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A 100% reduction in reportable accidents

Quarrying is a highly competitive industry with significant health and safety risks. Companies are constantly seeking to improve productivity while protecting their staff.

Huntsmans Quarries refuses to compromise the safety of their workers to increase their profits. Recently, they undertook an assessment of their health and safety culture and processes to see where improvements could be made. The resulting developments led to a prestigious Quarry Products Association Health and Safety award and yielded significant business benefits. Health and safety has become part of the company culture and they continue to work on reducing health and safety risks.

Assessment and changes

‘We are now encouraged to report all near misses – not just accidents. There is a no blame atmosphere and all employees can suggest ways to improve health and safety.’

Claire Smith, Admin Supervisor

A simple assessment of health and safety risks identified a number of improvement opportunities. As Huntsmans is a small company, the managing director was keen to avoid excessive bureaucracy and make health and safety management as simple as possible. The managing director and the employees worked together on health and safety innovations covering manual handling, plant maintenance, and slips, trips and falls.

The following changes were implemented:

Acting upon all comments that are put forward

The company acts upon all comments that are put forward. For example, employees identified and implemented changes to the maintenance of the rock crusher to remove the need to enter the machine when performing regular maintenance.

Fully involving the workforce

The workforce is fully involved in identifying innovations to reduce health and safety risks. By establishing a culture of safety, employees take responsibility for their own safety and that of their team. In addition, a safety committee and regular site safety walks were initiated.

‘We were always aware that health and safety was important but it always seemed to be somebody else’s responsibility. However, following the recent changes you feel much more involved and it is important to know that our ideas count.’

Mr D Oliver, Walling Stone Foreman

Providing manual handling training

Quarrying is considered a high risk industry with regards to manual handling. With correct work practices and training, these risks can be greater reduced. Huntsman invested approximately $8,000 in specific manual handling training.

‘We were always positive about operating a safe business, but since we started actively engaging with our staff on the issue and more importantly acting on their suggestions, we have reduced our accidents per employee by 50% and for the last 18 months eliminated any reportable accidents achieving a 100% improvement.’

David Glenn, Managing Director

Impressive benefits

The benefits to Huntsmans’ profitability were impressive. These include:

  • A 5% increase in productivity in the manual grading of stone
  • A 30% reduction in employers and public liability insurance costs
  • Reduced time lost through accidents, increasing employee productivity
  • The QPA Health and Safety award raised the profile of the business
  • A high level of health and safety improved the public and customer perception of Huntsmans

The safety benefits were equally impressive and included:

  • Total accident reports per employee halved in the last 18 months (0.18/employee compared with 0.38/employee)
  • Zero reportable accidents in the last 18 months, compared with 4 for the previous 18 months
  • Reduced health and safety risk associated with the maintenance of process plant and of injury from slips, trips and falls

‘I am a passionate believer that a safe business is a happier and profitable one. When you can actively engage everyone in the process it is very gratifying what can be achieved. Our aim is to have zero accidents every year.’

David Glenn, Managing Director