This year our Stand Down Days have been making the rounds, reinforcing the importance of Health and Safety through a series of talks, videos and workshops.
Our most recent Stand Down Day was held in Gosforth Park for our teams in the North East. With the permission of Northumbrian Water, all sites were closed for the day, allowing full attendance from both site-based and management staff.
The day was led by both Stonbury QSE Director Stephen Brown and QSE Manager Glyn Iceton. Hard hitting content was delivered, including a detailed first-hand account of how a fatality in the workplace is investigated and conducted by the HSE and the ensuing legal process.
This was balanced by some light-hearted tasks, demonstrating the importance of skin protection and following the correct procedures. Skin sensitisation can be caused by mishandling some of the materials that we use on site on a daily basis, as a result of the chemicals making up these products. During the task, everyone was asked to wear protective coveralls and gloves and shown how to remove them correctly and safely. A practical task was carried out with strawberry jam (representing the uncured material), which was then placed onto their gloves and everyone was asked to prove they could remove all items, without any of the jam coming into contact with their skin or clothes. Everyone agreed the challenge was an extremely useful reminder on how to safely carry out a regular, routine task.
A reoccurring theme throughout the Stand Down Day was the empowerment of all site operatives to stop work on site if they identify or are uncomfortable with any working practice perceived to be a risk to their safety. This was reinforced by the issue to everyone of an empowerment card, signed for use by our Managing Director Ian Mellor. On the reverse side of the card, the cardholder must also sign a statement confirming their empowerment to intervene and stop site activities if they feel it is right to do so.
We believe team gathering days are extremely informative and worthwhile and look to more themed and focused Stand Down Days in 2019.