Best Practice

ACTIVITY: Occupational Health COMPANY: O Donovan Waste Disposal Limited
SUB ACTIVITY: Health and well-being COMPANY LOCATION: Markfield House
'Dynamo Welfare Project' - RUNNER UP


‘Safety above and beyond’ is O'Donovan’s pioneering ongoing strategy to drive safer standards across its operations and the wider industry. The health, safety and wellbeing of its staff, customers and the wider community, is paramount and the business ensures this ethos is embedded in all company activity.

A crucial element of the strategy is the inclusion of a strong stance on supporting mental health and wellbeing. The aim is to assist staff in maintaining positive mental health and, where required, to deal more effectively with any personal or work-related problems they may face as well as learning self-awareness tools to help manage negative emotions including stress.

As a waste business operating in the construction and demolition sector, O'Donovan values its staff as its biggest asset. Results from recent industry surveys revealed 55% of workers had experienced mental health issues. This reinforced the management decision to encompass the well-being focus of their ‘Above and Beyond’ safety strategy – an action that needs to be prioritised in the supply chain.

The confidential wellbeing support programme is called ‘Dynamo’ and is believed to be the first of its kind in the waste sector.

O'Donovan took a totally innovative approach and introduced a ground-breaking interactive training module that provides staff with simple and effective techniques to alter their stress reactions - allowing them to take control of uncomfortable situations that affect them. Examples of potentially stressful situations they may encounter on a day to day basis include traffic jams, public-transport journeys, dealing with demanding people or even conflict. Any of these situations could trigger stress or anxiety.

The training module helps them to take charge of life’s challenges by using a number of exercises like breathing control or situation awareness. A skill that will be useful in every aspect of daily life.

The pioneering training gives the employees the tools to:

¦ Take control of their reactions

¦ Manage the effect of energy draining situations that occur

¦ Train themselves to sustain consistent reactions

¦ Balance and take a step back to assess interactions

¦ Improve their communication – both listening and speaking when feeling challenged

The training takes place in small groups of circa six employees and includes demonstrating to them the effect that stress has on their heartbeat. Through the education and training employees have learnt how to identify when they are experiencing (or about to experience) a negative or adverse reaction to a situation. It has given them the tools to minimise the impact it has on them and empowered them to respond in a positive and constructive way.

Monitoring and assessment of the ongoing strategy and its implementation have been vital to the success of the training. An assessment tool was introduced before and after training.


  • Training has been well received by employees
  • A 32 % reduction in organisational daily stress (from 61% to 29%)
  • A 15% decrease in absenteeism
  • A reduction in incidents
  • Safer drivers
  • Reinforces O’Donovan’s commitment to ’Safety above and beyond’
  • Improved health and wellbeing for all
  • Provides industry leadership
Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge
Request Futher Information
pdf document available
Go back to search critera