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2020 / 2021 Edition

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EPC-UK announce safety competition winners

Ben Williams and Ken Taylor

Safety Improvement Competition puts employees’ prize-winning suggestions into practice

DEMONSTRATING a company ethos in which the importance of workplace safety is recognized first and foremost, commercial explosives and drilling and blasting specialists EPC-UK have announced the winners of their annual Safety Improvement Competition.

A challenge devised to encourage employees to constantly consider safety practice throughout the year, the competition inspires the development of staff ideas to improve working environments, health (both physically and mentally), work quality and business processes.

Employees’ concepts for development are proposed to the company’s head of safety, health, environment and quality, Bob Woolley. Judging the suggestions alongside EPC-UK’s managing director, Ben Williams (left of photo), the best ideas are chosen, awarded and, most importantly, implemented, to enable continuous health and safety improvement.

Two winners have been announced to date, each of whom will receive a new iPad in recognition of their inventive proposals.

The first is Lindsay Standing, who works on EPC-UK farms. He presented a novel idea capable of delivering real safety improvement, as Mr Woolley explained: ‘As part of our operation, we own and manage farmland at Bramble Island in Essex and Alfreton in Derbyshire.

‘The land surrounding our estates provides us with the area needed to conduct our activities safely, effectively and appropriately, whilst giving us the opportunity to farm and help indigenous wildlife to thrive.

‘Cereal crops are sown on the land using a seeding machine with a hydraulic fan. Occasionally, the fan can cause the coulters (part of the seed drill that furrows the soil) to become blocked, resulting in ‘drill misses’ in the field. To fix this issue, operators must first put ram stops in place to prevent a vehicular accident, then crawl under the machine to check the air flow in the coulter.

‘Lindsay’s suggestion was for operators to use an extendable pole with tape on the end as a checking and clearing device that would successfully unblock the coulters and restore air flow – without having to crawl underneath the machine.’

The second award was presented to Ken Taylor (right of photo), an engineering technician based at EPC-UK’s Bramble Island site.

‘Our operations mean that many team members have to work remotely,’ continued Mr Woolley, ‘which can heighten the importance of effective communications in emergency situations, ensuring everyone on the team, no matter where they are situated, can be kept informed and, crucially, safe.

‘Ken presented the idea of linking our fire and toxic alarm system to personnel’s digital radios, to help broadcast real-time notifications to employees, encourage faster response times and provide valuable reassurance to those working out in the field.’

Both winning safety concepts have already been implemented.

‘We’ve been advocating the Safety Improvement Competition since 2013,’ added Mr Woolley, ‘and without doubt, it has proved extremely successful.

‘Originally introduced as a drive to improve employee engagement and reward good ideas, the competition has been extended over recent years to include proposals to improve health, well-being and the environment.

‘The level of team participation we receive is always impressive. It is telling of the competition’s importance company-wide and reflective of how our corporate core values – inspired by the Esprit d’equipe initiative – ripple through the entire organization.

‘We hope the competition’s impact and beneficial results continue to help shape our company for future years.’

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