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Jan Scholten

Young engineer wins top international construction safety award

A 29 year old German engineer, who is currently working on one of Europe’s largest construction projects, has achieved a ‘Top Candidate’ award from health and safety examination board NEBOSH.

Jan Scholten, received his award for gaining the highest mark in 2010/11 examinations for the NEBOSH International Certificate in Construction Health and Safety.

Jan is a Lead Construction Supervisor currently on a project in the port area of  Rotterdam, where E.ON are building a new coal and biomass fired power station.

When finished, the new 1.100 MW gross capacity Maasvlakte power station will meet around 7% of the electricity needs of Holland.

A mechanical engineer, Jan heads a team of contractors who are putting a cooling water system in place. As well as ensuring the cooling system is built to specification and on time, he is also responsible for safety on-site. The work is high-hazard, with some contractors regularly working at a height of 120 metres above the ground.

With the backing of his employers E.ON, Jan took the NEBOSH International Construction Certificate to take his on-site health and safety skills and know-how to “another level”. He took his NEBOSH course with health and safety consultancy and training firm Santia.

Jan commented: “For me, this was my first real big site and in the beginning I felt I was a little inexperienced in health and safety. This has given me technical knowledge, so that when I now go on-site I am really sure of what I see there and what I need to tell people.”

In particular, he found the practical element of the course useful. Here, candidates must carry out a site inspection and complete a comprehensive report in order to pass.

“What is learnt can be applied, and you also learn to talk to people, how to deal with them, how you are going to manage, and how you can get people to co-operate with you, It’s important.”

He added: “The award of NEBOSH ‘Top Candidate’ is a great honour for me.”

Teresa Budworth, NEBOSH Chief Executive, said: “According to the International Labour Organisation there’s around one death every 10 minutes on construction sites around the world. In fact, the industry accounts for almost one in five of all fatal workplace accidents.

“By making sure that supervisors such as Jan are properly trained and qualified to manage safety, employers such as E.ON set standards that employers in the sector should aspire to. Jan is right to be proud of his achievement. It is one that will protect people from unnecessary death, injury and suffering.”