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Admitting the truth…Addressing the realities

Martin Riley

Mineral Products Association Health and Safety Conference aims to reset industry agenda

A PACKED house of 270 delegates, representing 60 organizations, gathered at this year’s Mineral Products Association (MPA) Health and Safety Conference and Awards, which was sponsored by Industrial Diagnostics Company and hosted by BBC presenter Sybil Ruscoe at 30 Euston Square, London, on 2 November.

With the theme of Mind the Gap ‘Admitting the truth...Addressing the realities’, the morning’s conference proceedings reflected on and sought to address one of the most challenging years on record, in terms of fatalities and incidents.


MPA chairman Martin Riley (pictured), senior vice-president of Tarmac, said: ‘Today needs to be a seminal moment for the Association and, in turn, the industry. Today must be the day of change, when we change our conversation on health and safety and reset our agenda.

‘If that happens we may be able to claim success, but only if we reverse current trends and genuinely commit to achieving Zero Harm. We need to become less tolerant of hollow words, shallow commitments and lack of application.

‘The unique role the MPA can play as 90% of the UK extractive and mineral products sector is its ability to mobilize mass delivery of change. I believe that the collective effort of members working constructively together with a rediscovered sense of urgency and real determination will be very powerful.’

Against this backdrop, MPA chief executive Nigel Jackson hosted an interactive session with delegates voting on representative statements taken from discussions with more than 500 member employees, ranging from chief executive officers to plant operatives. The statements were related to the current negative trends being witnessed in the industry, namely:

  • Values, vision and standards
  • Leadership
  • Systems and processing
  • Managing risk
  • Communication
  • Behaviour-based safety.

The results will be used to help reset the MPA’s future conversations and direction. The conference speakers had been selected to complement the interactive session.

The morning’s keynote conference speakers focused on incident investigation and management, combined with addressing the realities of human error and risk management. They included Paul Difford, Neucom director and principal investigator, Alan Millband, a partner at Howes Percival, and Richard Boland, head of operations for the Health and Safety Executive’s Field Operations Division.

In the first of two interactive panel sessions, these experts discussed what is holding us back sharing the early lessons from incidents, focusing on a number of key developments affecting the industry.

In the next session, John Johnson, vice-president of NSF Health Sciences Pharma Biotech, shared his thoughts on ‘Systems or Mindset? Which one drives human error reduction to best effect?’ and how companies streamline and simplify complex processes and procedures to reduce cost, rework, rejects and human error. Phil Scott, director of safety and security with the Chemical Industries Association, and Darren Broadhead, director of Broadhead Consulting, joined Mr Johnson for the second panel session, which considered why some organizations have so few unplanned events.

To conclude the morning’s proceedings, Paul Simpson, council member for the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management, (IIRSM), delivered a talk entitled ‘It’s all about the risk – Safety Management or Risk Management’.

The afternoon marked the amazing innovation, ingenuity and sharing of best practice within the membership via the prestigious MPA Health and Safety Awards, which this year attracted 138 entries from companies of all sizes and from all over the UK.

MPA chief executive Nigel Jackson said: ‘The MPA Health and Safety Awards showcase and recognize the best in innovative ideas and best practices. Sharing these is an absolutely key part of our making the workplace safer and healthier, raising standards and improving the working experience.’  

Julian Fisher, who served as an operational officer in the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS; commonly known as MI6), opened proceedings with a talk entitled ‘007 A Licence to Manage Risk’, during which he talked about the parallels in his own work experience.

The MPA’s formal commitment to championing the mental health charity ‘Mates in Mind’ was marked by Adrian Shah-Cundy, corporate responsibility director at VolkerWessels UK and champion of ‘Mates in Mind’. He presented the certificate for the MPA becoming a Business Champion to Kevin Stevens, the Association’s director of health and safety, who said: ‘The MPA’s extensive links, especially among SMEs, means that ‘Mates in Mind’ can reach even more workers who are in need.’
Recognizing their open and positive culture of care, and the extent of employees’ engagement throughout their workplace in making suggestions to improve safety, FM Conway were awarded the John Crabbe Memorial Trophy for ‘outstanding excellence in health and safety’.

Acknowledging leadership, workforce engagement, and the application of these principles across all aspects of their business and links within the wider community, Singleton Birch were announced as winners of the Sir Frank Davies Trophy.

In addition, special awards were given to: FM Conway for their work at Heathrow Asphalt to reduce fumes and particulates; Aggregate Industries at Darwen for their contribution to Bitumen/Asphalt/Contract Surfacing best practice; and CEMEX UK Washwood for their contribution to Engineering best practice.

The full list of 2017 award winners is:

John Crabbe Memorial Trophy, for overall ‘outstanding excellence in health and safety’: Winner – FM Conway

The Sir Frank Davies Trophy: Winner – Singleton Birch

Bitumen; Asphalt; Contract Surfacing: Winner – Tarmac

Worker Involvement: Winner – Hanson UK

Transport Initiatives: Winner – Colas

Occupational Health and Well Being: Winner – CPI Mortars Ltd

Contractor Safety: Winner – Colas

Engineering Initiatives: Winner – CEMEX

Reducing Occupational Road Risk: Winner – TJ Transport

Behavioural Safety; Safety Culture; Leadership: Winner – Francis Flower

MPA Special Award: Winners – FM Conway, Aggregate Industries, CEMEX.

In addition, 16 individuals were recognized for their personal health and safety contributions:

Graham Wood – CEMEX, Rugby Cement
Tom Dilworth – Tarmac, Thrislington Works

Andy Kitridge – Sibelco
Ian Ballard – Hanson

Paul Ray – fitter, Tarmac, Harper Lane
Phillip Weller – maintenance section leader, Tarmac, Dolyhir Asphalt          
Dan Sylvester– production manager, Tarmac, Dolyhir Asphalt
Thomas Lloyd – electrician, Tarmac, Dolyhir Asphalt
Jim Wood – fitter, Tarmac, Clitheroe
John Capstick – fitter, Tarmac, Clitheroe
Malcolm Baker – fitter, Tarmac, Teesport      

Darrin Hewings – Sibelco, Bent Farm Quarry
Will Lewis – mechanical fitter, Tarmac Cement & Lime, Barnstone
Adam Harrison – mechanical engineer, CEMEX, Rugby Cement
Colin Williamson – area fitter, Tarmac, Whitwell Quarry
Danny Osborne – engineering manager, Hanson, Ketton Cement Plant.

All the videos from the MPA’s Health and Safety Conference and Awards can be viewed at:


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