Safety Stand Down to welcome in 2024

30 January 2024

In a bid to reinforce its commitment to safety and wellbeing, Quartzelec recently conducted its fourth UK Safety Stand Down in January 2024, providing employees with a platform to discuss key health and safety initiatives, share feedback, and engage in crucial conversations about the company's values and goals.

Health and Safety remains the highest priority across the business and the stand down, led by each units Business Manager, began with a warm welcome back and a Happy New Year message.

The Directors and Business Managers then outlined their commitments to maintaining a safe working environment, fostering a culture where “it's Safe to Say”, an ongoing employee led wellbeing programme which provides a safe environment to speak out or seek support in complete confidence which is an important part of our Safety, Health, the Environment and Quality (SHEQ) culture which actively challenges and improves health and safety practices.

As we look back on initiatives and achievements during 2023 including the successful ISO 45001 certification for the Wrexham unit, increased reporting of near misses, and the absence of RIDDORS in 2023, indicating improved productivity and safety. We also demonstrated our commitment to sustainability, with the installation of 724 solar panels at the Rugby site, generating 253,237 kWh annually and reducing CO2 emissions by over 32,000 kg.

At the stand down last January 2023, we focussed on improving on HEALTH issues and looking at the quality of air that we breathe. Occupational lung disease is contributing to the estimated 12,000 annual death rate and we would be ensuring the proper and safe use of RPE (Respiratory Protective Equipment) especially where employees could be harmed by the emission of silica, dust or paint fumes during tasks. Guidelines were provided on how to select the correct type of RPE and fitting of the equipment.

HAVs (Hand, Arm, Vibration syndrome) is another health issue that was highlighted last year with instructions on how to identify and manage symptoms, but also how to safely control vibration hazards.

Looking to 2024, we announced three campaigns to again reiterate the importance of:

  1. Face-Fitted RPE compliance – the campaign to ensure employees' health featured reminders on the importance of wearing face-fitted masks and provided insights from the HSE's Chief Medical Adviser. Compliance challenges were acknowledged, with ongoing efforts to address issues such as clean-shaven compliance and alternative air-fed masks.

  2. Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome assessment and monitoring - The second campaign addressed the need for improved risk assessment and monitoring for Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, emphasising the importance of actively monitoring the duration of using vibrating tools.

  3. Near Miss Reporting - the third campaign encourages employees to report near misses and safety observations. A positive indicator of cultural change was highlighted, with an increase in reported incidents across various units. Real-life case studies were also presented, detailing incidents and the subsequent lessons learned. Recommendations included developing safe working procedures, confirming equipment specifications, and revising risk assessments to address identified hazards.

Employees were urged to focus on meaningful risk assessments, adherence to safety protocols, responsible driving, proper use of face-fitted masks, HAVs assessments, and reporting concerns. Feedback and questions were welcomed.

The successful company wide stand down concluded with a renewed commitment to maintaining a positive, non-tick box safety culture, ensuring the ongoing safety and wellbeing of all employees.



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