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MPA Health & Safety Conference and Awards 2015

First published in the January 2016 issue of Quarry Management

Event confirms ‘health and well-being’ as a top agenda issue and celebrates innovation and achievement

An audience of 270 delegates representing 60 organizations, including members, contractors and other key stakeholders, attended this year’s MPA Health & Safety Conference and Awards event at 30 Euston Square, London, on 12 November. The morning’s packed agenda of respected and eminent speakers, together with interactive panel sessions, explored the theme of ‘Securing Sustainable Health and Well-being Together’, while the afternoon was devoted to celebrating innovation and achievement through the MPA Health & Safety Awards.

BBC News Presenter Julian Worricker hosted the proceedings with keynote conference speakers Peter Baker, Chief Inspector of Construction with the HSE, Tracey Boyle, President elect of the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS), and Prof. David Fishwick, the Health & Safety Laboratory’s Chief Medical Officer and co-director of the Centre for Workplace Health, kicking off the morning session.

Peter Baker challenged MPA members to continue the journey to ‘Zero Harm’, stressing that whilst in terms of safety there had been great progress in reducing fatal and reportable accidents by 85% since 2000, workers were still 11 times more likely to be killed in the minerals industry compared with the current all UK industry fatal accident frequency rate of 0.46/100,000 workers. 

Moving on to the health agenda, he focused on the industry’s need to elevate this, particularly in terms of occupational health, which constitutes the real risk. He went on to say that, along with others, the MPA needs to identify and understand its key risk areas and ensure that any initiatives deliver the right outcomes. Critical to that process is leadership. He rounded off with a simple, but powerful statement: ‘Who cares Wins’.

Expressing her delight at being a part of the MPA Health and Safety Conference and seeing so many organizations represented, Tracey Boyle said: ‘Sharing best practice and cascading this across the industry is key if we are to raise standards in how workers’ health is protected. Worker health protection is not just the right thing to do, but is good for business as well.’

Prof. David Fishwick, who spoke on the actual risks associated with exposure to respirable crystalline silica and how this can affect the respiratory system, provided some graphic real-life examples from his own personal research and historical evidence. He said: ‘I took away from the morning conference that the MPA is committed to setting out a new and modern approach to health risk management and I did not hear a single word spoken against this view.’

Nigel Jackson, the MPA’s chief executive, said: ‘It is clear from the debate that health needs to be elevated to a position equivalent to that of safety, and that the challenge to the MPA and its members has been clearly set. We accept it and move forward with the same vigour and commitment on our journey to ‘Zero Harm’.’ 

The conference’s interactive panel sessions focused on a number of key developments affecting the industry. The first – with Melanie Brewster, chief executive officer of Industrial Diagnostics Company, and Dawn Collins, lecturer for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Coventry University – focused on stress and its effect on mental health, and noise-induced hearing loss, along with the consequences of both.

The second panel session – with Tracey Boyle of BOHS; CEMEX UK’s Chris Leese, chair of the MPA’s Health & Safety Committee; and Aggregate Industries’ Rosamund Seal, chair of the MPA’s Occupational Health and Well-being working group – debated how the MPA can ensure the mineral products industry engages in the health agenda to secure the benefits for everyone.

Richard Noble OBE opened the afternoon’s awards presentation session and with unique and thrilling insight into his latest Bloodhound SSC project and plans to attempt to break the 1,000 miles/h barrier and create a new land speed record later this year.

Overall, the MPA Health & Safety Awards 2015 attracted 151 entries from 44 different organizations, with 50% of submissions provided by companies with fewer than 1,000 direct employees. The full list of winners is: 

  • John Crabbe Memorial Trophy for overall ‘outstanding excellence in health and safety’ – CEMEX UK
  • The Sir Frank Davies Trophy for companies with less than 1,000 employees – FM Conway
  • Bitumen; Asphalt; Contract Surfacing – Aggregate Industries’ Express Asphalt, Darwen
  • Behavioural Safety; Safety Culture; Leadership – Marshalls plc
  • Contractor Safety – CEMEX UK
  • Engineering Initiatives – Marshalls plc
  • Occupational Health and Well-being – Hope Construction Materials
  • Reducing Occupational Road Risk – FM Conway
  • Transport Initiatives – CEMEX UK
  • Worker Involvement – FM Conway
  • MPA Special Award for companies with 100 to 1,000 employees – Sibelco
  • MPA Special Award for companies with less than 100 employees – Kerneos
  • MPA Special Award for Innovation – Tarmac apprentices
  • Six individuals were recognized for their personal health and safety contributions – William Buckley of CEMEX UK, Graham Singleton of CEMEX UK Marine, Christopher Jack of CPI Euromix, David Edwards of Breedon Aggregates, Peter Roberts of Breedon Aggregates, and Emma Barnard of Eurovia Roadstone.

Videos from the MPA Health & Safety Conference and Awards 2015 can be found at: www.safequarry.com

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