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EPC-UK, the industry leading blast services specialist, has commenced 2020 with its latest Safety Kick-off Initiative.  These Kick-offs are designed to focus on the well-being of staff as it empowers them to make ‘safety first’ decisions and consider the wider impact workplace accidents can have on their families and arriving home safe.

The company, which consistently makes proactive moves to encourage and support ‘employee work/life balance’, considers nurturing workforce welfare to be a pinnacle element of its operating ethos.

Having successfully established a culture where staff can be open, speak freely and feel heard, EPC-UK launched its new ‘Stop Work Authority’ for 2020 and a revised version of its ‘Face Safety Rules’ campaign at a recently held series of national staff safety-kick off briefings. During the sessions, all employees were educated on the realistic impact of a fatality at work on family members, with the purpose of widening employees’ thoughts regarding safe operations, checking actions and looking out for others, ultimately determining who is responsible for health and safety at work.

Every staff member was given an ‘Authority to Stop Work’ card, designed to give the bearer – whether an employee or contractor – full authorisation, and an obligation, to stop any job, behaviour, or activity they deem to be unsafe – with the full support of company Managing Director, Ben Williams.

“Providing operators with the confidence to feel authorised, empowered and compelled to stop a job where they feel conditions are potentially unsafe, without incurring retribution of any sort, can support staff in understanding the importance of staying safe; for themselves, for those around them and for the people with whom they share their lives,” Ben explains.  “It’s far better to stop a job if there’s an element of doubt, rather than take a risk.”

In addition to the ‘Authority to Stop Work’ card, there was a series of talks by EPC-UK safety and wellbeing ambassadors, who presented their objectives to enhance company’s the safety culture throughout 2020.

All employees who operate in the quarry industry were also given safety reminder stickers for their vehicles. The cards – which when positioned in a noticeable place – highlight the “golden rules” by which EPC operates in areas of higher risk. The rules are as follows:

  • No work should take place below an active face
  • Loading or charging the front row of holes with your back to the free face edge is prohibited
  • All incidents and near misses are reported
  • Appropriate PPE must be worn at all times
  • All safety devices must be used and not tampered with or bypassed
  • Lone workers must be able to communicate from their place of operation
  • Smoking is prohibited within 50m of explosives
  • No work should take place in the dark
  • Drilling operations must be perpendicular to the free face

 “Whatever the reason, we want our employees to know that they have the right to discontinue work without penalty,” Ben confirms. “Our intention is for staff to feel empowered to work safely and have the confidence to say ‘stop’ whenever they feel it’s appropriate and to continue to build on our safe operating culture”

EPC-UK’s objective to change operatives’ attitudes and actions with its ‘Stop Work Authority’ and ‘Face Safety Rules’ campaigns, adds to multiple safety actions already in place which have successfully served to emphasise the importance of employees’ health and safety protocols across all aspects of their lives.