The team at EPC-UK is considered an industry leader in terms of crisis management planning and preparation.
As a company we vigilantly protect our valued reputation for placing safety as paramount and regularly perform multi-scenario safety exercises within our partner operations, as well as at our own Upper Tier COMAH sites at Bramble Island in Essex and Rough Close Works in Derbyshire.
By taking preparatory crisis management measures and ensuring our two-way communication plans have the capability to ‘work in reality’, we consistently take every measure possible to keep our employees, customers and wider communities safe at all times.
Crisis management drill exercises are planned and executed throughout the year. The most recent exercise was successfully carried out on July 23rd at Hanson UK’s Tytherington Quarry – a 0.9 hectare geological Site of Special Scientific Interest in South Gloucestershire. Detailing the operations that took place, EPC-UK’s Managing Director Ben Williams explains:
“Using Tytherington Quarry as a working example, we staged a crisis scenario that could effectively demonstrate the EPC-UK team’s ability to deal with and escalate a relevant situation through our crisis management structure.
“We planned a hypothetical series of events that could subsequently lead to a vehicular truck fire.
“Our truck operator had the training and skills in place to escalate the management of the crisis scenario successfully. As a first response he isolated the truck, before notifying the site supervisor and localised team; safety actions required to meet our CMT 3 (Crisis Management Team 3) protocol.”
Ben continues: “We advanced the exercise to test our next stage operations at CMT 2 level, hypothetically advancing the emergency from local to national situation status. Taking immediate control, I raised presence of the incident to the CMT 1 level – or international group stage – to demonstrate with full transparency that in the UK, EPC has the most considered and competent protocol systems in place, proving that our global communications systems work with complete effectiveness.”
EPC-UK team members – from Truck Operative to Managing Director – worked together to create and deliver a highly effective test synopsis, capable of working and fully supporting the customer in a realised situation. At the end of the exercise, we were in no doubt that all systems were in place to limit harm, communicate effectively and resolve the incident at speed.
In addition to the test scenario, a blast was scheduled for charge within the Tytherington Quarry site on the same date. The handling of the truck fire test incident was so effective that the blast was still able to be conducted.
“Our Truck Operator on the day, Simon Rees, performed his emergency operations superbly, responding calmly, capably and with impressive practical safety knowledge,” Ben adds.
Simon commented by saying: “EPC-UK Truck Operators play an important and responsible role, dealing with high-hazard site materials on a regular basis. Frequently testing our knowledge and actions with reference to an emergency is vital, as it improves confidences and gives us practical tools to help keep everyone safe.”
Speaking on behalf of Tytherington Quarry, Jenna Roberts, Unit Manager said:
“Once I received a radio call from the Explosive Supervisor informing me of a developing, emergency situation, I initiated our emergency evacuation and response plan. As the incident controller, I posted sentries at critical points to prevent people from entering the site and the quarry – and assist the emergency services if required. We evacuated the quarry, bench by bench, in proximity to the incident. Everyone on site responded well by mustering to the area required and rollcalls were taken with all persons accounted for. It was good to test our evacuation and response plan on a site level along with our escalation procedures within the business. It also gave us the opportunity to reflect on a ‘real-life’ scenario and devise actions to make improvements for the future.”
Adding comment, Mike Brown, South West Area Operations Manager, Hanson UK said:
“EPC-UK’s test scenario was an excellent exercise which allowed both our quarry and business to reflect on whether existing emergency contingency planning is sufficient to deal with such a rare event. As always, a reflective approach allows learning to take place and be shared internally and externally with a closely aligned supplier, ensuring that modifications are made for mutual benefit.”
Ben Williams concludes:
“We see it as vital to demonstrate to customers and stakeholders that EPC-UK has effective procedures in place to risk assess and crisis manage potential incidents. We take most seriously the importance of regularly staging realistic situations in which our people can apply their knowledge and training and execute the appropriate Crisis Management Team strategy levels to reassure and inform customers, our wider international group and importantly, one another.”