Health and Safety are top priorities for the VSL Group.

  • Lisboa Palace
    Construction of a large diaphragm wall for a new hotel and casino complex.
    Hong Kong - 2014 read more

    Lisboa Palace

  • Shatin to Central Link contract 1106
    Diaphragm wall and barrette construction for the extension of Diamond Hill Station.
    Hong Kong - 2014 read more

    Shatin to Central Link contract 1106

  • Wai Yip Street
    Construction of a diaphragm wall and associated works for a commercial building development.
    Hong Kong - 2014 read more

    Wai Yip Street

  • Tseung Kwan O to Lam Tin Tunnel
    Site investigation using horizontal directional coring (HDC) techniques and in-situ testing.
    Hong Kong - 2015 read more

    Tseung Kwan O to Lam Tin Tunnel


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Health and safety: leading the way

Health and Safety are top priorities for the VSL Group. We simply cannot cause injury or damage to health in the pursuit of our business objectives. In addition, our clients employ us to help them manage risk and a major part of this is safety. We see our clients’ demands of VSL as being to “get the job done safely, to specification, on time and within budget”. When you consider the potential risks during construction of some of the most complex structures in the world, this takes on an even higher degree of importance.

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VSL uses the OHSAS 18001:2007 standard as a framework for establishing and monitoring its occupational health and safety management systems. A commitment has been made to certify all parts of the group’s activities and operations, including all management functions. As of January 2013, 69.85% of activities by turnover are certified (or 24 out of 37 entities).

Major Equipment Operation Permit

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Major equipment is usually unique to a project and is therefore considered as a prototype. In 2006, VSL implemented the Major Equipment Operation Permit (MEOP) system in relation to the use of major equipment on special projects. This is aimed at ensuring the correct set-up of equipment and operating systems as well as the competence of management and operators while confirming the adoption of best practice.

It gives an overall assurance that risk is being managed. Prior to issuing a permit for operation of the major equipment, the process requires a document review and on-site audit of a project by an experienced team consisting of senior personnel from the operations, technical and quality/safety/environment teams. The permit involves a follow-up at least every six months thereafter. The scheme initially focused on the launching gantries used in segmental bridge construction and has since been expanded to cover form travellers, lifting frames and heavy lifting.

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VSL’s bridge and structure construction projects involve the operation of major items of machinery, which are usually designed or adapted to meet the specific conditions and constraints of the particular project. In consequence, VSL’s equipment is usually one-of-a-kind, complex and controlled by multiple operators. It therefore requires a high level of engineering, coordination and skill in order to ensure safe and efficient operation.

Additionally, VSL must ensure that nothing goes wrong with its structural operation as the consequences could be catastrophic due to the number of people on site, the size of the equipment, the working heights and the energy and loads involved. VSL launched the Major Equipment Operation Permit (MEOP) in September 2006 to improve the safety and efficiency of major equipment such as launching gantries and form travellers.

Following successful implementation on several pilot projects, the permit system is now compulsory for the operation of all major equipment on VSL projects. The implementation of the permit requires project staff to assemble and operate major equipment in accordance with strict requirements. A permit is only granted if the project can demonstrate to a panel of independent expert auditors that all aspects of the equipment are clear and have been checked so that it can be operated safely, properly and effectively. The auditing team that reviews the documentation and visits the site consists of three experienced staff members from the relevant parts of the organisation - technical, operations, and quality/safety/environment. Areas covered include design, fabrication, assembly and commissioning, as well as the on-site preparations such as clarity and quality of the procedures, kinematics, chains of command and the skills and level of training of the operating staff.

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A permit is issued for a maximum of six months, during which time no significant changes can be made without approval. Prior to expiry of the permit, the process to issue a new permit is initiated. All requirements and conditions are thoroughly reviewed to confirm that they are up-to-date and still satisfactory (e.g. taking account of new information). This review usually includes revisiting the project site.

The implementation has resulted in a significant improvement in the planning and coordination of projects, with many more site issues being resolved before they become problems. Site safety has improved, as has project feedback, particularly of technical aspects. The MEOP system is proving to be very valuable and has improved still further the already high level of confidence that VSL has in its major operations.


Safety days

Group-wide safety days are organised every year and staff involvement is key to their success. They cover aspects such as the identification of risks and feature exercises to highlight the importance of procedures, including fire and evacuation drills.

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