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Cornish mining school develops safety system for UK quarries

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

The University of Exeter’s Camborne School of Mines (CSM) has developed a new health and safety management system, which is fast gaining recognition in the quarrying sector. ‘Quarrysafe’ is the result of extensive academic field research, with the support of leading industrial minerals supplier WBB Minerals UK, and now has the backing of the British Aggregates Association (BAA). The research was funded by MIRO from the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund.
Quarrysafe places emphasis upon people-related elements such as visible management commitment and workforce involvement as well as covering legal and procedural requirements. Jon Bennett, the Camborne School of Mines researcher for the project, says: “Quarrying has moved forward immensely in the last few years in the management of health and safety, while always having to maintain production imperatives. The challenge is to build on this momentum and to ensure that every individual in the sector is included in the improvement effort, with the ultimate aim of eradicating significant injuries and occupational diseases. The Quarrysafe system provides a freely available template of good practice that any quarrying company may use to review their progress in moving towards a safer working environment.’”
The British Aggregates Association (BAA), the trade association that includes many smaller quarrying companies among its membership, is now promoting Quarrysafe to its members as part of its scheme for assessing operating standards of members’ sites. Richard Bird, Executive Officer of the BAA stated: ”We consider Quarrysafe as the basis for health and safety management in quarries for our members. Larger operators generally employ their own in house health and safety managers but for the smaller family business this is not always a practical proposition. Quarrysafe has provided the smaller operator with an understanding of how a modern H&S management system works as well as providing the framework to develop safety systems tailored to suit their own individual operations.”
The research, recently published in academic form in the journal Policy and Practice in Health and Safety, included several months interviewing and observing management and workforce in thirteen UK quarries owned by WBB Minerals. Data was gathered relating to a wide range of areas such as senior management practice, competence and training, objective-setting and review, communication, occupational health, system audit, workforce involvement and effectiveness of procedure, including the perceptions of people working at all levels.
Quarrying company WBB Minerals worked with CSM by giving access to their sites for the research phase of the project. Andy Price, Integrated Systems Manager for WBB Minerals said: “The development and testing of Quarrysafe within WBB Minerals has helped to identify gaps requiring specific focus within the Company, mainly relating to aspects of workforce involvement. The tool sits well alongside our existing integrated management system and I would certainly recommend it to others as a means of targeting resource for continuous improvement.”
For further information visit: www.quarrysafe.co.uk

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