Optimise Networks Newsletter Spring 2013

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The Spring edition of the Optimise magazine, Networks, is now available online. In this edition, we focus on the Design department, look at changes in Opex and Health and Safety audits and highlight the importance of project delivery. We also feature projects from Walthamstow to Wichelstowe, find out what ‘DES’ is and celebrate our victories at the Thames Water Health and Safety Awards.

Transcript of Optimise Networks Newsletter Spring 2013

  • Issue No.11 Spring 2013

    Friar StreetOptimise back at the heart of the town


  • I have experienced numerous AMP cycles and as Year Three of this one draws to an end I am struck by one significant difference this time. Rather than the customary dramatic and painful tailing off in workload, Optimise can look ahead to a very busy final two years.

    This AMP is ever-changing, and the significant changes in hand for OPEX R&M demonstrate how during this AMP the way we work is constantly being examined and, where necessary, revised.

    One constant however is our focus on health and safety. The article in this edition shows why health and safety audits should be welcomed for the opportunity they bring to improve our on-site safety.

    The legislation relates to health, as well as safety, and the experiment with fruit boxes at depots and offices, and the trial use of a well-being machine, are novel attempts to improve the health of our people and awareness of health issues.

    I have commented in the past about the way the work we do impacts on other people, including customers and members of the general public. The project to replace Victorian mains running underneath the famous Walthamstow Market is a great example of the lengths we go to, to ensure people can go about their normal working days.

    The various projects to involve schools local to some of our sites inform and involve young people. And who knows? We may just be inspiring the water industry engineers of the future by the work they see us do today.

    Optimise and Thames Water have agreed key changes to OPEX R&M contract working methods and payment procedures.

    The changes are the result of tough negotiations that have been on-going for some months. Both Thames Water and Optimise management and supervisory staff were briefed at two events in mid-March hosted by Thames Waters Bob Collington, and briefing sheets have been issued to all teams.

    John Murphy, operations director for Optimise, was one of the senior management team involved in the talks. He said: The agreed changes are designed to make it easier to carry out the work, and also ensure that it becomes more straightforward for Optimise to be paid for the work it does.

    Among the changes agreed are a number of improvements to the evidence required for payment applications to be successful.

    While photographs remain the primary type of evidence, other types of evidence such as comments from an NST assist, or van tracking data can also now be used to support applications that are rejected for lack of primary evidence.

    Importantly, photos can now be taken in Mobile-i or Triple M and do not have to be retaken using the Toughbook. Also, for the first time, where the photo carries a watermark stating the job number, such as when using Mobile-i, physical white or black boards are no longer required in photos. While this applies only to South London at present, there are plans to extend the change to Thames Valley too.

    Other changes include removing claims for Network Service Technician waiting time from payment applications, and enabling additional and follow-on work to be raised remotely.

    A new process is also being trialled where Thames Water Technical Planners can approve additional or follow-on work remotely using photos provided by the gang. This is designed to reduce the amount of time spent waiting for NST attendance and reduce their workload

    John Murphy said: Currently, all these changes only affect R&M gangs and commercial teams. However we will be looking to roll out the same or similar benefits in Developer Services soon.

    2 Networks Newsletter

    OPEX ChangesNew working methods and payment procedures agreedIan Noble contract director

    > intro

    Customers will choose Thames Water because of our performance

    Front Page: Optimise is repairing a 300mm clay sewer six metres below street level in the pedestrianised Friar Street in Readings busy town centre.


  • 3Networks Newsletter

    Trench step

    Optimise has developed a prototype trench step designed to make it safer to enter and leave trenches between 700 mm and 1000 mm deep.

    HSEQ manager Nick Gilbert said: At present people have an awkward option of clambering in or out of relatively shallow trenches and this has led to at least two reportable injuries. The prototype is being manufactured and will be tested by Optimise to see if it helps to overcome the problem.

    We have already received positive feedback from operations, together with ideas on how to improve.

    Supply chain

    Quarterly engagement reviews with Optimises Top 25 suppliers now include two-way discussions, with one of the areas being health & safety. Nick Gilbert said: These are designed to give two way feedback - our suppliers

    can learn from us, but we can definitely learn from them too.

    Lost time incident boards

    New days since last lost time incident boards have been produced for use on CAPEX projects. These will be displayed on main sites which last for more than one month, to show the number of days since the last occasion that a lost time incident occurred on the site. It also includes figures for CAPEX North London and Thames Valley areas.

    Lost time is defined as an injury that prevents a person undertaking normal duties for one whole day, or more, not including the day of the incident.

    Nick Gilbert said: These boards are another way of reminding everyone how important an accident free working environment is.

    Lift plan for excavators

    Optimise is developing a lift plan for use when any excavators are used as cranes. The plan will be used by all personnel to ensure that they check the equipment, the capabilities of the machine involved, the nature of the item being lifted, and the environment in which the lift is planned to take place.

    The plan is being put into practice from March onwards and includes checks learned from previous incidents.

    Awards Success

    The Optimise Joint Venture Board is delighted to announce that Optimise was successful in three categories at the Thames Water Health and Safety Awards

    Best Health and Safety Improvement for Optimise OPEX Teams.

    Best Practice in Health and Safety Collaboration for our work on the SCADA project with Thames Water and MGJV.

    Young Person of the Year for Barhales David Crawford currently working on the tunnel re-lining at Datchet.

    Optimise was also shortlisted for Excellence in Health and Safety Innovation for our work on fencing stability and site branding.

    Congratulations to all involved and to everyone who contributes to the positive health and safety culture we have developed.

    Updates on latest measures

    Health and Safety> health and safety updates

    Customers will choose Thames Water because of our performance

    Members of the successful Optimise team at the Thames Water Health and Safety Awards Presentation

  • Customers will choose Thames Water because of our performance

    Best Near Miss WinnerCongratulations to Gary Gentle for submitting the Best Near Miss for October to December 2012.

    While working on the OPEX South London R&M contract, Gary assessed conditions on site prior to work starting and realised that unless parking bays were suspended, both gang and pedestrians would be placed at risk.

    The work was subsequently delayed until appropriate parking suspensions and precautions had been taken. Gary (right of main photograph) is being presented with his 50 in vouchers of his choice by Darren Lake, district manager.

    Random Near Miss Winner

    The Random Near Miss winner for October to December 2012 was Gary Emerton. Garys Near Miss card was submitted while he was working on Tunnel Inspections in Wood Green, a CAPEX North London contract. He also wins 50 of vouchers of his choice.

    Submission demonstrates safety focus

    Near Miss Winners> health and safety updates

    4 Networks Newsletter

    Trial gives chance to improve diet

    Fruit Box Initiative

    Optimise people are being given the chance to get fruity at work thanks to a fruit box initiative which has been introduced.

    The three-month trial sees a box of fruit delivered once a week at Kidlington and Brixton depots, and at Rose Kiln Court and Maple Lodge offices. People there are invited to tuck in, and take the opportunity to incorporate additional fruit in their diet.

    Staff at Kidlington depot were keen to give it a try including, pictured left to right, Andrew Harbottle, Click scheduler; Darren Sawala, streetworks co-ordinator; Liz Dancy, developer services planner; and Dave Courts, field team manager, Thames Water.

    The three-month trial sees a box of fruit delivered once a week

  • Customers will choose Thames Water because of our performance

    Optimise sites are subject to a number of different health & safety inspections and assessments.

    According to Randolph Lavelle, health and safety adviser for North London CAPEX, the inspection teams go to great lengths to ensure fair and helpful assessments are carried out.

    He said. Working together with the site management team, we help to ensure that sites are legally compliant, in line with management systems, and are the safest and most efficient we can be.

    Sites receive various formal health and safety assessments, including the Thames Water SHE 8 inspection, site management checklists and task observation audits. Optimise carries out full health and safety audits, plus senior management and SHEQual inspections as well as advisory visits.

    The site teams are also expected to undertake weekly inspections and a contract or area manager should undertake r