Cutting work related accidents, dangerous occurrences and occupational ill health by sharing best practice

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1 . Final report for Cutting work related accidents, dangerous occurrences and occupational ill health by sharing best practice MIST application no: MA/5/2/009 January

2 CONTENTS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY... 3 BACKGROUND... 5 PROJECT AIMS AND OBJECTIVES... 7 APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY... 8 Initial research... 8 Guide... 8 DVD... 8 Website 9 INFORMATION AND DISSEMINATION PLAN POTENTIAL FOR FURTHER DEVELOPMENT CONCLUSION

3 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Health and Safety Background The UK quarrying industry has taken great strides in health and safety practice, particularly in halving the number of incidents in the five years to March 2005 in line with the Health and Safety Commission s Hard Target initiative. Despite the major improvements in recent years, HSE statistics show that quarrying remains one of the higher risk industries in the UK. The industry recognises that to further improve safety performance will require even greater emphasis on raising the awareness of employees and contractors at all levels within the industry and sharing information between companies of all sizes. Project objectives This project was therefore designed with the following six objectives: 1. to gain a better understanding of how best practice is currently shared and to adjust future work accordingly 2. to make up-to-date best practice information easily accessible via a number of means to people across the quarrying industry and beyond 3. to encourage continual sharing of ideas and the reporting of accident and incident alerts 4. to help managers and operators understand why accidents occur and how to prevent their recurrence 5. to support smaller companies, without the resources or personnel of larger companies 6. to contribute to the training programmes for companies of all sizes. The ultimate aim of the project was to make a significant contribution to helping quarrying companies achieve the overarching target of zero incidents. The resources The outcome of the project is a complementary accessible package of resources that incorporates the following four key elements. A database of best practice entries from the Health and Safety Best Practice Awards Scheme, run annually by the Quarry Products Association The ability to share incident alerts across the industry via a website and alerts A repository of toolbox talks covering key health and safety issues The ability to share information on hot topics across the industry via a website and alerts. Three formats were chosen to ensure maximum accessibility of the information to the different audiences within the industry. These were unified under the safequarry brand and include: 1. a hard copy manual containing entries from the 2005 Health and Safety Best Practice Awards and summaries of the most pertinent entries from the previous five years. 2. a website ( that provides instant access to the database of best practice that including compressed video clips when available; a means for companies to rapidly disseminate accident and incident alerts; a selection of downloadable toolbox talks on key safety issues and a means to disseminate information on hot topics. 3. an interactive dvd that incorporates high quality video clips of the most innovative ideas from the past five years of the Health and Safety Best Practice Awards. 3

4 Whilst each element can be used in isolation, as a whole they form a powerful and fully integrated health and safety communications system. Individuals are able to search across the different formats to identify the information most appropriate to their own specific issues. The process The project was managed by a steering group that included representatives drawn from large and small companies on the QPA s Health and Safety Committee, the British Aggregates Association (BAA), Leeds University, the HSE and EPIC. The steering group met on a quarterly basis to review progress and advise on the future direction of the project. The overall manager of the project was Martin Isles, Director of Health and Safety for the QPA and the project was co-ordinated by Daybreak Communications Ltd. The project consisted of three stages: 1. Initial research into the use of incident alerts and previous Health and Safety Best Practice Awards guides within the industry. Feedback from this research helped to refine the design and specification of the resources 2. The production and distribution of 3,000 hard copy guides and DVD s which were packaged together and circulated to every known quarry in the UK in April The safequarry.com website launched at the QPA s Health and Safety Best Practice Awards in September Promotion and review The resources have been promoted extensively in the trade press and at a variety of industry events that include the QPA s Showcase in June 2006, the Health and Safety Best Practice Awards, the BAA s annual conference, regional QPA meetings, and at meetings hosted by SAMSA, UEPG and the Institute of Quarrying. Promotional aids supporting the project include posters for use on company sites, a flyer, PowerPoint presentations and a mobile exhibition stand. Discussions are currently underway to explore ways of developing the concept for international use. The resources have been well received by the industry with the website receiving over 3,000 unique visits in December To date over 350 individuals have registered on the website to enabling them to receive alerts. This figure is growing as the website is promoted by companies within the industry and the Quarry Products Association. Since the project was completed, over 100 additional entries have been added to the database from the Health and Safety Best Practice Awards

5 BACKGROUND The industry s health and safety record The UK quarrying industry has taken great strides in health and safety practice, particularly in halving the number of incidents in the five years to March 2005 in line with the Health and Safety Commission s (HSC) Hard Target initiative. The industry has a real desire to do better, as demonstrated by being the first to sign up voluntarily to the HSC initiative. QPA members are united in the determination to work towards the ultimate hard target that of zero incidents and have committed to a further 50 per cent improvement by Despite the major improvements in recent years, HSE statistics show that quarrying remains one of the higher risk industries in the UK. There is, therefore, very considerable progress yet to be made. Some 35,000 people work in quarrying in the UK. Hazards are numerous given the rugged environment in which many personnel work and the extensive use of heavy plant and machinery. In a report in 2001, the HSE congratulated the industry, but added that to make further progress, it has to concentrate on improving competence of the whole workforce and continuing progress in workforce participation. The accident ratio study below was carried out by the Health & Safety Executive. 1 Major injury Or illness 7 Minor injuries or illnesses 189 Non Injury Accidents/Illnesses In most if not all cases, the non injury incidents had the potential to become events with more serious consequences. It shows that, to reduce serious accidents, safety effort should be aimed at all accidents including unsafe practices at the bottom of the pyramid. The QPA Health and Safety Best Practice Awards The above is precisely the ethos behind the annual QPA Health and Safety Best Practice scheme. Entries are received from QPA members into a number of categories from workplace transport to manual handling. With between 110 and 200 entries each year, the fund of ideas is vigorous. They are also intensely practical. The entries form a library of an invaluable variety of solutions to a range of common health and safety issues within the industry. These entries are reviewed by an expert panel and published in an annual guide. However, research showed that the format of the guides had not engendered their widespread use at all levels within the industry particularly with regard to site operatives.. 5

6 This project has made these examples of best practice far more accessible. It has also created a mechanism by which examples of actual incidents and near hits can be rapidly shared across the industry. 6

7 PROJECT AIMS AND OBJECTIVES The aim of the project was to encourage the reciprocal sharing of best health and safety advice between: 1. large and small companies 2. QPA members and non-members 3. UK, European and other overseas English-speaking quarry operators 4. marine aggregate operators in the UK and beyond 5. comparable industries in the UK and beyond. These companies, variously, are involved in the following activities:- producing & processing land-won and marine aggregates producing added value products such as asphalt; ready-mixed concrete; mortar; lime; slag; industrial sands; etc. The project had six key objectives: 1. to gain a better understanding of how best practice is currently shared and to adjust future work accordingly 2. to make up-to-date best practice information easily accessible via a number of media to people across the quarrying industry and beyond 3. to encourage continual sharing of ideas and the reporting of incident/accident alerts 4. to help managers and operators understand why accidents occur and how to prevent their recurrence 5. to support smaller companies, without the resources or personnel of larger organizations, in delivering health and safety messages 6. to contribute to the training programmes for companies of all sizes. The long-term outcomes that can be expected are: 1. to produce resources that can evolve as knowledge and policy move forward 2. as the HSE puts it, to take [the quarrying industry] down the league table of incident rates and fatal rates to see quarries significant by their absence from those league tables" 3. to help quarrying companies achieve the ultimate target of zero incidents 4. enhanced awareness of health and safety at all levels within the industry. 5. recognition that behavioural and cultural change is vital if a significant difference is to result. 6. two-way sharing of vital health and safety information across Europe and between comparable industries, based on the English language. 7

8 APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY Initial research The individuals responsible for health and safety within the major UK quarrying companies and representatives from a selection of smaller companies were questioned in order to understand more about the current approach to sharing best practice ideas and, in particular, how the QPA Health and Safety Best Practice Awards guides were used and by whom, also how they could be improved. They were also asked to define the key elements they would like to be incorporated in an alert system for incidents. This information was used as the basis for redesigning the format for the guides and the DVD, and helped in the specification of the website. Guide A sub committee was formed to review the best practice entries over the previous eight years and to select those most appropriate for inclusion. The entries were re-classified into nine, colour coded, categories to facilitate easy access by users. 250 entries were selected as the most relevant and up-to-date examples of best practice within the industry. These same entries were also entered onto the database for the Safequarry website The guide was published using stout wire-binding, bolder colours and text, more photographs and a more durable cover. The format was designed so that it could be used both within an office environment and on-site. Particular emphasis was placed on the ease with which this resource could be quickly used by operatives working on site. DVD A library of short videos illustrating some of the best health and safety innovations were reviewed. 64 videos were re-edited to ensure a consistent quality and were incorporated within an interactive DVD that used the same categories, colour codings and referencing as used in the guide. Entries in the guide that had an associated video were clearly sign-marked. The DVD was inserted into an envelope at the back of the guide. The videos were also compressed and converted into a format suitable for use on the Safequarry.com website. A copy of the DVD is enclosed within the report. 8

9 Website A sub committee from the steering group was formed to help agree both the outline and detailed specifications of the website. The initial development was completed in July and the site was put on test during August and September with members of the steering group to enable them to provide feedback and resolve any bugs prior to its launch in mid September Accessibility is key in ensuring that as many people as possible benefit from health and safety advice. The internet offers instant access in a way that no printed publication can match and, given the ease of updating, is considerably more cost-effective. With the web available to most sites across the country, it made sense to have the fund of entries accessible instantly via a dedicated website. The key to this site is a search facility that is both easy-to-use and flexible. This facility was aimed at users with a modicum of experience of search engine use. A range of criteria is available to users, for example: General search - brings up a listing of all records showing title, location and activity Location - eg quarry, asphalt plant, readymix plant, wharf Activity - transport, processing, working at height, maintenance Keywords - user can select up to six keywords 9

10 Best practice When the site was launched, there were over 250 examples of best practice on the website. Since then, a further 100 have been added, representing the Year 2006 entries. In total, around 80 of these have video clips attached to them that provide a short overview of the innovation concerned. A typical example of how this might be used is thus: A quarry maintenance supervisor wants to look at any ideas to improve the safety of greasing quarry equipment as one of his staff has been injured whilst performing the task. He selects maintenance quarry greasing and brings up an entry on a mechanised greasing system that includes a short video of the application. As in the hard copy booklets, it would also be possible to contact the entrant by or telephone to ask further questions. Incident alerts Near hit reporting is becoming increasingly important to the industry and these can now be created using a standardised accident / incident alert form available via the website. The alerts can either be sent direct to the website if they are from a recognised and trusted source or sent for review by nominated individuals from the steering group. The reviewer checks the details and recommendations before uploading the new information to the website. 10

11 As each new alert is sent to the website, all registered users are sent s, automatically, advising them that the alert has been issued. The provides a brief summary and a link to the full version of the alert on the website. The alerts provide a brief outline of the details of the incident, the consequences and their recommendations on the actions that have taken to avoid recurrence. In this way, other users will be alerted to potential hazards of which they may have been unaware and have suggestions as to how they could be avoided in the future. This website is considered complementary to goodquarry.com, developed by University of Leeds and MIRO, which considers a range of environmental issues, such as air pollution, blasting and traffic, and gives good practice advice. Steering group A steering group was set up by the lead partner, the Quarry Products Association, consisting of representatives from: Name Martin K Isles (Chairman) Bill Birch Richard Claydon Andy R Crawshaw Organisation Quarry Products Association University of Leeds CEMEX UK Materilas Tarmac Ltd 11

12 INFORMATION AND DISSEMINATION PLAN A promotional campaign supported the launch of both the guide and the website. This included a series of initiatives including: Articles in the trade press Briefings in Quarrying Today, the industry magazine published by the QPA Working with the major companies to promote the resources internally Regional presentations by the QPA Formal launch at the 2006 Health and Safety Awards Presentations to the European Aggregates Association, UEPG Presentation at Institute of Quarrying Conference Presentation BAA AGM Feature in QPA s 2006 Showcase. An example of the coverage of the project in the trade media 12

13 POTENTIAL FOR FURTHER DEVELOPMENT has been reviewed by the UEPG and other European trade bodies associated with quarrying. The possibility of further enhancing the website to meet international requirements is being considered. Feedback from the industry has also suggested a number of enhancements that would make the resources even more user-friendly and thus of further value in achieving the goal of improved health & safety performance within the industry. Further work is being undertaken to evaluate and prioritise these recommendations. CONCLUSION The project has been well received by the industry and regulators, alike. The website is freely accessible to everyone with an internet connection. However, users are urged to register in order to benefit from alerts when new items are added to the site, affording them direct linkage to the relevant website pages. Since its launch in September 2006, the website has enjoyed continued growth in usage to over 3,000 distinct users a month, and there are now some 360 registered users. The content on the website is also growing as new case studies, incident alerts and hot topics are added. Toolbox talks are the most popular downloads, suggesting that it is being used to assist in training and improving personal knowledge. The hot topics section is being used as a means of disseminating key health and safety information by the QPA. Over 100 new best practice case studies have been added since the website s launch and there are currently 53 incident alerts. The QPA, together with its member companies and partners, are committed to promoting these resources to all levels of employees and contractors. The Sharing Good Practice Guide, DVD and are seen as key elements in contributing towards the industry s (and HSE s) new parallel hard targets, both of which focus upon a further 50 per cent reduction in reportable incidents by 2010, with overarching expectations of achieving the ultimate goal of zero incidents. All physical output resulting from the Project has acknowledged the central financing role of MIRO MIST. It is clear that the objectives of this Project have been met in full and, therefore, that this application of ALSF monies has been disbursed in a wholly efficacious manner. 13

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