EP 140

Making Health and Safety a Profit Centre, not a Compliance Department. (EP 140)



In the studio today, I am joined by Gavin Coyle, CEO of Coyle Group, a Group of Companies serving the safety sector in the construction industry. Gavin is a thought leader, speaker, and safety mentor and holds a level 9 MBS in workplace Safety from DCU, a Diploma in Safety, a Certificate in Law, and a Diploma in Corporate Governance.

In today’s conversation, Gavin talks about his experience in the Construction Industry, the regular pushback from Commercial and Procurement teams regarding Health and Safety and how he believes you can make Health and Safety a Profit Centre, not a cost. 

Gavin is uber passionate about this topic and is a keynote speaker at many high-profile events. His views on Health and Safety will absolutely change your perspective.

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Paul Heming: Hello and welcome to episode 140 of the Own the Build podcast with me, Paul Heming. As always, I’m continuing our free giveaway, and today I’ve linked an eBook that I co-wrote about payment notices a few years ago. You can download that eBook by going to the show notes now. And the context of the book is that you are a main contractor working on a JCT contract or any contract for that matter. You’ve employed a major subcontractor on a nine month program, and in month eight you’ve gone on holiday or you’ve done something silly and you’ve forgotten to issue the payment certificate on time. So the question being, what do you do in that situation? My background is I was always a subcontractor, so I know what I would do, but I wanted to ask from a main contractor’s perspective, what would you do? I asked an expert adjudicator and we discuss it all in that eBook. So go and check that out right now. I think you’ll get great value from it. Give me some feedback, loads of you reaching out to me on LinkedIn and on email lately, particularly for those contract audit documents. Loving to hear from you. So give me a shout by all means. Onto the show. So in the studio today, we have got Gavin Coyle, who is CEO of Coyle Group, a group of companies serving the safety sector in the construction industry. Gavin is a thought leader, he is a speaker, a safety mentor. He holds a level nine MBS in workplace safety, a diploma in safety, a certificate in law. I’m getting tired, and with, and also a diploma in corporate governance. I say this all the time, Gavin, when I welcome guests to the show, I’m tired just narrating what it is that you do. So I can’t even imagine how tired you are doing it. Welcome to the show, mate. I will shut up. How you doing?

Gavin Coyle: Paul, how are you doing? I’m delighted to be on the show and thanks for having me.

Paul Heming: Oh, the pleasure is all mine. I will tell you something else, Kevin. Despite my accent, I have dual nationality to both the UK and Ireland. And listeners to this show will know that I love an Irish accent. So all the happier to have an Irishman on the show.

Gavin Coyle: Yeah, I think we have to thank [inaudible] on Westlake for that really, don’t we?

Paul Heming: I’m not too sure about that actually. But I saw that you were a keynote speaker at a conference in Singapore in the last week or so, weren’t you? Is that something that you traveled to or was that an online thing? Talk to us about that.

Gavin Coyle: It was due to travel but the conference was changing sort of the agenda and dates and so we couldn’t pre-book. So what we decided to do was do it online, and that was with the Institute of Safety and Health, which is if you want to do your charter ship in health and safety, OSH is that body that represents charter ship of safety. So it was the Singapore branch and it was safety leaders in that region had come together for a one day conference. So they asked me to do a keynote speaking note.

Paul Heming: Shame you didn’t get to go out there, Gavin. It’s a cool place to go. Really, really cool place. I like it.

Gavin Coyle: Yeah, I have been. What a beautiful place in terms of it’s very clean, very friendly, very safe. Great atmosphere as well in the main strip, isn’t it?

Paul Heming: Yeah. No, it’s really cool. But this sadly is a construction podcast. It is not a travel podcast. I wanted to be a travel writer when I was younger, but sadly here we are talking about construction. Talk to me and talk to us, I should say Gavin, about your journey, your experience and what you are doing today in construction.

Gavin Coyle: So I left school when I was 17. Went straight into construction, loved it, was working for a very successful Irish company in the drywall fit out space, but they were also doing cleaning room fit outs as well as interior fit outs. So would’ve done a lot of work in Oxford Street, fitting out different retail stores, but also would’ve done a lot of commercial hotels and major projects in terms of drywall. And then on the more technical space, it was clean room environments such as pharmaceuticals and, you know, large scale, hyper scale stuff. And the American multinationals were moving into Ireland in a big way and it was all hyper scale projects that they were building. And so with them, they brought their models and one of their models was they wanted a full-time health and safety professional on their projects. So that was new in Ireland at the time.

Paul Heming: When was this?

Gavin Coyle: You’re talking like late eighties, early nineties.

Paul Heming: And health and safety was new to Ireland at that point, in that context, I mean?

Gavin Coyle: In that context. Yeah, it’s like obviously moved on, but like we’re talking, 1955 was the factory act in Ireland and then it went to 1988, I think it was workplace safety Act. So the second big framework legislation was literally only out a couple of years, but then the American guys decided, no, if we’re gonna build these big projects, we don’t wanna have a fatality on our hands and then reputational damage, we want full-time safety professionals for every individual contractor that they provide that. And then they had the model of privacy project management on top of that. So it just goes to show you, and it was nothing to do with the company that I was working with at the time, but if we all remember sort of the mentality, it was like, that’s in the way. I don’t need that. I have to get on with the job. And Gavin, you’ve just come out of school, you have a bit of something in your head that you’ve just finished school. I don’t know what –

Paul Heming: Yeah, yeah.

Gavin Coyle: Or methodology was, but you are going to that meeting because I don’t have time and none of us have time. So that’s where I suppose got thrown into a safety meeting and sort of immediately loved the whole concept of making people safe and reducing risk and potentially saving people’s lives by putting the right measures in place. But you know, very green, no education in the area, no subject matter backgrounds, no guide or mentor.

Paul Heming: Really. I think when I say this, I’m gonna sound absurd, but I’m gonna try and say it anyway. So stick with me right now. What you just described was, you know, I loved the idea of making people safe of creating environments where people could work well and be safe, etcetera, save lives. Now that sentence, those sentences, I should say, to me it makes perfect sense, right? That you would want to do that. However, the narrative or the prevailing narrative in the industry is kind of what you described at the very start there of, oh, safety, roll your eyes. Oh, does he have to come into the meeting? Like, blah blah. So two part question really. Number one, what is the thing that actually draws you to safety? And two, how does it make you feel that eye rolling, which it sounds like you’ve started to experience from day dot in your career?

Gavin Coyle: Well, it’s a lot more the attitude has changed and has become more mature, a lot more mature in today’s environment. And anybody will tell you that you know, the days of get that job done, we need to get out of here. I don’t care if you don’t have gloves, just get on with it. You know, we have to move on to the next job. I remember those conversations and they were genuine and they weren’t meant to be in a way that was I want you to die doing the job. But they were done. Like that was just the mentality and the culture within construction at the time, it was like, get the job done, whatever, that I stopped moaning about it and get on it. Whereas now it’s more, hold on a minute, I could be held up into court or I could be brought sued or this guy could lose his life and I don’t wanna be standing in front of the wife and kids and all that kind of stuff. So that we’ve moved on a lot more and there’s another discussion to be had about that, which is what I’m very strongly passionate about, which is we need to have a more mature look at how we talk about safety. And you can’t just go into leaders of safety and say, do you know what, if you’re gonna do that, you’re gonna get prosecuted and you’re gonna go to jail and you’re gonna get fined. I think well, I know business owners are desensitized to that message because genuinely they don’t do it for reckless reasons. And it’s very minute level of people that are on the spectrum of recklessness.

Paul Heming: Taking wild risks with their staff and their employees.

Gavin Coyle: You know, let’s be fair, unless it’s in a particular region of the world where it just hasn’t matured beyond that a certain point, it doesn’t generally happen. So in terms of myself and like, I wasn’t sort of beaten down the drum, but from a safety perspective, any safety professionals that we found that were really good always had a real good spot from empathy number one. And for having that people person connection, number two. And generally, if people are listening to your podcast, which I know there’s a lot of people that do that, you will see probably a less or below average or below par safety person who doesn’t have empathy number one and doesn’t have a people skills number two.

Paul Heming: Oh, I’ve definitely experienced that in my time, Gavin.

Gavin Coyle: Okay.

Paul Heming: Yeah.

Gavin Coyle: There’s no bias, but like given day –

Paul Heming: You can experience that with any role, right. Project manager, QSs, site manager, whoever, that exists. So why is it? I’m not singling out health and safety guys at all far from it, but why do you say empathy is so important as a health and safety professional?

Gavin Coyle: Like it’s very similar. I put it at very similar to paramedics into that sort of bracket. And I haven’t really talked about it that much, but I would see health and safety people you know, having that wanting to help people approach for genuine reasons and they’re not doing it for monetary reasons. Yeah, you want to pay the bills and the money in health and safety is through the roof at the moment. It’s gone off the scale in terms of salaries and where that’s gone, which is good, but obviously –

Paul Heming: Good for you.

Gavin Coyle: Yeah, but it’s attracting some of the, it does attract people that shouldn’t be in safety. And let’s be honest with that happens in every industry. It’s not just safety. So, and not painting a brush on that, but very quick, we can see even from my own company whether people have that sort of connection with other people. And if you don’t have that connection, but then you’re not gonna break the boundaries on the barriers of people’s sort of you know, I don’t want to do this. I need to get on with my job type of approach, health and safety people should be able to bring people with them and they should be able to tell a story that sells why we are all doing this and the reason for this. But as I’ve matured as a safety profession, what I’ve learned is that’s all very good, but the job still does have to be done and we still need to win more work and we still need to make profit and we still need to drive this machine. And safety’s just a part of that. So you can’t saturate the business with safety and then choke the hell over it and then all of a sudden it’s on the floor because you’ve just paralyzed all the different divisions. Needs to be harmonized and integrated.

Paul Heming: Absolutely. And I mean, I think one of the things that we will discuss later in the show is changing that emphasis of it as a cost center to maybe being a profit center, which I wanted to talk to you about, thought was really interesting. But I guess even just reflecting on what you said then at the start of the show where I was talking about it sounded like a stupid sentence. When people roll their eyes and you’re saying, I’m here to not save your life, but make your working environment’s safe and you’ve just compared health and safety to paramedics, I’ve never heard or considered that as a –

Gavin Coyle: A parallel.

Paul Heming: Yeah, as a parallel. Thank you. Much better way of putting it. So, but that parallel, it really echoes, doesn’t it? It rhymes. So it makes sense. So why is it that we can’t create, because if a paramedic comes onto a building site, they’re gonna be respected, appreciated. I’m not saying that health and safe safety professionals are not respected and appreciated, but it’s definitely a different context. It’s that there may be a problem here or a problem may be caused as, but you don’t get that with a paramedic. Why do we have that? How do we shift that?

Gavin Coyle: I think, to be fair, the higher the value of the industry and the more regulatory the environment, the more respect the safety person gets, the lower the barriers of regulatory environment and the lower value contracts or projects, as in everybody’s fighting for a pound or over a pound. If you’re in that environment, it can be toxic and therefore safety’s in the way and therefore those conversations that you’re just having or that angle that you’re coming at is in that environment. What we’re trying to say is like, as you go, I wouldn’t say, I don’t wanna say up the food chain, but as there’s more value in the project for everybody, safety actually comes up in value as well with people because I wanna make sure that I’m safe because I want to keep this job, I wanna make sure I’m safe because I’m making plenty of money. I want to continue to make plenty of money, and it’s paying the mortgage, give me a nice car and a nice lifestyle, and I’m gonna keep the safety guy happy and I want to get on with them cause I don’t want him and me having a clash or and therefore I’m gonna do everything I can to show and demonstrate that I’m good, great trades person, but I’m also a safe trades person. And therefore, and then all of a sudden, I’ve seen this in our own, like the coil group that we run only operates in the power generation, utilities and wind energy sector. And it’s just a totally different conversation with those individuals. But we have done work in construction in the past.

Paul Heming: The construction projects or the infrastructure projects that you worked in that you are involved in, sorry, at that level are at such a high level. Yeah, that makes sense.

Gavin Coyle: There’s enough money to move around the ship for everybody and everybody’s making money and everybody’s happy. What we see, we have seen the construction element of side of things where it’s domestic, residential, mixed construction, and there’s so much pressure coming at different angles into that environment. Safety generally gets hit.

Paul Heming: Really. I mean, it’s really interesting that you say that. We’ve talked with numerous people. I mean, we’ve talked with people in wind and those sectors as well, but you know, a lot of the people in the commercial residential sector and the margins and the cash flow hamper the sector so much and that only, it’s funny, isn’t it? We talk about a lot in progress program, you know how you’ve managed your supply chain relationships and how it impacts those. But it’s interesting to hear you say, yeah, and safety is getting cut to the bone as well, right? If that’s maybe being –

Gavin Coyle: It’s called the spade the spade, the construction industry is completely fragmented. The general construction industry is completely fragmented and everybody’s doing their own thing and has their own agendas. And the bigger guys in construction that made it, that were the guys that were rolling up their sleeves and doing the pavements and doing the civils work and all that kind of stuff, then all of a sudden they became very intelligent over a period of time and said, you know what, I don’t need to do this anymore. I’m just gonna get agency guys in and I know so much about the job. I can project manage this job. I can put in a great team at the top and we’re gonna educate these guys how this job should be done. And we’re gonna manage that process, but we’re gonna spend more of our time winning more work and convince more clients to use us and building our brand and less of our time stuck in a cement mixer. And I know I’m kind of, I don’t wanna paint a picture here, but if you look at it from a blunt Irish man’s point of view, that’s what’s happened. And the smart guys got out of building and said, no, we’re gonna be project managers now. And it suits the agenda to have a divide and conquer rule where you have all these contractors that are pitted against each other to try and win work. And then you have this tier one system where these guys hold all the cards and hold all the relationships and they’re able to build on those relationships because you have time and they have now got the resources and they have de-risked their own business because they’re not gonna go out of business through mismanagement or financial issues or labor issues or health and safety issues. They’ve offloaded or outsourced very smartly on my dad, all of those and then distributed amongst all the smaller guys. So we’ve seen situations where some guys are so small that they’ve been soaked into one company and that one company then has pretty much owned them in such a way that they actually can’t even bring on more work themselves and they’re so loyal and then they’re caught in this financial turmoil where they’re waiting on the next paycheck in order to put their heads above water because they’re in too far or too deep with this particular company because they’ve sold themselves to one particular identity and that one identity has soaked them all up.

Paul Heming: We could talk for hours about the challenges and the problems and the fragmentation, particularly the fragmentation thing that you touch on. It’s such a problem for so many reasons. A problem for development, transformation as well. You know, the fact that project team, sorry, break up and you know, all that knowledge is lost. There’s so many reasons why fragmentation hold holds us back. And I’m sure it’s the same in the safety field as well. What I want to do is I want to talk to you after the break about changing safety as being seen as a compliance or cost center and take it to being seen as a profit center. But we will do that right after this break.
So Gavin, what I want to talk to you about now and where you got my interest most peaked when we were speaking before we started recording was, and I’m a QS so I love a bit of financials and numbers, don’t I? Don’t switch off. What I wanted to talk about was, you said that you believe you can turn safety from a compliance department and effectively a cost center for a business to being a profit center for a business. And I know we’ve spoken before about examples where you’ve seen that happen in companies. I’d just, first and foremost, just like to talk to you about that and hear your perspective on it.

Gavin Coyle: Yeah, a lot of my communications will be with leaders themselves or owners of businesses. And, you know, you build up a lot of relationship and a lot of sort of two-way communication with these guys and you start to understand what ticks their boxes and obviously profit, it ticks everybody’s box. And it goes back to sort of the old mantra of, they’re desensitized to that whole, you’re gonna go to jail and you’re gonna get sued and all this kind of stuff that doesn’t stick on them anymore. But if you tell them that the let’s start looking at the positive ways of getting the most out of the areas that you feel uncomfortable with. Well, I feel uncomfortable with safety. I don’t sleep well at night because I wanna make sure that I don’t get that phone call. So, okay, so how do we look at that in such a way that makes it a positive environment for your business and it’s integrated into the way your culture is and the way you want to scale your business. And so we had a situation with one particular company and there’s been numerous examples, but one particular company that they have over 50 million turnover working in the utility industry, over a hundred guys working for them. And we went in to do a gap analysis just to see where are you at? Get a landscape view of what the mood is within the business. Talked to the individuals that were working in the field. Most of them were actually working in trench boxes when they should have been working on overhead power lines. So they were employed as overhead power line workers, but they were working in trenches and we’re like, there was other things, but this was kind of, oh my god, there – It’s like, what happened guys? And it’s like, well, the company won this government contract and they came to us and they said, look you are solid for the next 15 to 20 years. You’re gonna get more money. Yeah, you won’t be working on overhead power lines, but you’re gonna be doing a job that’s less of a competent need in terms of won’t be as challenging, but you’re gonna get more money and then you’re gonna guarantee your, so the guys were like, yeah what are you gonna say? No. So but they were demotivated and they weren’t fully honored because they were just like going through the motions if you like. So we went back to the company and said, look, there is companies out there that specifically only do that particular task. Do you know that? And they said, well, we’ve heard of that, but we don’t wanna go down that route. And then when we spoke to them and we got a debate going with the boards and the owners, the reason they didn’t want anybody into the business was because they didn’t want to expose their clients to other potential competitors or companies that might turn around and have a better bond than they do with their clients and therefore take the relationship away from them. And then they lose that client to that new identity. Amazing like 50 million turnover business. And I was trying to convince them to, and this is coming from a safety perspective to say, if you’re good enough for your job, if you’ve got safety, quality production and cost all move in momentum, you shouldn’t have any fear of losing any client. And if you do lose a client, well that client was gonna go anyway. Now obviously we’re talking multimillion, so it’s not like as if you don’t want to lose a client, but you have to be strong, convicted in your own reputation and your own brand and live the brand and don’t just have these fancy marketing tools to say who we are and what we want and all this kind of stuff. I have to say it was weeks in the making to get them to go to tender just to actually accept that they were going go out to tender and they did. And we introduced one company that we knew, but we didn’t look no bias. We look, it’s up to you whether they’re right or wrong. And they actually went with that particular company and because they had all the knowledge of the labor time, the materials, everything, cost, because they knew the job inside out, they were able to understand the amount of profit that they were gonna make by giving that award to that particular contractor. That particular contractor went from 20 people up to nearly 200 people today because they won that contract. And then the client that we were representing, they took all the guys out of the trenches out of the holes, they repurposed them back onto the overhead power lines. They went back to their existing client base and said, you know all those projects that are in the pipeline, yeah, well we can do them now. And so now they created more revenue for themselves because they had more capacity. And we talk a lot about in the, our business of safety model, we talk a lot about capacity and like I still speak to the directors of those business. They say, Gavin, million plus, you’ve made us a million plus just by doing that; having that safety approach of let’s look at it from a redesign reconstruction, let’s make people more competent in what they’re competent in doing and putting them to task and allowing them the freedom and the expression to do stuff that they love doing.

Paul Heming: You know, it’s funny because it was going back a few months now maybe to the start of this year, we did an episode where we were talking about insurance policies and construction companies almost always doing things that they’re not covered for in terms of their insurance. And you know, that example of previously working on overhead power lines and now working in trenches and like you go and look at and think, God, that’s not what we say we are doing. Whether that’s outwardly as a business or whether that’s what you say on your insurance. And it’s not just because that, that’s not a problem. It’s because you know, you see a business opportunity, you take that business opportunity, that’s all granted, but it’s exactly the same thing. Whereas, but then if an insurance company had turned up on that site or to that project cause something had happened and they turned up and said, hang on a minute, it says on your insurance policy that you only do overhead power lines, then everyone’s sat in the trenches. So when you said that, it instantly made me think about exactly that. Is it something that you see often where –

Gavin Coyle: So we’re living in a market place at the moment globally that has more production than it has labor. And that’s true to say for every trade and every even health and safety, there is a global shortage of labor in the market. And what’s happening is the clients are turning to the existing contractors and saying, look, we know you do drywall, but can you do the painting as well because we just can’t get a painter. And now all of a sudden people are starting to get involved with stuff as add-ons and it’s dangerous territory because you’re going away from your core competency. It’s difficult enough to do what you’re good at without having to bring in other stuff. And I know people come up with these models of saying, oh look, we’re creating another division. I’ll poach in a manager from a painting and decorating company and he’ll manage all that business. It’s distraction. It’s moving from the core competency. The real smart clients, the multinationals included that we work for will pick you up like in a minute and go, do you know what, that person’s too distracted. They’re not focused, they don’t have a core competency, they don’t have a niche and therefore they’re a risk to the business. But some of the companies that would be a bit more loose in terms of their model would maybe suggest, do you know what’ll do, cause you know, I can’t get anyone else. I don’t have time to be looking for anybody else. We need to –

Paul Heming: Get the job jack trade master of none. Right?

Gavin Coyle: It’s happening guys. It’s happening. And anybody that’s listened to the podcast will resonate with the fact that the labor shortage is actually having an effect on construction and it’s gonna have effect on safety. And I don’t wanna be the dooms guy here, but you know, we’re gonna get into situations where there’s a capacity issue and keep on talking about capacity where people are tendering for works as well and next thing, all of a sudden they’re winning these projects and they weren’t expecting to win some of these projects and they’re taking them on and they’re saying, look, it’s fine, we’ll just hire in extra people and all this kind of stuff.

Paul Heming: I wanted to ask you about that actually from your perspective as a safety professional. Cause obviously when it comes to doing the procurement as a QSs project manager, commercial manager, whoever you are, a lot of people listening to these shows will be going through the procurement process and finding a skill shortage, a labor shortage, or if you were procuring 10 years ago versus five years ago versus today, you’ll know that it’s the market is tightening, let’s say. Now we talk a lot about the financial and time impact of that. But you just touched on something there, which I never really thought about, but it makes perfect sense with regards to the safety impacts. Have you seen a shift in terms of the fact that now there is a tightening in the labor market and thus the skills market, there’s a skill shortage? Have you seen there being a bit of an impact in terms of safety? Is it impacting accidents on site or anything like that?

Gavin Coyle: So, this is the conundrum with safety and safety is kind of like a non-event. So it’s you’re constantly talking about safety and you’re constantly trying to be safe and you’re trying putting in measures for safety, but you’re really talking about a non-event until it’s an event and then all of a sudden we’re talking about statistics. But the issue with, and this is where we we’ll touch on the business of safety later on, this is where safety needs to grow up and become a new generation and people need to have a new look at what safety is. We’re not moving safety forward. Safety is still having the same injuries, the same impacts. Agriculture is still the number one sector for killing people or for people dying or within the workplace. Construction is in the top three and always in around there. We’re continually still having manual hand issues. We’re still having work at height issues and you know, machinery and driving for work is still a massive killing in that respect. So it’s very hard to tie the two together is what I’m trying to say Paul, in that regard.

Paul Heming: I understand, but it makes sense that the trend of a tightening labor market does like create the environment where –

Gavin Coyle: Yeah.

Paul Heming: Yes, cost go up. There’s a shortage in supply, right? And therefore there may also be a bit of a spike potentially in safety and that’s even more reason to be focused on it. One thing you talk there about is the business of safety. Let’s discuss that. So talk to me about the business of safety.

Gavin Coyle: So back to, I suppose, the original case study, major one, assuming we spoke about with the guys in trenches, overhead lines. But if you look at safety in every part of your business, there is some element of safety. There’s a touch point within that department. So let’s look at recruitment. So there’s safety involved in recruitment. So what would you think is involved in recruitment? Well you’ve got training to be done on the person you’ve got bring them up to a competency level. There’s some element of, there’s inductions and onboarding and all that kind of stuff. There’s some element of safety in that. What element of safety is involved with procurement? So you’re gonna have to allow for all the training and all the sort of resources that has to be put into safety and probably a safety professional full-time on the job or two or three and stuff like that. And if you allow for all of that with a procurement, you can go right through the whole business of an operation and have some touchpoint in safety. So what we’re asking leaders to do is, you don’t need us, you know we have a business of safety program, but you don’t need to be, anyone with an analytical view should be able to get a spreadsheet and say, right, let’s look at what we’re doing in regards to safety within each division, each department and how much is a spend within that department on safety and measure that. And then what is the output, what’s the drop out of that? And look at the drop and actually have an open conversation with all the stakeholders, including the workers and say, is it making sense guys? And people are going, yeah, that’s brilliant, that actually that changed the way I do things and I do things better and I do things more efficient. And other people are going, no, that’s actually done nothing for me to be honest with you. So I don’t know, I don’t even know why we’re doing it because there’s a whole marketing spend going on in health and safety as well that’s taking you away from the core business in terms of what you’re trying to achieve. And we don’t want people spending money for the sake of spending money and that’s coming out of profit. And then the it fudges safety as well because it’ll say, hi, we’re we’ve done it because the clients like to see you of doing these marketing program, safety culture programs where all everybody has to fill out these forms once a week and stuff like that. Absolute crap. Show me what’s the result of that program has been, demonstrate to me that program has made a, an impact to your business. And when you get the spreadsheets, this is kind of, once you get in and get a momentum going on this, it’s actually a very fun topic because you start looking and going, holy mother, god, we’re spending thousands on this stuff. Like, and yet the workers are screaming out because somebody has decided to pay less for gloves when there’s better gloves that would last longer, that they don’t have to rip off their hands every Friday and show them the bin that you know, are lasting for the extra couple of weeks or whatever else. And you know, when you start seeing physical impacts for the workers that make it a more of an impact in terms of helping them to do their job better, that’s what safety’s about.

Paul Heming: And is that something that you see particularly with the bigger companies that we’re doing what we’ve always done and therefore naturally spending huge amounts of money on health and safety, but there’s a disconnect between what we’ve always done and the conversations with the people and the workers who it’s affecting. And if you were in a position where you were speaking directly to your workforce, whether on or off site, you’d actually be getting that feedback loop and there’s a lot of money that is being spent that doesn’t need to be spent.

Gavin Coyle: A hundred percent. We’ve loads of instances of that and like I’m happy to be challenged that we can probably cush anybody’s spend on safety up to 50% on what they’re currently spending on safety. I guarantee we’ll hit close to that figure and we have done because you know, it gets to the stage where it starts to become on one project and then that rolls into the next project and then someone else here is, well that’s the way we’ve done that in the last project, the next thing all of a sudden it’s right across the nation of all the projects that’s going on. So like one cost element of one pack of gloves or one whatever, or one training course for example. So let’s look at an example. Give me an example of lost money, people working in a cabin that are doing administrative tasks and they all have to do manual handling training cause you’re in an office environment. Why? Cause they might have to lift up a box of paper and put it on the table.

Paul Heming: This is why people think this is why people roll their eyes I think a little bit.

Gavin Coyle: But we’re enabling this to happen and then as leaders, as a collective, let’s go away from the fragmentation and come together and say, let’s all come together and say hold on a minute, why are we not going paperless? Why can’t we not remove the paper out of the cabinet completely so that they don’t have to go to the falling cabinet, they don’t have to lift this box out and put in the paper, whatever else why in God’s name with all the software that’s out there at the moment that is in some cases free, that we can’t just go paperless in a lot of cases. Or if we can’t, why is it we can’t outsource all the printing into a printed company and therefore saving time for that person to have to print all this? How many times have you gone into a cabin? There’s a guy or a woman there standing at the printer and you’re going, oh my God, just save that person and it like, it gauls me, it absolutely gauls me. There’s a place for manual hand training and yes, there’s a legal requirement and in some cases people go over the board and say, yeah, it’s an extra add-on. But like it’s the concept of discussion and debate that I want people to open their minds to. It’s not specifically to say get rid of mine.

Paul Heming: Do this and do that. Yeah. No, that makes perfect sense and we’re co we’re coming to the end of the show, Gavin. And I guess one question that I’d like to ask you is if you could change one thing about construction to make it better, what is it that you would change?

Gavin Coyle: To be quite honest with you, and not where this is going to come back on you or me, but I believe a lot of the issues start in procurement and the procurement of projects, it’s not procure.

Paul Heming: You’re going to be nasty to QSs now, are we? We were getting on so well.

Gavin Coyle: I’m actually not. I’m actually not. I believe that and I strongly believe that and we’ve seen evidence of it where clients are happy to pay the one or 2% extra if they know they’re going to employ a safe company and a reputable company. And we need to allow people the time to actually get on these jobs and prepare for these jobs. And I know from talking to procurement people, that’s a bug bear of theirs is they’ve done all the procurement, the next thing all of a sudden someone has driven go the project forward.

Paul Heming: Yeah, absolutely.

Gavin Coyle: Go, go. And nobody’s prepared. And everything is in reactive mode. And so what I would like to see is in the procurement section is that there’s more capacity allowed to feed into jobs, so that there’s a soft landing rather than air force one landed onto the project on day one.

Paul Heming: You know what, you almost could be our entire business and ethos. Gavin at C-Link is about completely re-rationalizing and changing the way the procurement happens, giving yourself more time, more money, more intelligence to go through that process. So that question I promised to my listeners was not rehearsed, but I completely and utterly agree with you there, honestly Gavin, in that that’s how we’ve built our business. Now, there’s different drivers in terms of your thinking of it from a safety angle. I’m thinking of it from a genuine procurement professionals’ angle. But the two completely sit together and with more time, more focus, less of this race to the bottom mentality from the clients at the top, we will create an environment where if you procure better, you deliver better, you have better safety on site, all of those different things. So I completely agree with you.

Gavin Coyle: A hundred percent. And then everything starts falling into place and one of the things that before you finish up that we love to see is momentum. And we’ve all seen and we’ve all been on a project where does great momentum, great balls, great atmosphere and everybody loves the job, but you know, the one thing that’s the one common denominator amongst all of that? Everybody’s making money.

Paul Heming: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. That’s what we’re all here to do, isn’t it? We’re all here to make money. That’s why we’re in business. But I completely agree and I think that was an absolutely perfectly scripted, unscripted way of ending the show, Gavin. Thank you for coming. Thank you for coming on. I will be leaving No problem. Your details, your company’s details in the show notes so everyone can get in touch. Thanks for taking the time and like I said, thank you very much for coming on.

Gavin Coyle: Thank you. And thanks for everybody and well done with the podcast. It’s brilliant.

Paul Heming: Thanks very much, Gavin. Guys, I will speak to you all next week. Have a good one and take care.

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