John Sisk & Son Director Wayne Metcalfe: Safety is in our DNA

by | Nov 9, 2021

Wayne Metcalfe, John Sisk & Son’s Director for Health, Safety, Sustainability & Quality, on how safety is at the heart of the Sisk value system of care, integrity and excellence

John Sisk & Son is proud to be a Gold sponsor of CIF Safety Week 2021. Sisk will be hosting a number of safety and wellbeing focused events on our sites throughout Ireland, in-line with COVID-19 guidelines.

Construction Safety Week is an opportunity for our sector to reflect on aspects of safety, health and overall wellbeing and to promote its importance throughout the workforce. By sharing our experiences, we may eliminate avoidable accidents, enhance worker morale and increase productivity. Sadly in Ireland, 15 people lost their lives in 2020 from accidents in the construction sector.

Sisk’s Wayne Metcalfe

Creating a safety culture

At John Sisk & Son we are guided by our values of Care, Integrity and Excellence. We take care of ourselves, the people we work with, the environment and the community in which we work. The Sisk values include Care. This is defined as ‘We take care of ourselves, the people we work with, the environment and the community in which we work’.

This means we put occupational health and safety at the heart of everything we do. We believe that all accidents can be prevented, and occupational health can be protected. It is simply unacceptable for anyone to be injured or to have their health adversely affected when working with us.

We aim to manage all our working environments to achieve Zero Incidents and Zero Injuries. Sisk is recognised by our global clients as world leaders in safe delivery. Our Bio Cork 2 project recently won a global CURT Award Safety Excellence Award. A comprehensive EHS programme was tailored to the project which was very successful as we had in excess of 3.2million manhours accident free, and no environmental or business interruption issues. In our continued pursuit of Health & Safety, in the UK, both John Sisk & Son and Sisk Rail businesses excellence won two ROSPA Health & Safety Awards.

Mental health

As part of our commitment to the mental health and wellbeing of our staff and honouring the Sisk values of Care, Integrity and Excellence we launched our pioneering mental health programme ‘I Am Here’ in 2019.

Over the last number of years Sisk have been working hard to move beyond mental health awareness and started to proactively address what is recognised as one of the biggest challenges facing construction in the modern era.

Compassionate connection and conversation are at the heart of ‘I Am Here’. The courage, confidence and skills to have these conversations are achieved through a continual learning and support programme, empowering people to signpost existing help and support services to those in need.


Covid-19 has presented a significant challenge to the entire construction industry over the past 18 months. Sisk was at the forefront of ensuring a safe return to sites for construction workers after the initial lockdown period in May 2020.

Our Health & Safety team played a key role in developing CIF (Construction Industry Federation) SOPs (Standard Operating

Our quality DNA

In 2020 one of our strategic objectives was to develop our new approach to Quality to ensure it remained fit for purpose for the next 10 years. Throughout the review process, what was clear was that our values of Care, Integrity and Excellence underpin our approach. Sisk also became the latest member of GIRI (Get It Right Initiative).

Construction vision over 160 years in the making

Sisk & Son is an innovative, international, construction and engineering business with long-term vision, celebrating over 160 years in operation. Sisk employs approximately 1,800 people and is Ireland’s leading provider of construction services with extensive operations across the United Kingdom and mainland Europe with the track record, scale and capacity to successfully undertake large, complex, multidisciplinary programmes.

We deliver projects and programmes in key sectors such as Data and Technology, Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences, Infrastructure, Transportation, Healthcare, Commercial, Residential, Retail, Industrial, Leisure, Education and Energy.

We are active members of Construction Industry Federation, Engineer’s Ireland, Civil Engineering Contractor’s Association, and holders of the IBEC KeepWell Mark for our continued commitment to employee wellbeing.

We recently won five Irish Construction Excellence Awards 2020 in the industrial over €10million category, International Category, Leisure or Tourism Sector, Residential Category and in the Construction Project Manager Category.

In 2020, Sisk launched its Sustainability Roadmap for the next 10 years. Our 2030 Roadmap outlines an ambitious set of targets and actions, aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainability at Sisk brings together: Society – our people, Environment – our planet and Economy – our performance.

SISK tree planting Manor Kilbride, Co. Wicklow. Picture: Roger Kenny

Our ambition is to lead the industry with sustainable management of our operations throughout their entire life cycle. Our 2020 Gender Pay Gap Report key focus is the challenge we face to attract females into the sector.

We are on course to have 32 per cent of our 2021 graduate cohort as female. A focus on experienced hires is equally important, as such we look to reskill talent from other sectors and putting more emphasis on the returners’ support.

Our investment in 4D Planning has increased in 2020 with the appointment of four full time 4D Planners. A key example of our successful 4D Planning implementation is at our Isle of Man Ferry Terminal project, where the 4D Planning process has helped to identify over 40 programme/logistical clashes.

In 2020 we established a centralised ‘Data Team’ comprising an Enterprise Data Architect, four full time Data Analysts and two Business Analysts. In addition, we employed two full time Data Apprentices, and have a programme to develop a data apprenticeship scheme that is co-funded through the CITB. To address our client’s increasing demands, throughout 2020 and early 2021 Sisk has developed a new ‘Whole Project Lifecycle Offering’ that unlocks a multitude of additional benefits for our clients, the building occupants, the community, and the overall environment.

Our Whole Life Project Cycle has a successful track record. Sisk has utilised the latest digital platforms, alongside strategic partnerships to provide a unique whole asset lifecycle service offering. We have also recently upgraded our Information Management procedures to be ISO-19650 compliant.

At the core of our Whole Project Lifecycle Offering is our ability to offer a service that can be considered as a ‘one-stop shop’ solution. This delivers a seamless transition from pre-construction through to construction and handover, and on into the operational use of the asset with our in-house facilities management teams, driving pre-determined outcome-based performance from the asset as an effective aftercare service.

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