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'Health and safety is top of the agenda'

'Health and safety is top of the agenda'

Mineral Products Association | Mineral Products Association

2 min read Partner content

The mineral products sector has stressed that even in times of serious financial constraint health and safety must remain at the top of the agenda.

Dyfrig James, the newly appointed chairman of the Mineral Products Association (MPA) speaking at the MPA Health and Safety Conference and Awards, said it was important to "celebrate the success" of the industry, but that health and safety is a "continuous learning game".

Recognising the achievements of the industry over the last decade, he said health and safety had moved from a number one priority to a "core value" within the mineral products sector.

Acknowledging that health and safety can sometimes take a back seat during times of serious economic and financial constraint, he urged representatives from the mineral products sector present to ensure it stays at the top of the agenda.

Like any other public sector organisation, the Health and Safety Executive has had to respond to budget cuts.

Representing the Executive, Philip White, head of the Construction Division, said one sensible change they had made in response to the cuts was to bring the quarry inspection team into the construction division.

Moving the focus to the issue of competence, an area in which the industry is considered to be leading other comparable industries, White said it was "heartening" to see the industry take up the challenge but, echoing James, he said competence is an "ongoing issue".

The issue of competence was a key element of the health and safety strategy, released in May this year.

Rather than assuming competence, and that standards can and will be maintained, White said it was necessary to "keep on top of the issue" at all times.

The MPA has recently approved and adopted a new policy, 'Safer by Competence'.

Nigel Jackson, chief executive of the MPA, said the new policy aims to develop a "fully competency-assured workforce and enable members to demonstrate they have achieved this, through meeting the relevant national occupational standards."

An awards ceremony following the conference celebrated numerous examples of best practice across the mineral products sector in the field of health and safety.

Awards were judged across a total of seven categories such as engineering initiatives and contractor safety.

Winners included John Wainwright and Co. Limited, Singleton Birch Ltd, Steetley Dolomite Limited, Francis Flower, Tarmac UK, Aggregates Industries UK Ltd, Cemex UK, Lafarge Aggregates & Concrete UK and Silbeco UK Ltd, as well as a number of individual recognition winners.

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