When did your involvement with the project begin and how?
I first heard about the project whilst working on the Queensferrry Crossing. A contractor from the Queensferry Crossing won the work for the expansion, and they asked me if I would like to work on the project. While I had worked with my previous employer for 15 years with some fantastic people, the expansion project won and I started work at AHEP in October 2017.
How would you describe your role?
I would describe my role as varied! Throughout my time on the project I have been lucky enough to have been involved with every aspect, from Deputy Breakwater Manager, Head of Section for the roads, right through to Works Manager and now with a specific role in Health and Safety Management, General Engineering & Construction Management.
How often are you on site?
I try to be on site multiple times during the day, although this is not always possible. In my opinion site should always come first, because it is the workface. If it's not working there, then we have big problems, which is why it is imperative to have a good team around you to be able to identify, spot, discuss and co-ordinate any issues that may be arising before they come to fruition.
How much has COVID changed the way the site runs?
Drastically, but these are not all negative effects. The site now has a strong focus to ensure that groups, teams and companies stick together to reduce contact and aid tracing if we do have a positive case. This means there is also a reduction in labour and more onus is put onto the machine operators to co-ordinate works, which makes people/plant segregation easier as you can eliminate the people.
What measures are being taken to prevent COVID?
What kind of involvement do you have with site contractors?
I would like to think that I am involved with all the contractors on site from an engineering point of view, and of course, from a Health and Safety viewpoint. I chair weekly safety co-ordination meetings to help identify potential risks in advance as well as reviewing method statements and risk assessments for the works. When carrying out safety inspections I can also keep a focus on quality and try to deal with situations head on, be it through socially distanced direct communication or making a phone call from a place of safety.
What does it mean to you to be part of a project like this?
It means a great deal to me. One of my main reasons for wanting to be part of the project was my family connections with the North East of Scotland. I have relatives along the Moray Firth Coast. My Mum and my Auntie, after losing both parents, were brought up in Pennan by my Great Granny. The main source of income for the family in Pennan was from fishing which, I believe is where my love of the marine environment comes from. This, combined with the opportunity to construct a new harbour is irresistible, and I look forward to building something that my family can be proud of for generations to come. My own family are about to relocate to Aberdenshire after selling our home in Musselburgh. This will enable us to be together, as they can see and appreciate how much the project means and how hard we have all worked and are willing to work to get this project across the line.