of Rotterdam, where E.ON are building a new coal and
biomass fired power station. Jan is a Lead Construction
Supervisor heading a team of contractors who are putting
a cooling water system in place. Cooling systems are an
integral part of generating energy from coal.
When finished, the new 1.100 MW gross capacity
Maasvlakte power station will meet around 7% of the
electricity needs of Holland. It’s a massive project.
Jan is a mechanical engineer, originally from Germany.
He joined E.ON in 2007 and after a period of training
and some work on another power plant project, he was
promoted to his current position.
In his role, Jan is not only responsible for making sure the
cooling system is built to specification and on time. He
must also ensure the work is carried out safely. The work
is high-hazard, with some contractors regularly working at
a height of 120 metres above the ground. It also involves
potentially life threatening machinery.
Jan says his employers, E.ON, want to take safety to
“another level”. So as part of this they’re asking people in
a lead role, whether in construction or engineering, to gain
a qualification which provides them with the practical skills
to manage safety effectively. Their choice of qualification is
the NEBOSH International Certificate in Construction Health
According to Jan, the course was very helpful. “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 qualification
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 report.
“What is learned 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 told us.
Jan says he was surprised when he learned he was the ‘Top
Candidate’ for the International Construction Certificate
after achieving the highest mark in 2010/11. He is modest
about this, claiming he had an advantage over others as
E.ON had allowed him to study full-time, with colleagues
temporarily taking over his responsibilities.
Jan recently featured on the E.ON intranet. They’re keen
to highlight his achievement as health and safety is
an important issue for them and one they are keen to
Jan says: “It’s a good way to promote this course to other
people and to show we do the right thing here. This award
of ‘Top Candidate’ is a great honour for me and is one I
hope will further my international career with E.ON.”