Stockholm is growing rapidly, and so is the need for clean water. Therefore, a mega project is under way to upgrade the city’s largest sewage plant to cope with double capacity. We have spoken to Jerry Andersson, Project Health and Safety Director from the City of Stockholm, about how health and safety is managed at this large and complex project.

The project is called Stockholm’s Future Sewage Treatment and is led by the City of Stockholm. Parallel to operations at the plant proceeding at normal speed – the project includes the construction of a 10-mile tunnel across the city centre as well extracting 25 million square feet of rock to make way for new facilities. The work will continue until 2029 and is expected to cost around € 1 billion.

Efficient Safety Leadership

To ensure an excellent working environment during the project, Jerry Andersson and his team coordinate and manage all health and safety processes for all contractors involved. Jerry Andersson is a well-merited Health & Safety professional coming from previous director roles at Securitas, Astra Zeneca and Skanska. Over the course of his career, Andersson has established a strong interest in how to efficiently inspire people to work safely and maintain safe practices.

“I advanced to a management position at a fairly young age and learned early on what good leadership means. Working with Health and Safety in large construction projects has caught my interest due to that it demands leading people from several organisations, and making them think differently, without being their direct superior. I find this both challenging and exciting.”

Currently, 250 workers are already active on site. This number will grow threefold during the coming months. Jerry Andersson describes that a project organisation of this size really sets a high demand on the Health and Safety leadership.

“As representatives from the developer, we could be authoritative in our leadership and just tell people what to do. Instead however, I believe that we need to help people make safe decisions on their own. We cannot be everywhere at all times; therefore, our role is to enable everyone on site to work safely independent of our presence.”

Safety Culture – Risk Awareness and Role Models

Jerry Andersson, City of Stockholm

Basically, Jerry Andersson says that it is all about building a strong safety culture – and this is best achieved by highlighting good role models and reinforcing positive behaviour. But in order to do this – the risk reporting must work on site.

“Risk observations are the first step. We must get everyone to report everything they believe is a potential risk. This in turn enables us to start having productive discussions about what is a risk and what is not. When we have achieved quality in our risk observations on site, we can proceed to highlighting safe practices with positive observations.”

Since July 2018, the project has used BuildSafe for reporting observations, incidents and accidents, as well as for all different inspection types. Jerry Andersson describes that the use of BuildSafe has been vital for involving the entire supply chain in receiving information and reporting observations from the field.

“BuildSafe is available for everyone on site, regardless of contractor, and gets them to report. It is effective because all reporting is tied to actions which helps us systematically close out risks. Without clear and direct actions, there is no point in reporting. We have seen a clear increase in commitment and reporting throughout the supply chain compared to previous reporting solutions.”

Developer Involvement – Crucial for Maintaining Safety

Due to all reporting being conducted digitally, the project management and the developer always have access to real-time data showing risk levels on the various contracts. Access to the right data is important for being able to take responsibility and make targeted efforts where they are needed, Jerry Andersson says.

He also emphasizes that it is important that the developer takes clear responsibility in the health and safety coordination and ensures that the contractors have the right tools to work safely.

“It is the developer who has the opportunity to set the right conditions and ensure that health and safety is managed properly across all contractors. In this project we are very involved in all project processes and change them a lot – therefore it is our responsibility to ensure that everyone can work safely.”

Incentive Model with Measurable Health and Safety Criteria

As part of getting involved and setting demands on health and safety performance, each contractor has been given clear safety criteria to follow. The criteria are tied to an incentive model that works like a carrot rather than a stick. Each quarter, the criteria are evaluated and if met, the contractor is awarded a financial bonus.

“We have tried to focus on as many measurable criteria as possible linked to health and safety. BuildSafe is essential for us thanks to that it generates hands-on metrics that allows us to objectively evaluate health and safety performance for each specific contractor.

Criteria that are evaluated and measured in BuildSafe include lead times on deviation management, involvement of subcontractors and process compliance.

“For the whole thing to work, the evaluation must be perceived as fair by both parties and done together. We cannot conduct the evaluation individually. The contractors must understand it and own up to their results.”

Digital Tools Enable Involvement and Evaluation

Jerry Andersson expresses that he is pleased with how BuildSafe has contributed to the project so far.

“It’s easy for everyone to use. I don’t see it as a regular app, but rather as a full service. Beyond the technology itself, BuildSafe provides us with continuous training and support for all users. If the we as the developer or our contractors would be responsible for that, it would never work. Thanks to everyone on site being involved, BuildSafe gives a comprehensive dashboard that constantly updates me on how the project is doing at all times – that is a game changer.”

Would you Recommend BuildSafe to Other Construction Projects?

“Most definitely. In order to take responsibility, you must know what is happening and involve the entire supply chain in the safety work. This can only be done if the project can work together with common goals. That is exactly what BuildSafe contributes to.”