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Role of Safety Professional

A key player within any organisation is the safety professional. These individuals are responsible for ensuring all of the people who work with your company, both employees and contractors, are provided with detailed advice to ensure the safety performance of your organisation is driven with an overall goal of zero harm. Safety professionals should therefore be able to influence at all levels within your organisation to ensure safety is kept as a key priority for your company.

It is critical that your company selects the right person for the job and that your safety professionals are able to continually develop their skills and knowledge whilst they are working with your company.

Safety Culture can help with all of these central elements - selection and recruitment, professional development and training.
Safety Coaching have over 20 years experience working with safety professionals from a wide spectrum of businesses and have the knowledge and understanding of what kind of person it takes to help improve the safety culture of your organisation and develop your own people to embed line management responsibility for safety.

Health and safety advisor jobs are central to your company achieving a zero harm workplace. If you fail to hire the right person then this can have a negative impact on your company’s current safety culture, leading to a potential rise in work related incidents. One reason that the person may not be right for your company is that they were picked solely on their technical ability and not on their communication and inter-personal skills. Another reason may be that the job specification was not correctly specified resulting in a bad fit with your current organizational maturity in safety. Those applying for the role need to understand that you are looking for someone who can implement positive sustainable safety changes in your company. The company’s expectations also need to be clearly explained to the safety professional once they are in post. Safety Coaching can provide help and advice throughout the whole selection and recruitment process.

A professional development plan is essential to ensuring that the people you have working with your company who are responsible for safety have the right tools for the job.

The UK Health and Safety Executive define a competent health and safety professional as having the correct knowledge, skill, experience and other qualities for the job. The first three elements are gained through work experience and training but it is difficult to quantify how other qualities such as being able to influence key decision makers can be developed.

Safety Coaching can provide your company with a competent person scheme that combines all four of these elements and includes bespoke training programmes that develop the communication and inter-personal skills of your key safety professionals.

A continuing professional development plan, also known as CPD, also plays a central role in ensuring the safety professional achieves the goals expected of them and they continue to develop their own personal capability. Safety Coaching will work with you to identify the long-term safety goals for your company and ensure this is included within their CPD training programme.  

In order to identify the key performance criteria for their CPD training, Safety Coaching will work with either the safety professional, or their line manager, to identify their key goals. Follow up training is also provided, including personal coaching sessions, to ensure that the safety professional can now use this learning in practice. Safety Coaching can also tailor CPD to meet individual learning needs.

CPD for safety professionals is not only important to meet your company’s needs but is now a requirement across Europe and some other parts of the world. In Europe, safety practitioners should undertake CPD with at least one recognised institute for health and safety such as The International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM) or The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). CPD requirements are also becoming increasingly common in other membership bodies in the mining, construction and manufacturing industries.

Safety Coaching can provide bespoke CPD programmes for all of the people who work with your company and can advise on both your current and future needs. With effective CPD and training, Safety Coaching can ensure that your key safety goals will become integral to your whole company’s ethos and culture.

An example of the an IOSH accredited course run by Safety Coaching is their IOSH managing safely course which is a 4 day continuous course (although it can be amended to any combination of 4 days to suit your business needs).  The trainers, IOSH safety coaches, have extensive managerial experience in key safety positions providing a vital personal insight into the role of safety professional.
The course is designed to give managers, supervisors or foremen the information and skills they need to tackle everyday health and safety issues they may meet in the workplace.  

It is designed to give practical step-by-step guidance to help the learners deal with any emergency situation. The hands on learning is full of practical knowledge and tips that the learners can use immediately when they return to work. The experience gained by the learners can also be used to motivate and inspire other people who work with your company, both employees and contractors, as the learning can be shared on their return to the workplace.   

The course is formally assessed to make sure the learners have understood the training (both in theory and in practice) and all learners will receive an IOSH Managing safely certificate on successful completion.
Another benefit of this course is that health, safety and environmental basics are all covered under one programme saving your company both time and money by not having to send employees to multiple training courses.

Client feedback:-

Paul Bradley – Health and Safety Manager, Myers Group
I have worked with Rob closely for a number of years in various roles. I have always been very impressed with Rob’s vast knowledge of industry health and safety, but most importantly he is an excellent communicator. 

Rob has also played a major role in my personal development as a health and safety professional. His support and guidance over the last 18 months has been invaluable. 

I would recommend Rob to any business seriously looking to improve their health and safety culture

Richard Webster (CMIOSH) – Head of H&S UKSMR Ltd
I was introduced to Rob nearly a year ago to mentor and develop the UK Coal Surface Mining H&S team. 
It became apparent from probably the first session that he was in a different class and worked at a level far exceeding anything we had done before. 

He first looked at our strengths and weaknesses and established a risk based strategy across the division. 

He then set up mentoring to each individual so we could write, deliver and monitor new corporate procedures according to the level of risk. 

This involved the production of 26 new procedures implemented across the company in 9 months. As part of this programme we personally communicated all requirements to relevant personnel, this ensured the correct level of understanding and workforce acceptance was achieved. 

During this time Rob also took charge of the divisions H & S department promoting strategy, introducing a climate survey, and development plans for each person within the team. 

Rob’s work amongst a culture of risk takers has halved LTIFR in only 9 months. 
On a personal note I would like to thank Rob for making me more professional, more confident and a better safety practitioner

Stuart Sharp QHSE Manager at Magma Ceramics and Catalysts
I recently attended the IOSH Effective Safety Coach and Mentor course developed and delivered by Rob Shore and Simon Taylor of Safety Coaching. I have to say it was probably the most enjoyable, thought provoking and potentially valuable course I have ever attended. Both the content and delivery of the course was excellent. 

I can't recommend it enough, it is a MUST for all safety professionals
Click on the following links for further information on how Safety Coaching can help develop the role of the safety professional within your organisation:
http://www.safetycoaching.co.uk/recruitment.html
http://www.safetycoaching.co.uk/professional-development.html
http://www.safetycoaching.co.uk/training-courses.html




Leadership in Safety

A (health and) safety strategy can be designed to incorporate many different elements essential to developing your organisation’s zero harm culture. One element that needs to be at the heart of your strategy is your safety management strategy, as this places a major part of the development of your safety culture directly in the hands of management.

In order to implement change companies need to show great leadership in safety throughout all management and supervisory levels. Employees are more engaged in safety where they are provided with sound leadership and clear expectations regards the levels of safety performance required. Empty gestures and words will not lead to a secure and effective safety strategy for your company and could lead to a disengaged workforce.  Your company can achieve positive safety change through a visible safety leadership at all levels, this ensures that the people working for your company, including both employees and contractors, can easily recognise and work to the safety standards set for your organisation.  
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Developing an effective safety culture a leadership approach becomes an essential part in any company’s tool-kit for ensuring they can embed a lasting zero harm culture within their organisation.

Safety Coaching are able to help your Senior management team develop  or further embed a safety leadership approach through a bespoke safety leadership training programme that consists of through group training, personal coaching and leadership mentoring.  

Coaching is a key element of the training provided by Safety Coaching and their confidential coaching service ensures they can develop a close working relationship with your Senior management team. Safety Coaching challenge your leadership through asking tough questions of your management team, allowing them to create a safe and confidential environment in which they can get right to the heart of the issues that need to be resolved. The coaching will focus on how your business is currently operating, to identify areas that work well, and to see if things can be done differently to identify a clear sustainable safety plan within your company.

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Our coaches will demonstrate how constructive feedback can be used to challenge negative behaviour and attitudes of the people who work with your company towards health and safety. They will develop your Senior management’s communication and inter-personal skills to help them manage relationships with key personnel, such as contractors, to ensure that they fully understand the safety performance levels expected when they work for your company.  Finally, the coaches will assess and develop individual leadership competencies to help your leadership team improve the way they present themselves to others as this can have a massive impact on the effectiveness of your safety messages.

Mentoring can also be offered to all of the people within your management structure. Safety Coaching’s mentoring service offers highly knowledgeable mentors who can help a key member of your management team to develop their knowledge and skills in a short period of time. This service is often useful in organisations where a member of your senior team is newly appointed to a position and is unsure of the requirements they need to meet regarding safety. It can also be used if your company has tried and failed to reinforce safety messages and needs to find new ways to improve safety within your organisation.

Safety Coaching’s mentoring service also extends to helping your management team become mentors themselves within your organisation, creating a long term mentoring structure. This aspect of sustainability is very important, as once you have put safety leadership into practice; you need to ensure that you can maintain it in the long term to gain the full rewards of a zero harm culture.

Click on the following link for further information on how Safety Coaching can help deliver your organisation’s leadership in safety: http://www.safetycoaching.co.uk/coaching-mentoring.html




Safety in Mining

Mining is one of the most dangerous sectors to work within and there are many examples of extremely serious safety incidents occurring, which unfortunately we hear about all too often.

Health and safety in mining industry is therefore a key area for development and must be a high priority for all companies working in this sector.
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Safety Mining training can be divided into two distinct categories.  The first category relates to the safety structures and procedures that your company needs to implement for all of the people working for you, both employees and contractors, who are performing quarrying or mining operations.  The second category, safety in surface mining, refers to the health and safety practices required for those people involved in open-pit mining. 

Safety Coaching is able to provide effective safety solutions for all areas within the mining industry as they have an outstanding knowledge of the sector having worked with mining companies for over 20 years. Their experience and understanding of a range of roles within the industry, including managerial and safety professional, provides an in-depth knowledge of the sector that can be used to develop effective safety procedures for your mining business.

One of the best and most effective ways to promote safety in mining industry is through a range of coaching and mentoring techniques to ensure that all of the people who work for your company are up to date with the latest health and safety techniques to drive zero harm in the mining industry. Safety Coaching can provide both of these services to help create a zero harm culture within your organisation.
Safety Coaching uses coaching and mentoring techniques to help embed good safety practices in your organisation by focusing on the role of your Senior Management team. Senior Management must be fully on board with the required changes to embed safety within your organisation and they must be able to communicate the importance of safety in the mining industry to all of the people working for you.
Safety Coaching can also provide bespoke training services, acting as mentors for key personnel responsible for health and safety within your company to ensure that safety is at the heart of your business delivery.

The reason that coaching and mentoring works so well is that it provides highly personalised one to one training to those people within your organisation who need to effectively communicate and deliver your safety needs. A bespoke coaching service allows Safety Coaching to assess the individual training needs for your company and ensure that it meets the specific needs of the mining industry.
An organisation that achieves a zero harm culture will also see the added benefit of increased productivity as there will be less sick leave due to injuries incurred at work.
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One of the other ways in which Safety Coaching can help promote safety in the mining industry is through bespoke safety training courses. Safety Coaching’s training courses focus on learner engagement through group interaction and follow up actions after course completion. An example course offered specifically for surface mining is their IOSH Working Safely for Quarries and Surface Mining Operations (a one-day course). This course is an access course for those people new to the industry and unfamiliar with its safety hazards. It is not PowerPoint based but instead uses group participation to ensure that all of the people within the group engage with the learning process and are able to take on board the essential safety messages delivered on the course. The course has been generically designed without reference to specific legal requirements so is an ideal choice for companies with a global mining operation as its safety messages are relevant to all of the people you have working for you, both employees and contractors, across the globe.

Chris Wainwright, Director at the Longcliffe group commented ‘I have worked with Safety Coaching for many years, having previously worked alongside them and was already aware of their considerable strengths in the training and coaching field. 
He was therefore the obvious choice when it came to selecting a provider to roll out a 1 day "IOSH Working Safely in Quarries" to our workforce. 

Whilst the syllabus is clearly defined by IOSH, the course was designed in a bespoke fashion, dispensing with Powerpoints in favour of pictorial material. 

In addition to the hardware, Safety Coaching dealt sensitively with the wide range of abilities, and was able to get the best out of everyone by focussing on their key practical areas of knowledge, ie working in quarries 

The outcome was a major success with excellent engagement and participation, and a 100% pass rat’e. Click on the following link for further information on how Safety Coaching can help your organisation’s safety in mining: http://www.safetycoaching.co.uk/training-courses.html 




Safety Induction & Communications

When an employee or contractor starts at a new company, their opinion of what is deemed acceptable behaviour towards health and safety will be formed within the first few days or weeks of their employment. It is therefore important that a company’s safety communications reinforce expected employee behaviour from the moment they walk through the door.

A clear and straightforward safety induction programme should be developed to both reinforce expected behaviours and to allow your company to check that employees and contractors have learned and understood your health and safety rules and procedures. The programme should provide health and safety induction training to all people who work with your company and should include a specific health and safety induction for new employees.

A comprehensive safety induction programme should also include provision for a visitor safety induction and a site safety induction as these will differ from the main programme for new employees or contractors. The visitor safety induction promotes the vision of a zero harm culture by reinforcing the belief that all people who visit or work with your company are expected to adhere to your safety rules. It also helps to raise the profile of your company (and that of health and safety in general) as visitors will leave your premises with the knowledge that you take the safety of everyone seriously. A site safety induction is essential for all the people your company, both employees and contractors, you have working on site. It is a useful safety induction to have because it can be given to people attending sites for short visits, as a refresher course, or for those people moving out to work on site who may have previously only been office based.

A good safety induction example that enables companies to provide such a varied health and safety induction programme is the e-learning solutions provided by Safety Coaching. Their e-induction software creates tailor-made health and safety induction modules that fDescription: Electronic Systemocus on your individual company’s requirements and specifications.

One of the reasons e-induction software is so useful is that it provides a high level of consistency in your training. It guarantees that all of the people working with your company have undergone the same training programme. It also allows you to save time and money as once the modules have been created for you they can be used repeatedly without the need to utilise time yoru management team can be doing something else. The bespoke e-software packages provided by Safety Coaching can also allow you to track the performance of each person within your organisation by recording their individual training scores.
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An e-induction programme offered by Safety Coaching is specifically packaged and designed to engage the learner. Learners are encouraged to interact with the software as it stimulates all of the main learning receptors through visual clues, audio description and interaction through games and tasks set out on the screen. The personal touch can also be added to the training as the software can be modified to recognise certain personal information and refer to the learner by name. Safety Coaching provide e-inductions that are designed to suit the needs of all the different people who work for your company.  

Safety Coaching’s emphasis on visual and audio learning not only helps to aid learning but can also be extremely useful for those people in your company who have learning difficulties. Visual learning can also help your company transcend language and cultural barriers , ensuring all of the people who work for  you can understand the safety messages you need to get across.

Safety Coaching can also offer your company their expertise in other areas of safety communications. For example, they can help your company to find new and innovative ways to get your health and safety message across to all of the people within your employment. One effective way to do this is to produce cartoon (picture stories) that enact what would happen if your health and safety rules are not Description: Hazard spot constructionfollowed. This transference of theory to practice (in the safe environment of a story) can be just enough to ensure your employees will learn how to prevent accidents occurring in the first place, and what to do if an accident does occur.

Another area of Safety Coaching’s expertise is in helping members of your Senior management to prepare key safety message documents. They can also provide coaching and briefings to ensure that your Senior management team are able to clearly and effectively get across critical safety messages when speaking to people at all levels within your organisation.
Click here to find out more about the different services Safety Coaching can provide for your company’s safety induction and communications: http://www.safetycoaching.co.uk/safety-communications.html




Safety Culture

A strong safety culture is built by ensuring all people who work with your company, both employees and contractors, can play their role in creating a zero harm workplace. The most effective way for a company to create this positive safety culture is to embed the following five key elements into their organisation:
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Belief has an important role to play because both the company’s and the employee’s personal beliefs should be targeted on the vision of creating a zero harm culture within the workplace. In order to develop such a belief, companies should use positive reinforcement techniques to encourage people to believe that all accidents are preventable in the workplace (no matter what type of environment you may be working in).  Rather than accepting that accidents will always occur.
Values encompass the principles and moral standards that the company, its employees and contractors working for the company, stand by. The values connected with safety may differ from company to company but, in order to create a zero harm workplace, all employees should respect the ideal that everyone has the right to work safely and everyone is responsible for playing their own part to make this happen.
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When employees know they are working in an environment in which all staff hold similar values and beliefs then they are enabled to act out this approach by ensuring safe working practices are carried out at all times. Attitudes formed in a positive safety culture reinforce zero harm approaches and behaviours by promoting an environment in which staff can challenge and question procedures that they feel are unsafe, without negative feedback on their approach.

Safety communications come in many forms and their format needs to vary depending on their audience. Your zero harm policy and updates on health and safety performance may be required in a certain format for Senior management meetings but it is also important that all people at all levels of the organisation understand these key messages too.  One of the ways an organisation can get key messages out is by providing regular staff updates and bulletins. Another way that companies can reinforce their positive safety culture is by running award and recognition schemes that value safety leadership and initiative within the organisation. Positive safety communications allow companies to reinforce their safety messages to staff and should play a central element in the design and structure of their zero harm training programmes.
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Finally, you will be able to see if you have successfully created an effective organisational safety culture by analysing the behaviours of your workforce. A zero harm culture should be visible in the actions of all members of staff and reinforced in the decisions taken at all management levels.

An effective safety leadership in safety is required at all levels  to create a positive safety culture. It is only when a company ensures all members of staff can get actively involved in the organisational safety culture, and where staff feel they have the power to challenge safetysafety issues at all levels, that you can achieve a culture that actively promotes and supports the vision of zero harm for all your employees.   

Safety Coaching can provide assistance in both assessing your company’s current safety culture and putting in place a step change for safety plan that will embed all five of these essential elements into your company. Safety Coaching can assist your organisation by developing training packages specific to your company needs or through the coaching & mentoring of key members of your management structure to further embed the line management responsibility for safety. The bespoke training is designed to focus your management team’s commitment to promoting a zero harm culture and will provide all of the resources required to help your company create the positive safety culture.

Click on the following link for further information on how Safety Coaching can help develop your organisation’s safety culture: http://www.safetycoaching.co.uk/safety-culture-development.html




Back to the shop floor - best CPD yet?

I was recently asked by a close former colleague to assist him in the temporary cover as the Manager of a new large superquarry in the UK. Many of the people within my inner circle of friends and colleagues initially questioned my decision to take on the role, for me it was an easy choice. Firstly, when a good friend asks for your help you should undoubtedly try your utmost to assist them in finding solutions to their problems. However having been performing the role for a few weeks now there are some other obvious benefits of ‘Going back to the shop floor’ and re-sharpening your own personal saw.

The role provided a vital opportunity to help build on the safety skills of not only the team of direct reports within the project, but also provided an excellent opportunity to spend some quality time with managers, supervisors and employees of our chosen contractor to complete the works. This has mutual benefits for both me as the coach and to them during the time we spend together. 

It is fair to say that I have learnt so much in such as short period, both within the sharpening of my own technical skill, but also through the listening and understanding of each persons specific role and duties. This may seem incredibly obvious to do this, but in my experience is sadly lacking in many organisations. By carrying out the jobs some of the supervisors are expected to complete I could quickly evaluate the resource allocation we have for the site, the training needs, the systems and processes which were expected to be completed at both local and corporate level and most importantly building relationships and checking morale levels. This approach will allow us to tailor the short, medium and long term objectives for both the project and for individuals.

Description: https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-11IHKrnO04o/VmQRFRNqpRI/AAAAAAAAJAc/abzRHc8rRXI/s5000/%25255BUNSET%25255D.jpg OK so you might be thinking - increase your own technical skill, sharpen your saw - what’s all this about?  It’s quite simple really, as safety professionals we can often become dragged into the head office syndrome of producing systems to satisfy our ever growing internal health and safety management system, but can often take our eye off the most important component - our internal ‘customer’ or management team. It is essential we build information to match their needs and capabilities. I have the opportunity to provide a fine example here - I was recently asked my opinion of a report produced by an internal specialist, the report itself had excellent content with some clear advice for actions to take in order to proactively reduce the risks associated with these particular activities. But, the report was so technical, if I’m brutally honest it lost me (and I have a degree in the associated subject) so what chance does a regular manager or supervisor have of working with this? The honest answer is they don’t. Many put it on the shelf and are too embarrassed or afraid to ask, so many of essential components within are often not implemented.

So my message from all this - Allocate some quality time to go back to the shop floor to work with your team completing a range of activities, not just a quick safety observation tour, spend at least half a day or a day with them. I promise you it will be the best few hours you allocate for your 2016 safety improvement strategy

Picture courtesy of Trish Adams.



 

Effective Occupational Health and Safety Advisers

Through my career I have been fortunate to work with a great number of first class safety professionals who can really deliver organisational change and a sustainable long term zero harm strategy.

I've also had the experience of working with some who just could not achieve the desired personal objectives. For me looking back the main reason for this was not their technical competence in safety, but their interpersonal skills in order to effectively communicate with their target audience.

Strong interpersonal skills linked to a sound understand of the organisational risks most certainly deliver results. How often do organisations look at their safety teams ability to really make a difference?

A solid personal development plan for safety professionals should contain the essential interpersonal elements such as influencing, diplomacy, trustworthiness, flexibility and the ability to listen. 360 degree feedback from their 'internal clients' is essential for the calibration and continuous improvement of safety professionals in any organisation. How do you ensure that your safety professionals are working at the top of their game and really achieving value back to your company?




Client Feedback on the Safety Coaching Journey

At a recent Health and Safety Executive/ Institute of Quarrying event one of Safety Coaching's clients James Berry from the Myers Group presented his personal view of the Safety Journey to change the culture of his organisation.

One of the key briefs for the project were to assist James and other Directors drive safety change within the company whilst maintaining the strong family values of the business. Other key strategies where Safety Coaching have assisted the Myers Group:-

- Assisted with the recruitment and selection of key safety and operational personnel to complement the existing management team, to assist in the delivery bespoke company safety initiatives,

- Simplification of procedures and processes for communication ensuring all understand the requirements and more importantly understand the reasons why,

- Occupational Health and Safety leadership training, one to one sessions and accompanied site safety tours,

- Produce a short, medium and long term company strategies against the risks identified, delivering tangible changes and regularly monitoring overall progress.


Click here to watch The Myers Group Safety Journey Presentation




HSE Fee for Intervention

In October 2012 HSE launch their fee for Intervention cost recovery scheme. This scheme will see the Inspectorate recovering costs where inspectors consider there has been a 'material breach'.

The costs associated with fee for intervention are £124 per hour, split into 6 minute intervals and commence from when the inspector arrived onsite to discovering the breach.

A material breach is, when in the opinion of the HSE inspector, there has been a contravention of health and safety law that is serious enough to require them to notify the person in material breach that opinion in writing. At a recent conference many delegates commented they felt the new scheme would have a detrimental effect on the relationships with inspectors, who have in the past been extremely helpful and approachable to assist organisations achieve their health and safety goals and achieve legal compliance. I guess only time will tell.

The current process of Improvement Notices and Prohibition Notices will remain in place. Unlike the current notices material breaches where fee for intervention will be applied will not currently appear on the enforcement action database.

For further information on fee intervention please click below

HSE Website Fee for Intervention




Operator Fatigue

A recent incident in Queensland, Australia highlights the need for Fatigue Management processes, where an operator struck the vehicle in front when she feel asleep at the wheel of her dumptruck.

Click here to access the alert

Thanks to @MiningalertsQLD for sharing the information on twitter As the alert states companies should possess fatigue management processes, how many companies in the UK possess this and manage it effectively? Below are are a few suggestions for making up a Fatigue Management Process Managers and supervisors should consider:-

• Applying risk management in consultation with staff.

• Ensuring systems of work that minimise the risk of fatigue—for example, reasonable shift patterns, reasonable overtime practices, and adequate recuperation between shifts.

• Providing opportunities for employees to obtain adequate rest from work.

• Monitoring workloads, work patterns and shift arrangements to ensure employees are not placed at risk from fatigue.

• Consulting with employees when introducing shift work or new shift systems.

• Providing information, instruction and training about risks to health, safety or welfare of employees involved with shift work, extended hours and on-call arrangements.

• Ensuring employees performing shift work are properly supervised and that tasks are undertaken safely.

• Referring employees with non-work fatigue related issues to the Employee Assistance Programs (EAP).

Employees should be encouraged to assist in the following:

• Participating in risk management processes.

• Using time off from work to recuperate in order to be fit and able for the next shift.

• Participating in education and training in order to gain an understanding of fatigue.

• Avoiding behaviours and practices that contribute to fatigue, and which could place themselves and others at risk—for example, secondary employment, or not using time off work to recuperate.

• Recognising signs of fatigue that could place health, safety and well-being of themselves or others at risk and reporting this to their manager or supervisor.




Brick making company prosecution & guarding guidance

This incident may have been prevented if appropriate guarding had been provided.

Click below for extractive industry guidance on guarding, produced by myself and Keith Mallinson during our time with Aggregate Industries UK in August 2005, published by the MPA through www.safequarry.com

Click here to download MPA guarding guidance

Taken from Agg-Net Employee suffers serious leg injury while clearing blockage in poorly guarded brick-making machine A ROMSEY brick-making firm has been prosecuted after one of its employees suffered crush injuries to his leg in a poorly guarded machine. Nikoloz Demetrashvili was in hospital for three weeks with a multiple fracture of his right leg after the incident at Michelmersh Brick & Tile Co. Ltd on 12 October 2011.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigated the incident and found that flawed protective measures meant the worker was able to access dangerous parts of a brick-making machine while it was still ‘live’. Southampton Magistrates heard this week that

Mr Demetrashvili had been trying to free a blockage caused when two trays dropped on a brick mould rather than one. In an attempt to clear it, he followed work instructions and disabled pressure-sensitive mats designed to prevent access to the machine as he needed power running to free the trapped tray. Although the power was on, the machine was not in production mode but sensors were still active.

Mr Demetrashvili then climbed on the machine to reach the tray, as he had done on previous occasions to free blockages. As he leant over the turntable and pulled the tray, a sensor activated and the turntable rotated, crushing his leg and trapping him in the machine. After the incident, the HSE served an Improvement Notice on Michelmersh Brick and Tile Co Ltd requiring further safeguarding of the machine. The company complied by removing a switch that allowed the pressure mat to be overridden, meaning it is no longer possible for operators to access the machinery while there is power running to it.

Michelmersh Brick and Tile Company Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. They were fined a total of £15,000 and ordered to pay £4,945 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Daniel Hilbourne said: ‘This case highlights the importance of ensuring proper guarding of dangerous machinery at all times. It is vital for employers to ensure that staff cannot get dangerously close to machinery that is either moving or is likely to move with people in the immediate area.

‘Had the pressure mat been configured properly, it would have prevented the machine from operating with anyone near it. Sadly, Mr Demetrashvili has been left with very serious and life-changing injuries because of safety failures that could easily have been avoided. ‘This prosecution is a reminder to firms of the need to carefully consider the risks of machinery and to identify and implement adequate controls to protect their employees.’