are critical to how we will go about improving health, safety, and wellbeing for our employees, supply chain and our customers. These six focus areas and their descriptors are:-

  • Effective leadership- “We will grow and work with the best leaders in the industry, who understand that health, safety, and wellbeing is intrinsic to how we do business”
  • Capable People- “We will have the right people with the right skills, who are experts at what they do and are committed to everyone fulfilling their potential”
  • Clear Expectations- “Those working for or on behalf of Highways England will know what is expected of them and achieve this safely”
  • Engaged Stakeholders- “We will involve those who share our passion for what we do and seek out best practice so that we and others can learn from it
  • A learning organisation- “As a company, we will have a hunger to seek out learning opportunities so that we can improve. We recognise that this will only be achieved within a fair and just culture”
  • Health, safety, and wellbeing by design- “Health, safety, and wellbeing will be considered from the outset in everything we do, and risks eliminated wherever possible”       
  •  These areas form the backbone of our plans as we enter our second roads investment period from 2020 to 2025. The activity is divided into that taken at the corporate level and that driven more locally by our directorates.

We will measure our success against a set of ten aspirations that include performance relating to our customers, those who work on our roads and our internal safety arrangements and culture. These aspirations will be supported by a range of leading measures that will determine the effectiveness of our improvement plans. These measures will be reported to our Executive and Board.

We will actively seek out feedback internally and externally, including outside of our industry sector, and use this feedback to develop future learning plans and improve our systems to enable better decision making that ensures everyone gets home, safe and well.

As we built this approach, it was very clear that those of you who work in our company, our supply chain, use our roads and our key stakeholders, all share our passion for ensuring that everyone gets home safe and well. You’ve offered us your support, which we value very highly, and we will keep you involved in our health, safety and wellbeing journey.

This approach is a big step forward and a shared responsibility for all of us; we must all take ownership and contribute towards stopping people being hurt, or worse. We must all intervene if we feel something is unsafe, give feedback on performance, and contribute to improving together. We must all make our commitment to health, safety, and wellbeing known – tell someone and check in with them to hold us to account for what we need to do. If we are successful we will all get home safe and well every day.

More detail on all this is in our approach entitled “Home Safe and Well”. You can read this in full here.

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