Award Winners - MPA Health and Safety Awards 2017
Tarmac’s continued focus on improving health and safety performance was recognised at the Mineral Products Association (MPA) Health & Safety Awards 2017, where our National Contracting business picked up an award for reducing the risk of to employees working in close proximity to moving plant and machinery.
A working group of team members from across our contracting business – from site supervisors to roller drivers – was established to find operative-led health and safety solutions, utilising firsthand knowledge of busy sites to examine working practices. The team of experts discussed a range of solutions before suggesting a new formula for safety success: the ‘5+2 People and Plant Segregation’ initiative. The group proposed extending the exclusion zone to encompass a two-metre space to the sides of moving plant in addition to reinforcing the five-metre exclusion zone in the direction of travel of moving plant equipment to mitigate the risk of contact between people and machinery.
New procedures were deliberately engineered to require input from both plant drivers and operatives on the ground, ensuring that the new guidelines were firmly embedded within working culture. Vehicles in a 5+2 zone, once at a standstill, must be directed safely past colleagues through eye contact between the driver and contracting personnel on the ground, remaining stationary until receiving a ‘thumbs up’ sign to indicate that they can pass safely. They should also sound their horn before beginning to move. Mike McAndrew, general manager, said: “By actively involving the workforce, the onus for safety is shared more evenly between the driver – who already has a very complicated job to manage – and the people on the ground.
“The Tarmac board fully supported these suggestions from our knowledgeable personnel, so we began to explore how we could drive 5+2 forward.” During the working group discussions Danny Wilkinson, site supervisor and keen motorcyclist, came up with a bright new idea. He said: “I’d heard of lights that create a square on the road around bikes, to indicate to cars when they were passing too close. I was told about the 5+2 exclusion zone and the two things just clicked.” At his suggestion, state-of-the-art high-intensity LED lights were fitted to plant machinery to visualise the 5+2 exclusion zones. The blue laser dots, noticeable by both day and night, make the exclusion zones visible even if an operative is not facing the plant’s direction of travel and remove any guesswork concerning safe distances.
Danny explained: “We experimented with different styles and colours of lights and found that blue was most effective. Red, for example, could have been mistaken for brake lights and lines just weren’t as visible as the dots.
“It’s a totally new application for this kind of technology and could be a game-changer for the construction industry.”
Mike concluded: “5+2 has been a great success and is a perfect example of what can be achieved when businesses collaborate with their operatives. Crucially, since the initiative was first brought in, no incidents involving contact between operatives and plant have been reported.
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Danny Wilkinson, Site Supervisor