As a company committed to delivering complete operational safety, EPC-UK believes in applying a constructive mindset when it comes to analysis and improvement. That’s why our leadership team prioritises all employee assurance procedures and ensures that when it comes to safety, no conversations are ‘off the table’. 

By taking a transparent approach to leadership, together with a view that improvement can always be made, we’re succeeding in demonstrating to our employees that their health and wellbeing – both in and out of the workplace – is always our main priority and most valued achievement.  

This month we talk to Ruth Bray, Business Standards & Administration Co-ordinator at our Bramble Island site about her experience of our employee focused ‘Safety Chat’ initiative – a protocol our leadership team implements following a completed ‘Engage 360’ review. 

The Engage 360 review is a process we’ve successfully actioned where a manager will visit an operator to have an informal chat. The discussion focusses on the safety procedures put in place to support an operator’s role. Talking together, the role is fully considered, and improvements are suggested to potentially make operations safer and more effective – both physically and mentally.

EPC-UK Engage 360

The conversation is then followed-up by a safety ambassador, who talks to the operator separately. This creates a pressure-free, friendly opportunity for an operator to bring any issues or concerns to the discussion that they may not necessarily feel comfortable talking about directly with a manager. 

The next step is for the Safety Ambassador and Manager to reconvene and review the Safety Chat that has taken place. Here, the pair will assess the conversations that have occurred, consider if improvements to the review could have been made, and discuss whether they have met the objectives of the Engage 360 process. 

“The chats benefit from being so integrated,” Ruth says.  “Using an approach not many companies commit to, they open discussion on how the department leader has performed during the initial Engage 360 activity with regard to their own safety knowledge and leadership techniques.” 

 

Ruth, herself a Safety Ambassador, goes on to explain that: “Opportunities are created for employees to critique the review performance and provide feedback on areas including the Departmental Manager’s approach to employee safety. Questions such as: Was the employee made to feel their safety was key? Did the employee agree with any management actions raised? Did they feel management was responsive within the original Engage 360 process? And would they like any follow-on actions raised? are openly discussed. Points highlighted in the review are then documented on a safety chart.”

Ruth believes the Safety Chats are notably effective and are key to building a transparent safety culture within the business. She continues:

“The conversations serve to reinforce, in practical terms, the SPIRIT ethos EPC-UK advocates. The dialogues also support an important cycle of communication and feedback, which creates the best opportunities for operational improvement.

 

“The whole talking structure presents platforms to cast new eyes upon the more general appraisal or review process.  Employees appreciate being spoken to ‘on a level’ with the leadership team, and can see first-hand that the company’s management holds significant interest in individuals’ lines of work and their health and wellbeing.

 

“Team members have the vital opportunity to voice their opinions effectively, and in a controlled environment, which ultimately contributes to employer trust-building, productivity and organisational improvement. Furthermore, this motivating process empowers and encourages employees to keep themselves, and others around them, safe at all times.”

Our Managing Director, Ben Williams champions the safety chat technique and feels the industry as a whole would benefit from increased uptake in this type of leadership visible engagement method. He says:

“The two-way Safety Chat process is an important and productive tool and we never under-estimate its worth. Employees feel deservedly valued, heard and considered. Opportunities are openly presented for team members to understand more about the company’s wider operations – educating, communicating and involving. 

 

“By adopting this conversational technique within business, areas where improvements can be achieved are made transparent and information can be shared freely to support the leadership team and drive better practice and efficiencies moving forward. 

 

“At EPC-UK we believe that listening to employees is one of the most effective routes to progress, heighten safety and encourage team wellbeing. By taking the time to listen and learn, mutually beneficial results can be consistently achieved and business can be made better and safer in the process.”