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2020 / 2021 Edition

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Health and Safety Remains Top Priority

Health and safety remains top priority

The start of a new year provides the opportunity for us all to look forward and refocus our efforts for the coming months both personally and professionally. Over the festive period many of us will have had the chance to reflect and evaluate what is important to us, setting new goals and ambitions to support our own personal growth, mental health and general well-being.

As with other years, for many of us the return to work will be the time to review our approaches to health and safety. Taking stock at the beginning of the year allows us to make sure that we are operating in an efficient, safe and sustainable way.

This column serves as a timely reminder that for all of us, our priority should be the safe and healthy return for ourselves and our colleagues at the end of each day. As companies, industry bodies and individuals, we all have a responsibility and a role in achieving that ambition. It is essential that as an industry we work together to deliver this objective. I am proud as IQ President that I can say the Institute has always played its part in supporting the agenda and will continue to do so.

In 2021 the Strategic Forum for Health and Safety in the Mineral Products Sector will be focusing on vehicle and pedestrian segregation. This follows on from the successful campaign on eliminating entrapment that saw the development and co-ordinated distribution of resources from the MPA and MPQC alongside guidance from QNJAC.

Whilst we produce support to focus on new hazardous areas, it is critical for us not to become complacent in thinking the job has been done in other areas. As professionals we need to challenge ourselves to ensure that we continue to keep focused on all aspects of health and safety and avoid dropping back on the ground we have made.

Our network of branches will continue to provide an invaluable place for members to learn and share their experiences. Hopefully, these will return to face-to-face later in the year, but the branches have excelled in delivering virtual events to keep members up to date with industry practices and thinking. The strength of IQ is in its members and their experience; for those starting out in their careers the network provides a great opportunity to tap into a lifetime of knowledge and experience.

We know 2020 was an exceptional year and 2021 still holds many uncertainties, but with the real prospect that by the end of the year we will see a return to something like normality.

Looking forward we can see the important role our sector will play in driving the economic recovery and the potential demand to bring new talent into the sector. Ensuring we have a consistent approach to supporting the training and development of competence in key areas such as health and safety will be vital to establishing a sustainable approach for the future.

However the year turns out, as members of the IQ and professionals within the industry, let us all commit to continuing to deliver safer and healthier workplaces.

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