Aggregate Industries and DuPont team up on safety
Aggregate Industries have teamed up with DuPont to develop and implement a new health and safety policy for their 175 quarries and associated sites throughout England, Scotland and Wales. To develop the new policy, the company enlisted the support of DuPont Safety Resources (DSR), the UK section of which is based in Bristol. DSR, the safety consultancy division of the global DuPont corporation, was founded 30 years ago to build on the top-class safety principles and best practices employed throughout DuPont, and to partner with client organisations to assist in their efforts in achieving similar excellent safety performance.
'Being an average performer just isn't good enough,' explained Mike Belson, Aggregate Industries UK health and safety advisor. 'Although we had achieved a reduction in our injury rate, we were not satisfied that further improvements couldn't be made.'
Having addressed the issues of vehicle movement, slips, trips, falls, housekeeping and equipment safety through the classic safety approach, the company felt that one aspect had not been addressed fully - that of the behavioural approach to safety management, and establishing why people perceive, react and respond in the way they do.
Chris Rowbotham, DSR's project manager, said: 'Managing people to behave safely is a major challenge in this particular sector. There may be policies and procedures in place, but often a subconscious mindset prevails of 'do whatever it takes to get the job done quickly and profitably', and this may lead to proper and effective safety considerations being pushed down the priority scale. For example, an employee might reach into a machine or across a conveyor belt to clear a jam while it remains energised; clearly an unsafe act that significantly increases the risk of personal injury.'
To tackle these challenges, Aggregate Industries have engaged the services of DSR on a tailored consultancy programme which is characterised by:
- in-depth evaluation of the prevailing safety management culture and systems within the company; benchmarked against DuPont best practices
- facilitation of an executive leadership workshop, involving the company's leadership team, to generate the basis of a Safety Improvement Plan
- implementation of a focused training programme for company managers and supervisors; learning tools and techniques for effective safety management and culture change.
'To effect a behaviour change, absolute commitment from the top level is crucial; the executives must lead by example,' said Chris Rowbotham. 'The team at Aggregate Industries has done an excellent job of this. Behaviour is changing already as senior managers openly demonstrate their commitment, and the organisation has revised its methods for gathering metrics, investigating incidents and carrying out audits.'
'The change in attitude is already noticeable in the workplace,' agreed Mike Belson, 'as all our employees are involved in the process. Momentum and expectation is building.'
Examples of changes that have been made include revising the safety policy to focus on beliefs rather than effort; improving communication channels; and implementing a training programme, focusing on behavioural aspects, for everyone in the business.
Aggregate Industries' managing director, David Tidmarsh, concluded: 'With these positive changes in behaviour, Aggregate Industries will be a leader in health and safety performance.'