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Holistic Health and Safety

First published in the February 2024 issue of Quarry Management 

Andy Taylor, director of health and safety at Cemex UK, talks about the importance of employing a holistic approach to health and safety leadership strategies to build a better future

A new year prompts us all to think about what is important to us professionally and personally, providing an opportune time to reflect. In my area of business, things do not stand still for long. Improving, maintaining, and implementing a robust workplace health and safety agenda has never been more critical. The health, safety, and well-being of our people is paramount and vital to our ability to effectively conduct a world-class business operation.

Cemex have a ‘Zero4Life’ target intended to support injury-free working and the promotion of well-being. A culture where people genuinely look after themselves and each other, in terms of safety and well-being, can bring advantages for our people and the business. We strive to foster an environment where employees and contractors are encouraged to discuss improvement opportunities and how they can best be achieved. Programmes are continually monitored to ensure they are working as effectively as possible.

In recent times the relationship between well-being and safety has become a growing concern for many organizations. At Cemex, we nurture a holistic approach to health and safety, developing a range of best-practice principles and leadership strategies to help us to better support the health and safety of our employees, suppliers, contractors, and customers alike, whether that is applying good health and safety practices at home, in a vehicle, or at work in office or site-based locations. As a global business committed to sustainability and decarbonization, equally we cannot ignore the compelling fact that health and safety is now also an essential part of our journey towards more sustainable development.


Sustainable development

The United Nations’ blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet urges us all to improve our health and education, reduce inequality, drive the economy, and tackle climate change. We all know today that a healthy workforce is a more productive one, and as such by investing in the well-being and safety of our people and our extended communities, we are not only helping them in the short term, but also building and supporting a more sustainable future for everyone involved in our business. Our Future in Action sustainability and decarbonization strategic roadmap, which targets net zero by 2050, helps us to guide this process throughout our global operations.

Health and Safety Academy

Cemex’s Health and Safety Academy is the company’s flagship safety leadership programme, designed to equip managers at all levels with the tools, skills, and behaviours they need to lead safer, more efficient teams. The programme promotes continuous cultural change in the way we operate, helping us to achieve our global, long-term goal of zero incidents.

The programme’s foundation provides a global safety leadership course which all leaders, from executives to front-line supervisors, are required to complete. The programme, designed and developed by Cemex, comprises three two-day modules and is based around key themes such as leading by example, understanding processes and people, communication, and motivation and accountability. To date, 250 UK managers and supervisors across the business have completed all three modules of this ongoing programme.

Health and safety leadership

Cemex’s UK leadership team have empowered a Well-being Strategy Group to shape our well-being journey. The group is made up of volunteers across the business, with the number rising to 18 as interest has increased. The group advises our strategy, part of which includes an annual programme of initiatives. To date, a range of important topics have been highlighted, including menopause, anxiety, and bowel cancer. The group has also supported the provision of sanitary products while supporting the charity ‘Hey Girls’.  In conjunction with the work of the Well-being Strategy Group, Cemex also run a programme of one-day mental health awareness courses, training more than 200 managers and supervisors with the support of an external mental health first-aid provider, having previously trained nearly 600 staff in mental health.

In 2023, a new series of Well-being and Safety Days, led by motivational speaker Jason Anker MBE, was introduced to complement the company’s existing programmes. Mr Anker talks about the impact of a life-changing injury and how it affected him, his family, and friends over the last 30 years after he was left paralysed from the waist down. He explains how his general well-being was an influencing factor in the causation of the incident, and his well-being journey in the intervening years.

Holistic health

As part of a holistic approach to our health and safety strategies at Cemex, we have a stronger focus on exploring the relationship between well-being and safety. Namely, the role that our physical and mental health plays in our overall safety. Post-Covid, we have encouraged more open conversations around the topic of well-being, creating an environment where we can talk openly, with the freedom to tackle a range of ‘taboo’ topics. We plan to build on this successful programme and develop it further throughout the coming year with new themes and a range of employee engagement activities.

Machinery Isolation Awareness Campaign

In support of our ongoing Machinery Isolation Awareness campaign, in 2023 the company’s operational teams did a thorough job auditing machinery isolation arrangements across multiple sites. This is the third time Cemex have performed the audit. The first time was paper based, but it is now carried out electronically. Thanks to the diligence and commitment of the operational teams, a further 242 improvement opportunities were identified and closed out. This initiative is further supported by Cemex’s important ‘Take 5’ and ‘Take 5 Together’ campaigns, which continue to highlight the importance of everyone taking five minutes to stop and think before starting a new task, and to step in and talk with colleagues (employees and contractors) if they see anyone they believe may be at risk of injury or harm.

Mineral Products Association – MP Connect

Externally, we continue to work in close association with several governing trade bodies. Just one example is our support of the MP Connect scheme, which was established by the Mineral Products Qualifications Council (MPQC) in collaboration with the Mineral Products Association. MP Connect is a scheme designed by and for the industry, promoting consistency and efficiency for the benefit of companies and contractors.  The platform aims to demonstrate individual competency by role and target interventions to raise standards, thereby improving safety. It promotes improved communication direct with contract personnel through safety alerts. It was developed for the whole industry, without cost barriers, and will hopefully generate revenue to reinvest in people development through MPQC.

Cemex have a high level of responsibility as an industry leader to support, implement, and drive innovation in safety across our stakeholder community to ensure that we trial and adopt the latest industry schemes and technologies. We continue to lead and support the industry roll out of the MP Connect contractor competency platform, which includes 21,000 drivers and nearly 3,000 on-site contractors.

MP Connect is also supported by Cemex’s ‘Zero4Life Today For Drivers’ training campaign for HGV drivers, which was implemented during 2023. To date the training has reached more than 50% of employed and regularly contracted Cemex drivers and will continue during 2024.


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