‘In safety, there is still a world to be won’

Arnela Smajic

It’s a shock every time she reads a report of a major incident on a construction site. Arnela Smajic has been with the Group as a corporate safety specialist and is always one of the first to be alerted when an incident occurs.

‘Every time that happens, it is very upsetting to see the name and picture of the colleague in question. The thought that always goes through my head is: what if this was your own father or brother? You just don’t wish it on anyone to be scarred for life after an accident. My grandfather worked in construction, but at the time it wasn’t something I was aware of.’

Psychology and business administration

As a student, Arnela never imagined she would be working for a construction company. Her subjects were psychology and business administration. ‘My first job for BAM was a five-month assignment supporting the communication around BAM Safety Day. I liked it, the company was happy, but I had to go back to uni for my graduation project. Then I got the chance to do this within BAM, and it felt like a logical choice to stay with the company.’

A low-threshold company

‘The reality of working for BAM is different than I expected. It’s not one of those big corporations where I am just a cog in the machine. It’s actually a very low-threshold company, where even the CEO is directly approachable. And there is so much knowledge! Most importantly, I learn something new every day.’

Awareness and behaviour

‘Safety is all about awareness and behaviour, which ties in neatly with my background in psychology. For me, that is so appealing about the new safety campaign: it brings it all down to the personal level. We are not only involving our BAM employees, but also their loved ones. Which is proving a very welcome approach, as we can tell from the many positive responses.’

Innovation and digitalisation

In addition to psychology, Arnela also sees a logical connection between safety and her business studies. ‘Important topics here include innovation and digitalisation, which also play a role in safety. Until now, we’ve often been looking at safety in the rear-view mirror, but we should actually be looking ahead. Data analysis and artificial intelligence can help us predict trends and be proactive to ensure predictable performance.’

There were zero fatalities in 2018, which makes it a relatively good safety year for BAM, but some serious incidents did occur. Arnela: ‘There is still a world to be won.’