Tideway is celebrating International Women in Engineering Day and this year's theme of #MakeSafetySeen by speaking to some colleagues who tell us about their roles on the project and how safety plays a vital part in it.
The day, now in its tenth year, gives under-represented women engineers a profile with 2021 figures indicating that in the UK only 16.5 per cent of engineers are female. As the only platform of its kind, the day plays a vital role in encouraging more young women and girls to take up engineering careers, a message that has been supported by Tideway through its apprenticeship and STEM programmes.
Caroline Nicholls, FLO Graduate Civil Site Engineer
“Safety is, in my eyes, the most important consideration in a construction project. It can sometimes be seen as a barrier to productivity and quality, but I would argue it is the exact opposite!
"In my roles as a site engineer, I play an active role in both the planning and delivery of works on site. As a result, I deal closely with the details of how risks to operatives undertaking works are managed, mitigated, or ideally removed all together.
"Some particularly overlooked parts of safety that I am passionate about is occupational health and mental health. Noise, vibration, and dust exposure can have devastating effects on an individual’s long term health, but these can sometimes go unchecked and the consequences are not felt until much longer afterwards.
"I use the influence I have within my role to address these issues at the planning stage to minimise any potential harm. It’s no secret that the construction industry has a mental health issue, but as a designated Mental Health Champion I want to help break down the stigma surrounding mental health and provide my support to whoever needs it.”
Amy Hogg, BMB Construction Manager
"I have been working as an engineer on the western section of Tideway for four years, across three of the sites. During my time on the project I have planned and delivered a range of complex works including working in live sewage environments, confined spaces and at height.
"The construction industry is inherently risky due to constantly changing work environments. In my role, it is critical to carefully plan all aspects of the task, identify risks and assess how we can eliminate or reduce them to ensure that everyone from the team returns home from work safely each day."
Rhoda Smith, HR Generalist
"Mental health is just as important as physical health, Tideway recognises this and the importance of taking a proactive approach to preventing mental ill-health on the project.
"Unfortunately there is an epidemic in the construction industry, with men working in the industry three times more likely than the national average to take their own lives. In the UK, two construction workers take their own life each day, which is ten times more than those lost to health and safety accidents.
"I’ve been working in mental health on Tideway for most of my seven years on the project. I run initiatives, campaigns, and support Tideway’s Mental Health First Aiders. I also chair the project-wide mental health working group where colleagues come together to share ideas, resources, projects, and discuss achievements or challenges.
"Everyone I’ve worked with in mental health on the project has been engaged and enthusiastic. Tideway is incredibly supportive of the work and resource put into mental health and encourages us to share what we’ve done with the wider industry to help others in their journeys."