Presidents Blog

Health and safety: getting the basics right

[fa icon="calendar"] May 1, 2018 2:59:00 PM / by Dr Miles Watkins, IQ President

Dr Miles Watkins, IQ President

presidents column_may 2018We all know that health, safety and well-being are the top priority for our industry and those working within it. What we know also is that 2017 represented the worst year for fatalities in five years.

It is a measure of the maturity of our industry that it has responded with an immediate commitment to do more to ensure that this is not repeated. The evidence for this can be seen through the awareness and competence-raising initiatives held by many companies at the beginning of this year. Industry leaders also came together with the sole purpose of identifying collective actions to make further improvements.

As professionals within the industry, we understand the continued need to develop and maintain our competence in the management of this most fundamental of issues. We all want to ensure that our working environment is a healthy and safe one, not only for ourselves but for those working with us.

Our knowledge and understanding of the issues facing us continues to grow. With greater appreciation of well-being and mental health, we have seen support for schemes such as ‘Mates in Mind’. We must continue to get the basics right and there are many sources of information available to support us in our day-to-day activities.

The Institute of Quarrying (IQ), along with others, such as the Mineral Products Association (MPA), British Aggregates Association (BAA) and Mineral Products Qualifications Council (MPQC), all provide valuable training, seminars and workshops to enable individuals at all levels to maintain appropriate competence in line with the regulatory requirements.

The technical guidance materials provided by the Quarries National Joint Advisory Committee (QNJAC) are free and provide an excellent resource across a range of issues from geotechnics to pedestrian safety. The information has been developed by the industry to help the industry with practical guidance and toolbox talks.

There is not one single solution to the challenges we face, but rather ensuring we work together effectively and utilize all of the tools we have in working towards improving the situation.

Leadership, as we know, plays a critical part in addressing the issues at every level of an organization. Ask yourself, are you doing enough to drive performance forward? What more could you do to avoid unnecessary incidents? Are you facilitating the learning and development of your team on this critical issue?

The priority for all of us is to ensure that we all go home safely at the end of each working day.

Co-contributors: Phil Redmond, chair of IQ Board of Trustees, and Martin Riley, deputy chair of IQ Board of Trustees

Topics: Safety, Leadership, health