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Demonstrating a company ethos in which the importance of workplace safety is recognised first and foremost, leading force in the field of commercial explosives and drilling and blasting, EPC-UK has announced the winners of its annual Safety Improvement Competition.

A challenge devised to encourage employees to constantly consider safety practice throughout the year, the competition inspires the development of staff ideas to improve working environments, health – both physically and mentally – work quality and business process.

Employees’ concepts for development are proposed to the company’s Head of Safety, Health, Environment & Quality, Bob Woolley, whose expertise in the area of health and safety is notable.

Judging the suggestions alongside EPC-UK’s Managing Director Ben Williams, the best ideas are chosen, awarded and most importantly implemented, to enable continuous health and safety improvement.

Two winners have been announced to date, each of whom will receive a new iPad in recognition of their inventive proposals.

The first is Lindsay Standing, who works on our Farm. He presented a novel idea capable of delivering real safety improvement, as Bob Woolley explains:

“As part of our operation, we own and manage farmland at Bramble Island in Essex and Alfreton in Derbyshire. The lands’ surrounding estates provide us with the area needed to conduct our activities safely, effectively and appropriately whilst giving us the opportunity to farm and help indigenous wildlife to thrive.


“Cereal crops are sewn on the land using a seeding machine with a hydraulic fan. The fan can lead the coulters – part of the seed drill that furrows the soil – to occasionally become blocked. This can result in ‘drill misses’ in the field. To fix the issue, operators must first put ram stops in place to prevent a vehicular accident, then crawl under the machine to check the air flow in the coulter.


“Lindsay’s suggestion was for operators to use an extendable pole with tape on the end as a checking and clearing device that would successfully unblock the coulters and restore air flow – without having to crawl underneath the machine.”

A further award was presented to Ken Taylor, an Engineering Technician based at EPC-UK’s Bramble Island site.

“Our operations mean that many team members have to work remotely,” Bob continues, “which can heighten the importance of effective communications in emergency situations, ensuring everyone on the team – no matter where they are situated – can be kept informed and crucially, safe.


“Ken presented the idea of linking our fire and toxic alarm system to personnel’s digital radios to help broadcast real-time notifications to employees, encourage faster response times and provide valuable reassurance to those working out in the field.”

Both winning safety concepts have already been implemented.

“We’ve been advocating the Safety Improvement Competition since 2013,” Bob adds, “and without doubt, it has proved extremely successful.


“Originally introduced as a drive to improve employee engagement and reward good ideas, the competition has been extended over recent years to include proposals to better Health, Wellbeing and the Environment.


“The level of team participation we receive is always impressive. It is telling of the competition’s importance companywide and reflective of how our corporate core values – inspired by the Esprit d’equipe initiative – ripple through the entire organisation. We hope the competition’s impact and beneficial results continue to help shape our company for future years.”