An event arranged by Fusion to help youngsters understand how to protect their hearing has been well-received by pupils and school staff.

An ‘Enterprise Day’ was put on at Aylesford School in Warwickshire recently at the request of the UK Hearing Conservation Association (UKCHA), the charity with works to preserve and promote the protection of our nation’s hearing. The day saw nearly two hundred 13-14 year old pupils (that’s Year 9 … or 3rd year seniors for older readers!) taught about sound, hearing, dangerous noise and how to protect against it.

UKHCA Director and Founder Clare Forshaw said: “It was a great day with lots of activities including highlighting the noise levels some children experience on personal music players and phones. We got a great response from them and the teachers and it is a model we feel we can now roll out to other schools.”

Clare, also of Park Health & Safety, provider of Occupational Health services to Fusion, added: “Noise and hearing is not often talked about or acknowledged, so having the opportunity to spend a few hours with these young people and seeing the penny drop when they realise the harm they can be doing and what more they can do to keep their hearing safe was just brilliant and exactly what the UKHCA is about.”

Fusion’s work in Skills, Education and Employment included two recent engagements at Kingsthorpe Grove School in Northampton, and Buckinghamshire’s Winslow School.

Fusion led a ‘Hexbug Challenge’ at Kingsthorpe Grove with Year 3 pupils: explained what engineers do and gave the youngsters opportunities to experience what it is like to take part in engineering work by creating a track for mini vibrating bugs!

Becky Tranter, our SEE Manager, who was joined Apprentice Quality Advisor Daniel Blake (above left) on this effort, said: “This is the first piece of school engagement we have done in the area. Following on from this workshop, we’re now looking at further ecology and archaeology workshops with them.”

Our SEE efforts also saw a quartet of Fusion colleagues spend two days at Winslow School in Buckinghamshire, cleaning its pond and doing general garden maintenance.

Colleagues Pat Howard, Jonathan Stanforth, Sue Hook and Horatiu Blajan were joined by teacher Jo Partridge, plus a number of pupils and their parents.

The school is keen to encourage outdoor learning, and Fusion is enabling this by helping to make the school grounds a safer learning environment, as shown above on the right.

Fusion isn’t done with Winslow School either: This is just a part of a bigger piece of work, which will include more volunteer days and two bird activity days next month.

These activities fall with Fusion’s SEE Strategy, which incorporates school engagement, recruiting apprentices, supporting the National Colleges, creating work experience placements and tackling joblessness.

The “kindness and compassion” of two members of Fusion’s security team has been
acknowledged by senior colleagues at Fusion and HS2.

Mahmoud Khan and Agnieszka Chlewicka quickly intervened after seeing an
elderly man* fall forward on his face in the middle of Harvil Road, near Denham in
the Colne Valley during heavy rainfall recently.

Agnieszka rushed to attend to him, and guided by her first aid training, moved him to
the vehicle she and Mahmoud were in, which Mahmoud moved to the roadside and
used cones and indicators to ensure they were visible to other motorists.

The colleagues changed the pedestrian’s bandages three times to stem his heavy
bleeding while assessing his condition. They waited another hour with him until the
ambulance arrived, and informed the emergency services of his name, date of birth,
relevant personal details and how he sustained the injuries.

The latest indication is that the man, who is now 84 years old, has made a full
recovery from his injuries.

Nina Roberts, Fusion’s Health & Safety Manager, commented: “It is encouraging to
see another demonstration of the priority we place on health, safety and well-being,
also on being a good neighbour, in action.”

“Please give thanks from everyone here to the two security operatives,” said Gillian
Bowman, HS2’s Health and Safety Manager (Phase One). “Their kindness and
compassion has not gone unnoticed.”

Greg Sugden, HS2’s Senior Project Manager (Phase One, Area Central), added:
“What an excellent intervention. Thank you all.”

Mahmoud and Agnieszka were presented with gift vouchers to acknowledge their
intervention by Fusion’s C1 Sector Lead Neil Stevenson.

* The man cannot be named here for confidentiality reasons.

A local councillor, headteacher and the neighbours of Twyford School have shown their appreciation to Fusion after we answered a request to help them safeguard pupils and pedestrians. The school wanted help to discourage parents from parking on a muddy area near the school gates.

In response, Fusion sourced large tree stumps to form vehicle barriers,  also delivered and installed them.

Roger Randells of Twyford Parish Council, told Fusion: “Thank you so much for sanctioning this work. The school is very happy as are the neighbours which is great. The guys who did the work must be complimented on the way the job was done. The headteacher said they were very thoughtful in ensuring traffic could pass and that the neighbours would not be inconvenienced.”

Matthew Wall, HS2 Project Manager, added: “This is fantastic and really highlights how Robert Holmes and the team undertaking the clearance work near Twyford have pushed to be a good neighbour. Please pass on my thanks to the team.”

Robert Holmes, Fusion Senior Project Engineer in C2b, said: “It was a small gesture but it says a lot that the school thought enough of us to ask for help in the first place. It shows that our teams working locally are building good relations. We are here to be good neighbours after all and this is another success story on the HS2 Project.”

Fusion Community Liaison Officer Simon Griffiths was another person whose role was acknowledged by Twyford School for his work on this.

Fusion has answered a call from Suited for Success, a charity that provides free clothes and preparation support for the unemployed going for job interviews in Birmingham, by holding a suit drive during September.

A Suited for Success spokesperson said: “First impressions count. Suited for Success is a practical vehicle to move people from long-term unemployment, crime and homelessness, into employment so they can become independent, financially stable and live more fulfilling lives. Looking the part for a job interview not only gives that all important great first impression but also helps to increase confidence, motivation and self-esteem.

“For many unemployed men and women, the expense of buying a new suit is unattainable, especially when struggling to get by on benefits, have recently been homeless or just released from prison. Not being able to afford an interview suit can be a huge barrier into employment for many unemployed men and women.”

Holding a suit drive is in synch with Fusion’s skills, education and employment (SEE) strategy, which incorporates school engagement, recruiting apprentices, supporting the National Colleges, creating work experience placements and tackling joblessness.

Becky Tranter, Fusion’s SEE Manager, said: “With collection containers in each of our main offices, we are hoping to gather donations of workwear from our generous colleagues. We have had placements and employees that have benefited from this service, and this is our chance to give something back.

“I would like to say a big thank you to everyone that has already donated. The containers will be in place for the whole of September.”

Suited for Success is looking for the following:

  • New and gently worn male and female suits (please no casual, soiled or clothing in need of repair)
  • Men’s smart shirts, trousers, ties, jackets, shoes and accessories (including bags and cufflinks)
  • Women’s dresses, skirts, trousers, tops, jackets, shoes, handbags, jewellery and accessories
  • Suit carriers
  • Shower gels, pamper packs, perfumes and aftershaves (for client gift bags)

They especially need:

  • good quality smart men’s shoes,
  • men’s smaller and larger suits (i.e. 28 – 30 inch chest jackets or 48+ sizes), 28 – 30 inch waist trousers, 17 inch men’s shirts
  • women’s clothes size 16+.

Suited for Success will arrange to collect donations from large suit drives at offices and collection points in Birmingham.  To arrange and for more information, make contact via:

telephone: 0121 236 7770
social media: Facebook – suitedforsuccessuk and Twitter – suitedforbham

Already in the vanguard of environmental and ecological practice – colleagues from BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman and Morgan Sindall working on the Fusion joint venture – are breaking new ground in working towards creating a “plastic-free package of work.”

The goal was a challenge set by Alex Towse, now Fusion’s Pre-Delivery Lead, on its enabling works central contract with HS2 – designing and construction, landscape planting and habitat translocation across over 100 kilometres between Birmingham and London.

As part of reputedly the largest environmental project in UK history, Fusion’s Environment & Sustainability team is delivering a host of sustainable measures, including becoming the first HS2 contractor to achieve the PAS2080 (Carbon Management in Infrastructure) standard.

En route to meeting Alex’s challenge, Fusion has departed from using plastic tree guards in favour of ones made of corrugate and card pulp (above left), secured by eucalyptus poles (above right) – both fully decompose, so leave no waste that needs collecting post-season.

Bianca Rees, Fusion’s Sustainability Manager, led the charge, by conducting a global search for plastic-free products that could be sourced ethically, then negotiating with colleagues to support this innovation.

She said: “There was some internal resistance initially, but after a site visit with our tree specialist (Landscape Manager Stewart Lowe), it was clear to see the products we sourced would enable the trees to grow healthily in a range of conditions, as they would using plastic guards. Our procurement team proved open to innovation.”

Stewart Lowe said: “We’re really pleased to be trialing the new biodegradable tree guards and the feedback from contractors has been very positive. As well as dramatically reducing the amount of plastic we’re using on site, they also make it much quicker to plant the trees. We’re planting over a thousand trees at Decoypond Wood in Buckinghamshire – one of the early sites using the guards.”

Alex Towse added: “The transition from plastic to biodegradable products is real game changer, particularly given the high priority we are placing on sustainability, showing that this measure can deliver economic alongside environmental benefits.

“It is important that market-leading organisations adapt their business practices to ones which safeguard the planet, to help undo and prevent the damage that has been caused, for the benefit of future generations.

“There will also be an enduring legacy from this: we will be using biodegradable guards and ties as we plant millions of trees across the route.”

Further benefits include no compounds need to be set up to recover the guards and ties, plus a reduced health and safety risk to employees moving across unmade ground to make collections.

HS2’s Senior Environment Manager Kat Stanhope: “Plastic free tree planting is a significant step towards meeting HS2 environmental and sustainably targets and is an innovative solution to reducing waste.  It is a great idea and Fusion have worked closely with their supply chain to ensure that the product meets stringent environmental and ethical guidelines. We are keen for other contractors across HS2 to follow Fusion’s example in their planting designs.”

107 – kilometres of land being enhanced and protected by Fusion
7 million – the maximum number of trees that could  be planted across the area central route
4,000 – the number of tree guards used in the last planting season, October 2018 to March 2019
39,000 – the number of tree guards that will be used in the next planting season, October 2019 to March 2020
50p – cost saving from not having to remove plastic tubes and ties from every tree planted
208kg  – carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) saving by switching from plastic to biodegradable products.*
3,582 tonnes – potential amount of carbon saved by 7 million trees

*Based on five colleagues travelling 112 miles sharing two vehicles, recovering 4,000 plastic tree guards in 6 x 12metre yard skips

Fusion’s Gatehouse and Cornerblock offices was visited by Bill Hill, the Chief Executive Officer from Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity who spoke to colleagues about the Charity’s work on behalf of construction workers and their families.

He also was presented with a cheque to represent the £6,000 it has donated to the Charity from the Le Tour De Central fundraising event last month. Early this year, the Charity and Bloodwise, were voted by Fusion colleagues as the charities that will receive the majority of the proceeds from its fundraising efforts.

“I am humbled that you voted for us,” Bill (pictured above right) said at Cornerblock. “On this contract with HS2, you are part of an elite team of which you should be very proud. Construction is a risky business in many ways: collectively 30-40 workers lose their lives each year in the UK. These numbers are lower than they used to be but they are ones we are very concerned about.”

Going on to mention that 20% of work-related absence in the sector is due to stress, anxiety and depression, he added: “This number goes under the radar somewhat but we have a moral obligation to do something about it. Construction is also the number one industry in which its workers commit most suicide: we have overtaken agriculture, and not just in the UK – it’s the same in the United States and Australia.”

After showing a short film which highlights how easy it is to miss or overlook colleagues that could be suffering emotionally with personal issues they may not find easy to speak about, Bill spoke on the history of the Charity, which started in 1956 when the national average of annual deaths in the sector stood at 200.

It helps sector companies build internal cultures that acknowledge the risk mental ill heath poses and take practical action to address it. Last year, the Charity provided emergency financial assistance and specialist support to 1,600 families linked to the construction industry in the UK at a cost of £1.4m.

“We can’t do what we do without the support of people like you,” Bill continued. “We are eternally grateful to everyone who contributed to the charity bike ride – to sponsors, fundraisers and those who sat on a bike and took part.”

Bill’s visit to Cornerblock was hosted by John Hornby, Fusion’s Pre-Delivery Commercial Lead (pictured above left), who also presented Bill with a replica cheque and added: “The scale of this project – covering over 100 kilometres – is the biggest site I’ve ever worked on in terms of logistics – with many individual working locations – which had a lot of interest from the stakeholders (including the public) – for whom we have to do our very best to make the extra effort to address all matters we encounter. These demands can bring about stress in our team and we all need to be aware of these pressures and look out for each other.”

Referencing Fusion’s recent stress management survey, he said: “Our senior management team is committed to alleviating stress at work. No-one at Fusion should feel that they cannot talk to a manager about issues they are facing. Bill’s presentation was a great reminder of how serious the matter is within the construction industry and the steps we must all take to stay well emotionally as well as physically.”

For more information on the Charity, visit its website or make contact in confidence on email or telephone 0345 609 1956

Fusion was visited by Steve Fox CBE, Chief Executive Officer of BAM Nuttall last week. He was joined by a delegation from BAM which included Richard Prime, Major Projects Divisional Director and John Morrison, Fusion JV (Joint Venture) Board Director.

Escorted by Fusion colleagues Neil Crowe, Paul Grainger, Jennie Holloway and Alex Towse, they visited the North Portal site at Great Missenden, before going to lunch at our Aylesbury office and then visited the works at Doddershall and Grendon Meadow.

Steve showed particular interest in a number of aspects of Fusion’s operations, including the new dumper trucks in use: the Dual View dumpers, manufactured by Wacker Neuson, which give the operator an improved view throughout operations: in transportation, loading and unloading. Seeing these latest industry developments on site, and listening to the operators’ opinions, and the operational practicalities of the new equipment really piqued Steve’s interest at the North Portal.

In recent years, Steve has been instrumental in driving initiatives, on the grounds of health and safety, at BAM Nuttall and indeed the wider UK construction industry to discontinue the use of forward and side tipping traditional dumpers on construction sites. Steve was pleased to see this initiative being adopted by Fusion, but is keen for more construction companies and indeed the HS2 programme to follow our lead.

Following the North Portal site visit, colleagues at our Aylesbury office were treated to lunch with Steve (pictured above in hi-vis trousers) during which he gave his thoughts to the team on the growing future of the construction industry and the likely outcomes of Brexit. In the interests of personal safety, he also asked each and every colleague to feel empowered to intervene if we felt something was not right and to maintain the high safety standards we have at work in our home lives too.

Steve’s visit finished at the Doddershall and Grendon Meadow works, where the translocation works and the lengths that Fusion is going to in preserving rich bio diverse environments also impressed him.

John Morrison said afterwards: “It was fantastic to have the pleasure of Steve’s company for the day and we thank him for spending the time with us. It was satisfying for us to be able to show him the impact Fusion is having on the ground as part of the HS2 programme. It is great for him to see Fusion truly ‘enabling’ the HS2 programme with such a wide and diverse portfolio of works.

Fusion’s Calvert Vegetation Team, in collaboration with its supply chain, took part in a successful event recently to further minimise the risk of hard arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) to colleagues. The HAVS Innovation Event was hosted by Practicality Brown, at its premises in Buckinghamshire and saw equipment suppliers, contractors and clients – supervisory, safety and occupational health disciplines – to discuss, witness and trial the latest chainsaw and HAVS technologies.

“We are undertaking a large amount of vegetation clearance across the region,” said John Ely, a Fusion Senior Project Manager. “Whilst the majority of this work will be carried out using mechanised plant equipment, there is still a requirement for operatives to use chainsaws for some operations.

Hand-arm vibration comes from the use of hand-held power tools and is the cause of significant ill health including painful disorders affecting the blood vessels, nerves and joints. HAVS is serious and disabling, and nearly 2 million people are at risk.  Damage from HAVS can include the inability to do fine work and cold can trigger painful finger blanching attacks.  HAVS is preventable, but once the damage is done it is permanent.

After a short introduction to the project and HAVS, the manufacturers talked through the latest innovations and took questions, some challenging, from the audience.

This was followed by a demonstration of the various different types and sizes of equipment available during which the vibration was measured by a representative from HAVi, a supplier which helps organisations control and manage hand-arm vibration, so that comparisons could be made.  Some of Practicality Brown’s existing chainsaws were also tested and monitored at the same time to see how they compared.

Representatives from leading manufacturers showcased a range of the latest chainsaws, brushcutters and hedge-trimmers, and HAVi demonstrated its vibration monitoring equipment which can be used to monitor exposure time of chainsaw operatives. This also generated a lot of discussion on the practicality of various vibration monitoring systems.

Main Findings:

  • Manufacturers Stihl and Husqvarna include battery powered models within their ranges and more are planned in the future.  At the moment these are predominantly limited to smaller models
  • The trails showed that when considered in isolation, battery powered chainsaws don’t show a significant reduction in vibration when compared to petrol powered models.
  • The most important contributing factors to reduce vibration when using chainsaws are;
    • ensuring that the teeth are kept sharp in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations
    • keeping the machine well maintained
    • reducing the hardness and moisture content of the wood being cut
  • When monitoring vibration caused by chainsaw use it is important to ensure that only the time during which the operative is using the chainsaw is measured.  Some of the remote monitoring systems can include the vibration caused when the chainsaw is ticking over whilst not in use.  This is not an issue with battery powered models.

The attendees included Brian Lynskey, HS2 Construction Manager, who said “It is really impressive to see Fusion taking an innovation challenge directly to the chainsaw manufacturing industry to reduce or even eliminating the need for user control measures associated with HAVS from chainsaw use.  A great way to raise awareness in the industry and especially within HS2. Well done!”

John Ely concluded: “I send special thanks to my colleague Sean Levy for organising the event and for Practicality Brown for hosting it – including laying on a good buffet lunch!”