Brett Landscaping collected one of the top awards at the Mineral Products Association’s 2014 Health & Safety Awards in London in recognition of significant achievements in transport management at the company’s Cliffe plant in Kent.
Named winner of the Transport Initiatives category, Brett Landscaping was also runner-up in a second category, Behavioural Safety while Brett Aggregates was highly commended in the Engineering category for a new above-ground hopper at its quarry in Rainham, which has contributed to improved site safety there.
Brett’s busy Cliffe site was historically heavily congested with long waiting times, queuing HGV’s, multiple pick-up points and places where key pedestrian and HGV routes crossed.
"Our main aim was to reduce the risk of collision between our vehicles, our mobile plant and pedestrians but also to increase our throughput,” says Lee Bell, stock yard manager.
The award-winning project addressed problems with stock management that were causing the hold-ups and established a new entrance at one end of the site and a new exit at the other to allow a one-way system through the yard, removing the confined pinch-points that two-way traffic had to negotiate.
Additional waiting space for HGVs has been created, with a pager system to let drivers know when to approach their delivery or collection point and all HGV and pedestrian interaction has been removed from the site, with new clearly designated walkways.
“We have introduce a yard permit system which means that anyone wishing to leave the walkway must have a permit to do so,” explains Lee. “The permit allows us to inform yard personnel and forklift drivers of the increased dangers of pedestrians walking around the yard.”
Improvements have also been made to site safety signage across the site and every driver and visitor has to complete a site safety induction before entering the yard.
The Blue Circle Trophy for Transport Initiatives was presented to Lee Bell and Cliffe site manager, Neil Frost by former fighter jet pilot, Mandy Hickson who was guest speaker at the event.
Behavioural Safety Award
Brett Landscaping was also named runner-up in the Behavioural Safety category of the MPA Health and Safety Awards for the improvements made at Cliffe.
The judge’s report speaks of a “significant transformation” that has taken place over the last four years, the results of which are measurable with zero reportable incidents since 2012, reduced stock loss and less plant damage.
Says the report:
“The change has been primarily driven by the site managers with clear support of the staff and shows what can be achieved by sharp focus and commitment to safety improvement, and without any particular ‘gimmicks’ along the way.
“It is now a role model site for others; and one in which the site management and staff now take much pride.”
John Webster, production manager at Cliffe comments: “Site housekeeping was made a priority and we re-organised the whole site, from each factory out to the yard. We can now feel sure that everyone can come into the site and work safely with all the improvements that we have made.”
Cliffe’s communications forum ensures that all employees have an opportunity to have their say on safety issues and make recommendations for improvements.
“It’s much easier to approach people and to get things sorted out more quickly now,” says John Whitehouse, production supervisor at Cliffe. “All employees feel part of the team and able to contribute in whatever way they can.”
Brett Aggregates - highly commended
Brett Aggregates was highly commended in the Engineering category for achieving improvements in safety and working conditions at their Rainham quarry, where an underground feed hopper, which created a confined space for working has been replaced with a completely redesigned hopper at ground level.
The old hopper pit was very narrow with just enough room for the conveyor and some narrow access steps. Maintenance of the plant was extremely difficult in such a confined space and the below ground area was prone to flooding. Frequent spillage occurred that had to be dug out manually and carried up the narrow steps – a back-breaking job that was made even more difficult because of the confined space.
The new unit has been built with an above-ground ramped feed hopper. The replacement purpose-built platform and work area allow easy maintenance and inspection and clearing spillage is now much easier and can be done in safety with less risk of injury.
“Productivity has increased, efficiencies have gone up, we have fewer manual handling issues, no confined spaces and it’s far better to work on,“ says Dave Standing, site supervisor at the Rainham quarry. “All in all, it’s made life a lot better and a lot easier for us on the floor.”