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Brett Aggregates' Safety Awareness Open Day

Queen Mary Quarry was once more a hive of pedestrian activity when 102 Brett Aggregate staff, contractors and hauliers attended a safety-focussed open day at the site near Staines.

The day after the highly successful South East Quarries and Landfill Group (SEQLG) Safety and Health Awareness Day, Queen Mary Quarry was once more a hive of pedestrian activity when 102 Brett Aggregates’ staff, contractors and hauliers attended a safety-focussed open day at the site near Staines.

“With catering, a large marquee, extra toilet facilities, training stations and exhibition displays all in place from the SEQLG event and with secure areas and walkways cordoned off for pedestrian safety all around the site, we were in perfect shape to host a company safety day,” says Gary Langton, Operations Manager for London Home Counties.

Organising the day

Two sessions were run, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, so that as many Brett people as possible were able to attend without halting operations at other sites. Attendees were given a tour of the Queen Mary plant, including a view of the dredging operation on the huge reservoir that is usually out of sight. The day also included safety sessions for contractors and hauliers.

Exhibition stands positioned across the site provided not only information but also training on a range of topics, including confined spaces, first aid, manual handling, working at height, tyre safety and working on or around water.

lines of sight and safety

A display and training session led by Spillards demonstrated the extent of blind spots for drivers of shovels and trucks, encouraging attendees to climb up into the shovel cab to experience first hand the restricted line of sight a driver has.

“Working in the QMQ office, I had never been in the cab before and it was a real eye opener for me to understand how something as simple as hanging your jacket up in the cab can seriously impact your line of sight,” says Sakina Dowling.

An important lesson in tyre pressure

A team from Commercial Tyres’ Off Highway Division were on site with a truck equipped with a remote-control articulated crane arm and mechanical tyre handler which allows the safe removal and refitting of tyres for heavy plant without manual handling. Examples of the significant dangers posed by running heavy plant and trucks on under-inflated tyres were also on display.

“As well as being dangerous to human life, under-inflation can be very costly for the company,” says Peter Roffey, Group Off Road Specialist at Commercial Tyres. “Regularly checking tyre pressure, inspecting tyres for any visible signs of damage and monitoring wear should be part of every operator’s routine.”

Positive feedback from colleagues

Among the participants were the George Green team, who attended the event in two groups to enable their site to stay open. Area Production Manager, Stuart Spring, said the feedback had been very positive.

“Everyone felt they had learned something and had increased their awareness of safety issues around operating heavy plant and working near water,” says Stuart. “While there is water at George Green, we are dealing with constructed lagoons rather than the vast expanse of open water and dredging activity that they have at Queen Mary. People found it really interesting to see another site and how different the safety challenges are.”

Family and friends welcomed

At the end of the day QMQ opened its gates to the families and friends of Brett employees in the London Home Counties area, giving them a rare opportunity to see how a quarry works and to safely get up close to some of the plant and equipment.

“We received fantastic feedback following the Brett Open Day,” says Sam Argyle, Trainee Manager. The hard work put in by the QMQ team with support from the wider LHC team and Mary Carter (ELC Safety Solutions) really proved worthwhile. The day provided a rare opportunity for our colleagues from across the group, as well as contractors and hauliers, to step out of their daily operations and reflect solely on some key topics which will hopefully go to improving the safety of our operations.

“We wrapped the day up with a few soft drinks & nibbles where we invited family and friends to site. Seeing the reaction of the kids with huge grins as they sat behind the controls of a loading shovel really highlighted the reason why we should make sure everyone goes home in the same condition as when they got to work.”

“The Open Day was a great success all round,” says Gary Langton.  “Having people come together like this from different sites and with different roles to refresh their knowledge, share best practice and increase their awareness of safety issues is extremely valuable. The event presented a great opportunity to bring a number of local hauliers together for a constructive discussion that was received very positively.

Thanks to those involved

“Pulling it all together while keeping the business running and everyone safe required a lot of planning and effort and I want to thank the whole team at Queen Mary for their support and hard work, especially Sam Argyle and Katie Jones. Great work and a worthwhile outcome, for sure.”

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