From Grange Hill to The Palace – And Back

In August, I got round to reading ‘From Grange Hill to Bipolar and Back’ by George Wilson. For those who don’t know, George is my wife Helen’s cousin – although you may know him better as ‘Ziggy’ from Grange Hill and ‘Little Jimmy’ from Brookside.

About eighteen months ago, he called me to ask for my thoughts on some things he’d been writing in a blog that had helped him to explain and overcome the mental health challenges he’s faced over the last 30 years. I immediately encouraged him to see if he could write enough material to turn it into a book and then to get it published. I felt strongly that his story is one that would be of great help to people, whether they suffer from, care for those with, or just feel under-informed about mental health issues.

I’m sure lots of others will have said the same to him but I knew that doing so would force him to confront some very dark memories – including being present at the Hillsborough disaster – and that’s a tough thing to ask of anyone, let alone someone with a history of mental ill-health. There would have been absolutely no shame in deciding that such a task was a step too far for him.

But he didn’t. He wrote the book and, towards the end of 2019, he got it published. In January, he went on ‘This Morning’ with Phil and Holly to publicise it. As the 2020 went on, the already important issue of mental health has become an increasingly hot topic.

On holiday in Italy, I finally read the book. As I expected, it’s unflinchingly honest and details a life of heady highs and shocking lows. I’d heard about a lot of these events before and, as a Grange Hill fan, I recognised the actor ‘George Christopher’ in many of the stories but, for the last 20-odd years, I’ve just known him as ‘George’ (although Helen still calls him “our Georgey”).

Last week, he posted on Facebook that he’d got a reply from Buckingham Palace, thanking him for the copy he sent to the Duke and Duchess (I presume of Cambridge – William and Catherine). He’s offered his assistance to them in their capacities as patrons of charities in the area of mental health.

I’m so proud of him for listening to me and to everyone else who encouraged him to write this book. I can’t begin to describe the admiration I have for him for actually writing it and I think he deserves every bit of recognition due to him as he continues to reduce the stigma of a condition that can affect any of us. The heir to the throne could do a lot, lot worse than enlist his help in some way.

Here’s his post of the letter he received from TRH. If you want a copy of his book, I’m not going to give you an amazon link for it – I’ll encourage you to contact George directly through FB and he’ll point you towards one. If you ask nicely, he might even sign it!

https://www.facebook.com/George.Willo/posts/10217956381089167

CSG: Safe Equipment

Posted on http://www.csg.co.uk/blog on May 30th 2019

https://www.csg.co.uk/blog/safe-equipment-2

Chemical Waste Removal

As you probably know, we take our Health & Safety responsibilities very safely, here at CSG. In April 2018, we held our inaugural ‘Health & Safety Week’, an initiative we repeated this year. As part of our developing focus, we’ve decided to turn this very broad topic into four more clearly defined categories: Safe Processes, Safe Equipment, Safe Environment and Safe People. Concluding the series, we’ll investigate what is covered by the Safe Equipment element of our policy.

Safe Equipment

You’d think it might be a simple job to determine the safest equipment necessary to perform a task. On one level, it is. When faced with a simple choice of having a piece of equipment to perform a specific task, it’s fairly straightforward to decide that it becomes a standard requirement of the job.

Things can get slightly more complex when the task is less specific or the environment less controlled. For example, ensuring that PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is worn at designated parts of a treatment facility is relatively simple to enforce when any infringement happens in full view. It’s not always as simple to achieve compliance when there’s no-one around to watch.

This was the situation that Kevin Mooney, our Health & Safety Manager faced, recently, when he investigated incident reports involving manhole covers. Despite the fact that tanker drivers had access to a device to help them safely remove them, the equipment didn’t seem to be entirely preventing injuries. Naturally, the matter required closer attention.

“I found the manhole cover-removing device that we affix to our tankers was quite heavy and difficult to manoeuvre, which led to it becoming almost a safety risk in its own right. The incidents naturally arose as some operators had decided not to use it – leading to minor injuries from removing manhole covers by lifting them with the conventional handles.”

It was clear that a different, lighter device was necessary, something that was easy enough to use that it would become the most obvious, most preferable way for anyone to do the job. Kevin knew he had to source an alternative.

“We thought we’d found a better version, which was lighter and could be lifted onto the truck much more easily but unfortunately, during testing, we bent it while lifting a stuck cover.”

The answer was to amend the design of the newer model slightly, to give it both the strength and lightness Kevin required. Only then, could it be useful and user-friendly enough to be trusted by all operators to do the job better than the more strenuous ‘traditional’ method.

In the end, a simple modification, borne of a fair degree of management time and attention has led to a better solution – and one which should further improve our safety standards. Also, with the development of the equipment being visibly driven by management, it further encourages a safetyfirst culture, which is vital to gaining universal compliance.

The same can be said of another of Kevin’s projects: a remote control unit for a device that jets water into a channel and uses the power of the water to propel itself along. Described as a ‘bombjet’, it could only have its water supply turned on by someone stood by the tanker, which meant that a single operator would always have to leave it unattended when turning it on. A remote control unit will ensure that the device can be better controlled at the moment of ‘launch’, avoiding accidental damage before it happens.

Such instances allow Kevin to warm to his theme: “Proactive measures are always better than reactive ones. Preventing incidents rather than just seeking to reduce them is a sign of a journey to a positive safety culture. Equipment will always help us achieve better safety but it has to be the right equipment and it has to be so easy and effective that there’s no way it won’t be used in all circumstances. Simply put, the more that the right safety equipment can be used, the safer people are.”

CSG: Safe Processes

Posted on http://www.csg.co.uk/blog on May 30th 2019

https://www.csg.co.uk/blog/safe-equipment

As you probably know, we take our Health & Safety responsibilities very safely, here at CSG. In April 2018, we held our inaugural ‘Health & Safety Week’, an initiative we repeated this year. As part of our developing focus, we’ve decided to turn this very broad topic into four more clearly defined categories: Safe Processes, Safe Equipment, Safe Environment and Safe People. Continuing the series, we’ll investigate what is covered by the Safe Processes element of our policy.

Safe Processes

If you were asked to give a single word that defines our age, you might be tempted to suggest a some technological term, perhaps a word not old enough to be listed in the yellowed pages of a fifty year-old dictionary, like ’internet’ or ‘micro-chip’. It would be a good answer – understandable but perhaps not quite defining enough.

Ask anyone who’s done a similar job of work over the last four decades and they’ll probably agree the biggest difference between today’s world and the one in which they started in the job is the infinitely greater importance placed upon Process.

We live in an increasingly process-driven world. Tasks that, years ago, were often left to the operator to be performed in the most obvious or intuitive way are now invariably the subject of a multi-page document, outlining in forensic detail the parameters of each stage. Yes, digital technology has influenced our lives greatly but perhaps the greatest effect, even now, is the way
that so many of our ‘analogue’ tasks can also be broken down into prescriptive lines of instruction, just like a computer program.

Frustrating as it can sometimes be to accept that our lives are more mapped out than they have ever been, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. In hazardous industries such as our own, it’s long been understood that you can’t compromise safety by performing a certain task in whatever way you happen to prefer. When the stakes are high, there has to be a certainty that safety is assured at all times – and that means ensuring the process is pre-determined, often to the most minor detail.

Of course, the stakes don’t get much higher than ensuring the safety of hundreds of employees and many, many more visitors, contractors, customers and neighbours and it’s the responsibility of Kevin Mooney, our Health & Safety Manager, to ensure that our processes get the job done in the safest way, every time.

In one form or another, we’ve been adopting ever-safer processes in the ways that we work for decades. Responding to the ever-shifting balance between the services we are able to offer and the way we expect our colleagues to perform them has become a process in itself.

Today, Kevin and our Compliance Manager, Sarah Taylor and their teams are continuing to evolve the way we control our processes, to ensure the very best combination of operational excellence and safe practice. Like any form of evolution, the task will never be finished; there’ll always be some characteristic that requires an adaptation to ensure greater success in future.

This year’s focus is on those we’ve always been less able to control: contractors. Whether they’re working with CSG to look after our facilities or they’re sub-contractors doing work on our behalf for the customer, we’re now ensuring we can exert the same levels of control over their processes. This will allow us to expect the same level of safe practice already shown by our own highly compliant team.

“We’ve created an ‘Approved Contractor’ list”, explains Kevin. “It’s a means for us to ensure we know the capabilities of each of the external companies we use: their accreditations, the standards they can meet, even the renewal dates of their insurance”

“Having contacted each of our contractors and obtained all that information, we’ll then make it available to our Operational teams and give them the ability to update it continuously.”

Such visibility of our partners is regarded as ‘best practice’ in other industries and it ensures that all processes carried out on CSG’s behalf, can be seen to adhere to our own internal Health & Safety standards. Isn’t it all a bit onerous, adding another layer of bureaucracy to a dynamic commercial environment? You sense that Kevin has already anticipated the question:

“Simplicity has to be the guiding principle here. We know that there can’t be any encumbrance on operations because our policies need to be applied one hundred percent of the time. The moment there’s a complication, there’s a temptation not to comply so the whole thing needs to be kept as simple as possible.”

What about smaller, trusted contractors? Doesn’t it penalise them to give them greater expectations to meet?

“We’ve always recognised the need to avoid being over-zealous and creating rules for the sake of having rules but on certain issues, like accreditations, we mustn’t compromise. Of course, we’re willing to give assistance to any contractor trying to obtain the standards we’re asking of them. If they can comply, we’ll still want to work with them so it would be in both our interests to help where we can.”

It’s another way to ensure that our processes are as safe as they can be and to ensure that the often necessary practice of contracting out work doesn’t create a reason for our internal safety standards to be upheld any less, whoever it is that’s performing the task.

Once the ‘Approved Contractor’ list is established in CSG’s way of working, there’s an intention to develop it further, to extend the principle to greater levels of safety assurance. You might say that the very process of ensuring safe working processes goes on.

CSG: Safe Environment

Posted on http://www.csg.co.uk/blog on May 21st 2019

https://www.csg.co.uk/blog/safe-environment

As you probably know, we take our Health & Safety responsibilities very safely, here at CSG.  Last April, we held our inaugural ‘Health & Safety Week’, something we’ve already planned to repeat this year.  As part of our developing focus, we’ve decided to turn this very broad topic into four more clearly-defined categories: Safe Processes, Safe Equipment, Safe Environment and Safe People.  Continuing the series, we’ll investigate what is covered by the Safe Environment element of our policy.

Safe Environment

Ensuring safe conduct of large numbers of people in an area where lots of hazardous things happen every day is a demanding task.  It’s an obligation in which everything has to happen correctly, all the time, to ensure success – conversely, only take a few transgressions can result in a serious incident.  When the stakes are this high, even being almost perfect just isn’t good enough.

Much of the risks we manage can be mitigated by providing clarity about the ways we expect people to behave, in the guise of training and rules.  As comprehensive and as sophisticated as they are, ultimately, they’ll always require each individual’s compliance to have the desired effect.  What if, for whatever reason, those control measures are ignored or overlooked, even accidentally?  What else can be done to convey vital information quickly and effectively?

One answer is to control our environment, all the areas in which we operate, to reinforce the requirements and principles, clearly and consistently, that underpin our Health & Safety policy.  From ‘softer’ measures to achieve this control, like signage all to ‘harder’ measures like restricted access areas, essential safe practice can be governed by the organisation of the very place that requires it.

Sarah Taylor, CSG’s Compliance Manager describes the scale of the issue:

“This consideration is both complicated and made more necessary by the fact that we have such a wide variety of workplaces to cover, from offices to laboratories to workshops, as well as plant areas and the waste handling areas themselves.  Each type of location will have its own hazards and procedures to ensure safe working where they exist.”

You might conclude that the challenge here is similar to safe road use – passing a driving test may give you the ability to drive on any road but it gives you little or no insight about the various hazards and limits that exist on every motorway, mountain pass or one-way system in the country.  Only by a combination of your knowledge of the rules, together with a consistent approach to information of the requirements and restrictions specific to every area, can safe road use be assured.  As a driver, you must learn the wide variety of road signs because you’re expected to obey them.  In return, you can expect signage to be present at each and every location in which those rules apply.  Similarly, physical features such as speed bumps and barriers can enforce restrictions beyond simply informing users of the rules.

In environments such as those which CSG operate, the process of restriction can go much further than public roads can.  If you’re determined to ride a bicycle on the motorway, there’s nothing to physically stop you – the Police will soon find you and advise you that you have broken the law in doing so, but realistically, that system can only be run on a ‘first failure’ basis – with suitable deterrents.  At our sites, considerations of public access don’t apply and, crucially, ‘first failure’ isn’t an option.  This means that we can design our layouts and add manned checkpoints or doors operated by keycards in order to stop even those who may deliberately wish to ignore the restrictions.

As with other aspects of CSG’s Health & Safety policies, there is an unwillingness to confine the scope simply to that which is expected of us.  We believe there should be expectations above and beyond the obvious and necessary.  This year, there’s an emphasis on ways to replicate the safe working measures that employees can expect at CSG sites to be applied when they’re working off-site, as Sarah explains:

“On any given day, so many of our people will be working at locations not operated by CSG, and, of course, driving from one site to another.  We’re keen to ensure that we look after the health and safety of these colleagues as much as any other.

“It’s less easy because, unlike at our own sites, we do not have ultimate control of the environments they will face – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to exercise our influence, where we can.  We encourage any of our colleagues working off-site to report any concerns and ensure we raise them with the local operator, as encouragingly as possible.  Generally, companies do try to avoid being thought as ‘unsafe’ so where measures are suggested, they tend to be addressed in good faith.  We may only be able to influence rather than control but the value of influence is often under-rated.  As with other areas of our Health & Safety practice, we find time and again that avoiding a culture of blame is a very important way to make a real difference.”

As in other areas, that word ‘culture’ appears – and seems to be key to success.  We may all presume that only an iron grip of rule enforcement offers the surest way to achieve total compliance but there are softer benefits that a clearly-controlled environment can bring.

“It’s just another way to be clear with people, to make the point that this all stuff really matters – and that your adherence is vital to its success.  We hold a log of unsafe acts in order to understand how each instance could have been avoided and to monitor improvements once we’ve addressed each issue and we consistently find it’s much easier to effect change when we can prove to people the need to ‘buy-in’ to what we’re trying to achieve.  The more that people want to do that, the easier it is to ensure that everyone makes the right decisions.”

CSG: Safe People

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on April 11th 2019

https://www.csg.co.uk/blog/safe-people

As you probably know, we take our Health & Safety responsibilities very seriously, here at CSG.  Last April, we held our inaugural ‘Health & Safety Week’, something we’ve repeated this year.  As part of our developing focus, we’ve decided to turn this very broad topic into four more clearly-defined areas: Safe SystemsSafe EquipmentSafe Environment and Safe People.  First up, we’ll investigate what is covered by the Safe People element…

Safe People

There are few words more entwined within our company’s DNA than ‘people’.  We recognise People as one of the four ‘pillars’ that support the CSG brand, making us what we are, defining our success.  If you spend any time with our MD, Neil Richards, you’ll soon learn that his mantra “it’s all about the people” is more than just a handy catchphrase, it’s a deeply-held philosophy.  With that in mind, it’s inconceivable that we wouldn’t dedicate a quarter of our focus on the way our people can contribute to ever-higher safety standards.

Our Compliance Manager, Sarah Taylor explains further.

“The obvious way to bracket the issues raised by Health & Safety considerations with the people who are relied upon to enact them is to provide lots of training – to simply ensure that people know what’s expected of them.  Of course that’s important and we can all agree that an element of training will always be necessary but we believe the answer goes much further than that.

“Anyone who works in Health & Safety will tell you that proactive measures are better than reactive so we’re always looking for extra ways to improve everyone’s health and safety, avoiding the need to react to a future situation.  For the first time this year, we’re also developing a structured approach to supporting mental health as well as physical health.  Not only is mental health becoming a better- understood topic in the wider world, it’s also increasingly clear that a healthier workforce demonstrably acts in a safer way.

“There’s been a lot of emphasis placed on the impact of good mental health on Behavioural Safety.  We rely on our people to make good decisions, every minute of every day and, given the hazardous nature of much of our operations, so many of those decisions can directly affect the health and safety of others.  The more we support the mental health of CSG employees, the more safely we operate.”

Today, as mental health is better understood, the issues it raises are more openly discussed in the media, with Stephen Fry and Alistair Campbell among the most prominent advocates for changing attitudes.  It’s therefore no surprise that Matt Haig’s personal account of his struggles – and his approach to confronting them – Reasons To Stay Alive, remains a bestselling book, almost three years after it was first published.  Since last year’s inaugural Health & Safety Week, all employees have been given the opportunity to receive counselling, in the strictest confidence, via a third party company – a facility that will continue to be provided in 2019.

CSG also offer opportunities to work on physical fitness (a 5-a-side football team established at our Cadishead depot is still going strong, a year on) and various work-shadowing schemes, to build understanding and engagement between different departments.  Together with the necessary training and the focus on mindfulness, it’s a comprehensive approach to ensuring that meeting Health & Safety objectives really is something in which every employee has a stake.

And yet there is one final stage that shouldn’t be overlooked – creating a culture that allows everyone to feel their perspective is important – and that has led to an effect you might find surprising.  Sarah explains:

“We have to empower our people to exercise judgement whenever they feel safety is compromised  – no-one can accurately predict every single risk and even a huge set of prescriptive rules will never lead to a safer outcome in all cases.  A fear of being blamed for stopping a process can be a disincentive to Behavioural Safety so the only way to counter that is to create and reinforce a strong ‘no-blame’ culture.”

When employees at our Cadishead plant were interviewed as part of our Investors In People accreditation, it was notable how many of them were able to give examples of safety concerns being reported and resolved.  The trend is reflected in our ‘Accidents, Incidents and Near Misses’ statistics, which show a distinct increase in reports logged.  At first glance, doesn’t this seem concerning?

“It’s actually evidence of the opposite.  It’s a sign that people are more encouraged to act positively, take ownership, rather than wait for something to get worse.  The fact that our number of RIDDOR incidents has also come down is, I believe, evidence of the shift to a more proactive footing, which is something the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is very keen to see.”

With issues of Health & Safety – and of corporate culture – the ‘task’ is never completed, it will always require careful maintenance of standards.  We will always need to keep re-defining what “safe” looks like and relying on our people to ensure that our operations never fall outside of that definition.  The engagement of our employees in expecting – and achieving – higher safety standards is yet another indication that it really is “all about the people”.

CSG: A Healthy Shared Obsession

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on April 24th 2018

https://www.csg.co.uk/blog/healthy-shared-obsession

Between 3rd and 6th April, we held our first ever Health & Safety Week, across the 27 sites that make up the CSG group. Designed to promote awareness of the issues of health and safety at work, the initiative also included a schedule of staff training and activities centred on maintaining the highest possible standards of assuring health and safety.

Sarah Taylor, CSG’s Compliance Manager, explained why we felt it was important to take a fresh approach to addressing the subject.

Sarah Taylor, Compliance Manager.  Photo: CSG

“Health & Safety is always highlighted strongly across CSG so the aim of the week was to really provide another way to encouraging our staff to engage positively with the whole topic. We wanted to ensure that everyone feels that it’s part of their work, re-iterating CSG’s aim to empower all members of staff to take personal responsibility for their health and safety.”

Employees at our Cadishead site, testing their hazard perception. Photo: CSG

As you might expect, more practical, day-to-day considerations were covered by themes such as Vehicle and Pedestrian Safety and also Risk Assessment but the initiative also addressed more wide-reaching, fundamental issues like the importance of a Positive Health & Safety Culture and even Health & Wellbeing.

Sarah Taylor monitors the speed of vehicles at our 17-acre waste treatment site at Cadishead.  Photo: CSG 

“When we talk about Health and Safety, naturally, we focus on maximising safety – and that’s understandably important – but there tends to be a lack of attention within industry on the importance of promoting health. This was something we were determined not to ignore because all the evidence suggests a healthier workforce tends to be a happier, safer workforce.”

This additional consideration meant the week would see a host of health-related features to illustrate those issues. Among them were the distribution of re-fillable water bottles to staff, to highlight the importance of hydration, and the provision of fruit at break times, rather than less healthy alternatives.

Re-usable water bottles sporting our health and safety slogan “Keep Hydrated, Stay Healthy”.  Photo: CSG

The importance of exercise and fitness were underlined during ‘bootcamp’-style exercise classes and there was even an opportunity for employees to take up a package of Occupational Health programmes from HealthShield, a society specialising in health and wellbeing at work.

With so much effort necessary to hold such an intense week of events (thanks to Sarah, CSG’s Health & Safety Manager, Kevin Mooney and many others), now it’s over, can it be said to have been a success?

“I think it was a different way of delivering some key Health & Safety messages and it provided a special time of focus, with people across the company talking about the issues all week so in that basic sense, it achieved exactly what we wanted it to.

A road safety presentation given to CSG employees in Southampton.  Photo: CSG

“Beyond that, we found it brought people across the company who don’t normally work with each other started to work closer together. This resulted in a lot of unexpected team bonding. As a result of one of the ‘bootcamp’ sessions, one of our teams was prompted into starting up Friday night 5-a-side football matches! More generally, it’s been good to see a wide range of our employees realise that exercise of all forms is something they could do, even at their age or level of fitness.”

A bootcamp style fitness session for CSG employees in Cadishead run by local gym, MultiFit.  Photo: CSG

It’s interesting to note that a week of Health & Safety awareness, especially one in which the subject individual health was covered, one of the main additional benefits we found was the fact that people from very different parts of the group were encouraged to work more closely together, learning and even exercising together, which can only be of benefit to the whole company.

Improving each the health and safety of our workforce was one thing, improving the health of CSG itself, as a consequence, has been quite another.

First aid training given to our employees at our Head office in Southampton.  Photo: CSG

 

CSG: Thinking Outside the Tank

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on November 7th 2017

https://www.csg.co.uk/blog/thinking-outside-the-tank

Kevin Mooney is not a man given to taking ‘no’ for an answer. As CSG’s Health & Safety Manager, it’s a necessary virtue to have – it’s an area where tenacity can be repaid by life and livelihood itself and where meekly avoiding the occasional resistance can invite real danger.

One of his recent projects is a perfect example of that will to demand constant improvement, even where standard practice seemed to have decided progress had gone far enough. In the summer, Kevin unveiled his self-designed Manhole Safety Barrier. It works by temporarily removing the ability of a Manhole to fit a human through its aperture (something a manhole is, by definition, designed to do) at times when the cover needs to be removed but when human access is not required, such as emptying or jetting the tank below.

As CSG carry out over 55,000 tank clearances a year, the issue is clearly one to merit such consideration. While CSG have never documented a case of an operator falling down a manhole, it was still deemed an important issue to address – using the core Health and Safety principle that prevention is always better than ‘cure’.

The device consists of a straight bar with two hinged arms, forming a cross, which can be securely fixed into the four corners of a manhole. Effectively, the ‘X’ shape turns a manhole into four ‘hose-holes’, ideal for getting the job done without leaving a hole large enough for a human to fall through.

It’s no surprise that Kevin has brought a hands-on approach to his work. When he joined CSG, earlier this year, he revealed that he’s a keen restorer of classic cars, spending many an hour on his beloved MG BGT. That practical approach, combined with a professional understanding of what’s necessary to minimise risk, has led to the invention and subsequent development of this handy implement.

“I enjoy tinkering with things so it was quite satisfying to be able to use that approach to a work-based project” he enthuses. “As well as being able to secure the manhole, I knew the device also needed to be light and compact enough to be conveniently stowed on the lorry and easily carried by the driver.”

Having made and tested a prototype, Kevin then worked closely with a manufacturer to ensure every element of his design was adhered to during the production process. The first batch of 50 has now been made, with another 100 to follow before each CSG tanker is thus equipped. Interestingly, a number of other companies whose activities involve working around manholes have also shown an interest in the barrier, suggesting the development of such a product was perhaps overdue.

Kevin remains unabashed about his self-engineered solution: “I identified a risk and found a solution to the problem, which, in a nutshell, is what I’m here for. We looked at things in the market but nothing suited so the only difference was that I had to adopt an engineer’s view in order to find it.”

With the success of this project and, given Kevin’s practical capability, is it possible he’ll bring these skills to bear again?

“I would imagine so. If the need exists, I’d be happy to build something that reduces the risks we ask our staff to work under.”

‘Necessity is the mother of invention’, as the saying goes. It would be difficult to find a better real-world example than the MSB – the Manhole (or is it the ‘Mooney’?) Safety Barrier…

CSG: Confined Spaces, 25 Places

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on May 10th 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/confined-spaces-25-places/

Earlier this year, 25 of our team underwent training to enable them to work safely and correctly in confined spaces.

Confined Spaces Regulations have been in force since 1997 and are designed to protect workers from the risks associated with working in areas defined as ‘substantially enclosed’, such as a lack of oxygen, amongst a host of other dangers.

The course covered the potential hazards of working in confined spaces, explored the precautionary measures that are available and looked at how those factors combined to inform risk assessment. It also included modules on gas detection and the use of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and escape apparatus.

Finally, there was a chance to put the theory into practice with a practical exercise, in which the trainees had to physically enter and get out of a confined space before a selection of multiple-choice questions at the end of the day.

“The training was necessary to ensure that we reinforce a safe system of working in such a potentially hazardous area, while of course continuing to meet our obligations to our employees and the law.  With all that in mind, we considered the day to have been a tremendous success” said Sarah Taylor, Compliance Manager at CSG’s Manchester operational facility.

This was one of a number of training initiatives undertaken by CSG this year, demonstrating our commitment to continually raise our standards by investing in our fantastic team.

 

 

CSG: A Greater Focus on Health & Safety

Posted on www.csg.co.uk/blog on February 23rd 2017

http://www.csg.co.uk/blog/a-greater-focus-on-health-safety/ 

CSG recently welcomed Kevin Mooney to our ranks, in the role of Health & Safety Manager. It’s an appointment that highlights the paramount importance of the health and safety of our staff, our trading partners and everyone else with whom we come into contact.

Kevin joins us from Pentalver Transport, part of the Maersk empire and has 26 years’ experience to bring to bear, including 14 years as Manager. In a role where everything has to be done right, all the time, across a wide variety of sites and jobs, how does he begin to shoulder such a responsibility?

“I have a competence in safety management that comes from real-life experience, which gives me the confidence to make the decisions I need to make to do my job. Years ago, when I was a truck driver, I saw loads fall and learned from those situations.

“The variety of the role isn’t a problem because my job isn’t necessarily about knowing every situation but knowing where to find out everything I need to know. That means a lot of research and planning.”

It’s not difficult in any organisation to find people who’ll bemoan ‘Health & Safety’ for restricting mundane activities like lifting a box of paper or carrying too many cups of tea but that’s because its also easy to overlook why the need to ensure worker safety exists – and that means looking at a time when the concept was almost unheard of.

 

forth-bridge-2012
Photo: Paul Bentham

 

In the eight years between 1882 and 1890, when the Forth Bridge was being built, at least 57 people died and an undocumented number were left with disabilities. In a world without any formal Health & Safety obligations, the construction companies who build the 360-foot tall structure had one rule to prevent accidents in such a hazardous environment: any man seen with his hands in his pockets would be fired immediately. There were no harnesses, no safety nets and, aside from the provision of waterproof clothes and boots, the only other concession to safety was a small fleet of rowing boats beneath the bridge – who saved eight fallen workers from drowning. In all, there were over 26,000 entries in the log book of accidents and sicknesses.

Such frightening statistics show how far we’ve come as a society and remind us that the occasional frustration today is merely a sign that today’s employers simply can’t tolerate anything that threatens the welfare of anyone, be they employees, contractors or anyone else towards whom companies have a duty of care.

“As a person, I’m not risk-averse” Kevin adds, which may be surprising to anyone unwilling to look beyond the stereotype. “I’ve raced motorcycles and broken many bones while doing it. These days, I spend most of my weekends restoring my MG BGT, so I’m practical and I know how to get my hands dirty. Doing my job, you’re always well aware that it’s not enough to simply write the rules; I also need to ensure I maintain a culture of acceptance. If everyone buys in to a safety culture, that alone makes everything safer.”

At CSG, we’ve always taken our responsibilities seriously. With such a variety of hazardous environments to manage, and with ever-tighter regulations, it became necessary to further strengthen our already capable function. Aside from Kevin’s role, we’ve also added two new compliance officers and we’re working towards gaining Occupational Health & Safety Management 18001 status across all of our sites.