Scottish Water Solutions

Behavioural Safety Programme

Concentris led and delivered a Behavioural Safety rollout for a Capital delivery programme across Scotland


Scottish Water Solutions’ (SWS) capital programme involved a typical annual spend of around £450m, with multiple Delivery Partners (Contractors), work packages and disciplines, on above and below ground activities. Delivering a coherent Health and Safety Strategy which could be understood and followed by all concerned, was a continual challenge.

SWS’ head of H&S recognised that certain key behavioural themes had to be implemented in order to sustain and improve on the excellent safety record which SWS had developed since it was formed.


Concentris was engaged to assist with two main areas of support. The first was in assessment of the existing H&S Strategy, and providing recommendations for change. The second was initiating key behaviour – based improvement at the front line, to reduce the risk of utilities damages.

Health & Safety Strategy:

The existing H&S strategy focussed on six main components, with sixteen individual initiatives contained in them:

  • Accident reduction / damage limitation
  • Service (Utilities) Strike reduction
  • CDM review
  • Completion of projects
  • Culture and people
  • Stakeholder Management

It was recommended that these be reduced to two main components (the first two on the list) which could deliver ‘hard’ improvements, and that a behavioural route was used to initiate these improvements.

Fresh KPI’s were developed to reflect the new approach, based on a mix of leading (behaviour based) and trailing (results based) assessment, and were integrated in a scorecard to give ‘at a glance’ assessment of performance. The measures were chosen to link delivery of the behaviours with predicted better results:


Service strike reduction was chosen as an improvement topic for two main reasons:


Service strikes were a persistent niggling problem within SWS, with over:

Strikes, costing the business costing the business an estimated:

In the year prior to the improvement starting


Strike reduction represented an obvious, value adding, ‘early win’ for the new behavioural approach; the value of these when trying to deliver improvement cannot be underestimated, since it demonstrates that change is possible.

A programme was put together to roll out new behavioural management skills to the Delivery Partners. The main emphasis of this was aimed at equipping front line site staff with the new behavioural skills needed to identify, observe, measure and reinforce new behaviours.

The prevailing attitude had been one where unsafe behaviour was picked up on, but where safe behaviour went unnoticed. The change of mindset needed to bring this about was not easy, but was widely accepted as the correct way to go by the Delivery Partners.

This approach also had a ‘knock on’ effect with other Contractors, working on projects direct for Scottish Water. One of these had experienced several strikes on a project they were delivering. As a result of this, they decided to embark on a behavioural route for improvement.

“I had lived through various Behavioural Safety programmes in the past, but this is the first one which I saw making a real, measurable difference to our performance.

“Some of our Delivery Partners expressed cynicism when we started this off, but the ones who were most cynical became the biggest supporters of the improvements”

Keith Gordon

Head of Health & Safety, Scottish Water Solutions


Accident frequency rate improved by:


Severity rate by:


Near miss reporting improved by:


Strike rate (per thousand hours) improved by:



Doug Hamilton

Doug Hamilton

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