Ron Hunter, our recently appointed Group Director of Health and Safety, sets out Peel Ports’ ambition to be the safest port operator in the UK.
Put simply, good health and safety is good for business. Since I joined Peel Ports in December last year I’ve met lots of enthusiastic people who are passionate about delivering high standards in health and safety management.
Of course, we have our statutory obligations to meet and we want to ensure that every member of staff goes home safe and healthy at the end of the day. But our drive to be the best is about more than that.
Safe organisations are likely to more productive, efficient and have high customer service levels. It’s also important for staff recruitment and retention.
So, for these purposes, our definition of health and safety is very broad. As with any major industrial operation employing a large workforce, we have hazards that need to be well managed. But we are equally conscious of occupational health priorities which I call the ‘slow accidents’, such as hearing loss caused by noise exposure and mental health issues that also need our efforts to prevent and minimise harm.
This holistic approach is only possible because we have a board and senior management team that are fully committed to safe operations. We’ve introduced monthly governance meetings to review the progress of our health and safety plans, which are comprehensive and set out clear actions for achieving the high standards that we aspire to.
This clear, positive culture, led from the top, is vital. Every incident is investigated and lessons are learned. We also have the mindset that ‘silence is consent’, and if something doesn’t look entirely safe, staff should intervene.
On the ground, we are increasing our training and communications for all staff, ensuring they know how to look after themselves and their colleagues.
Our Chief Executive has set the business the challenging target of reducing lost-time incidents to zero over the next five years. This is ambitious but achievable. After all, there is no greater priority than ensuring that our colleagues return safely to their families every working day.
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