‘Our people’s enthusiasm for safety motivates me’

Jessica Rigley

My name is Jessica Rigley, I’m the Area Safety Manager for BAM International in the Middle East and Gulf States. My role is to implement, maintain and improve the health, safety and welfare of all personnel working on our projects in conjunction with supporting the tendering, operation and safety teams.

Workers are eager to develop as safety officers

For instance, my first project here was the Al Ain Stadium and mixed-use development in Abu Dhabi. We peaked at 5,000 and there was a massive diversity in nationalities, languages and cultures. The enthusiasm every day of the people here for safety is something that really motivates me. We rarely have to recruit advisors from outside, but we’re able to develop people from across the workforce and retain advisors from previous projects from a large and very diverse workforce!

English is the company language widely spoken here and to create a link between the workers we rolled out a basic course in English within the projects. After ten weeks, the people who did best moved on to a course in IOSH managing safely in construction qualification. Now that the project is over, some of those people are actually working in our department as safety assistants and fire marshals.

With procedures in place, let’s focus on behaviour

I think we have pretty much everything in place in terms of procedures, implementation and reviews but there is always room for improvement. What I’d like to see for the future is that we can move beyond the organisational side of safety and work on the behavioural side both for management and operations/workers.

In some of the cultures that work here, people may value their families over themselves. As I see it, the way for those people to look after their families is to look after themselves. In that way, the slogan ‘My safety is your safety’ is really catching on. People should act safely even when nobody is watching, because they feel it’s the right thing to do. They should value their own lives and the lives of others.