Health and safety best practice rewarded
ON Friday 20 September UK quarry companies gathered in London to hear the results of this year’s Quarry Products Association’s 2002 Health and Safety Best Practice Awards scheme. Out of a total of 130 entries, 35 shortlisted finalists, all of whom had been visited and assessed by a panel of independent health and safety experts, were in attendance to hear principal guest Bill Callaghan, chair of the HSE, announce the overall winners in nine categories.
RMC Readymix (Northern and Yorkshire) were this year’s undisputed top performers scooping not only the John Crabbe Trophy, the premier award for overall outstanding excellence in health and safety, but also the award for best health and safety innovation for their silo pressure-release device.
Silo over-pressurization can occur when materials such as cement are discharged, under air pressure, from delivery tankers into storage silos. A build up of excess air pressure during this operation can quite literally blow the filter housing of the top of the silo, or worse!
RMC’s silo pressure-release device prevents this happening by automatically releasing a special hinged lid if the pressure rises to dangerous levels. Once open, the lid is retained in this position until the pressure within the silo falls to a safe level. The device is said to have far-reaching implications for industries worldwide which use bulk-handling systems to transfer powder materials.
Last year’s overall winner, Johnston Roadstone’s Leaton Quarry, made a return to collect the trophy for best SME for the second year running. Awards were also made for achievements in six key areas: worker participation; traffic management; manual handling; bitumen storage and tank-filling facilities; working at height; and slips, trips and falls. All six categories represent an important and topical health and safety ‘hot spot’, as identified by the QPA in partnership with the HSE.
The awards ceremony was also used to launch the QPA’s new Health and Safety Best Practice Guide, which features best practice and ideas collated from all of the award scheme entrants on a case study basis.
Commenting on the awards, Simon van der Byl, director general of the QPA, said: ‘This awards scheme is a vital way for us to share best practice and a crucial factor of success in helping us to reach the quarrying industry’s hard target goal to halve the rate of accidents by 2005.
‘The new Health and Safety Best Practice Guide will be instrumental in helping to disseminate good practice throughout the industry. So many excellent health and safety initiatives are being implemented and it is critical that this information is shared with other sites that could benefit from it,’ he said.