Safety is our number one priority

Blog by Andrew Chadwick - Deputy Bulk Terminal Manager - Animal Feed

When Andrew started his career in 1989, the approach to health and safety along the Mersey was far different to what it is today. Beginning his working life as a supervisor, Andrew remembers the rules and regulations from nearly three decades ago as being more like a set of tips to keep in mind, rather than a robust system to keep people safe.

“The port wasn’t any less safe back then, but there wasn’t the same positive, collective respect for safety like there is now. People kept themselves safe by relying on their experiences and by word of mouth. Now, quite rightly, safety is the number one priority rather than an afterthought. After all, times have changed and the risks are slightly different, with automation and everything being on a bigger scale. Safety365 and schemes such as behavioural safety training have helped instill a new culture where everyone looks out for each other and, most importantly, are singing from the same hymn sheet.

“All of our machinery is inspected and tested early on in the day, and we have regular safety tours, housekeeping schedules and routine inspections to spot anything out of the ordinary or potentially hazardous. Logging incidents and communicating learnings with staff has been a huge part of keeping LTIs to nil across the terminal.

“Working in the Animal Feed terminal presents a real range of hazards – from dangerous levels of dust to towering cliff faces of feed. All staff and third party workers need to be mindful of risk, especially in such a busy terminal which deals with an average of 120 trucks each day.

“Our biggest hazard is controlling drivers coming in and out of the terminal, and making sure they know the rules and regulations which we have laid down. Clear signage is key in order to communicate our procedures and rules and the drivers who use the terminal have a great deal of respect for our guidelines.

“In the past 12 months we’ve only had to turn away one lorry driver who we didn’t feel was using the terminal safely. Our staff are trained to spot unsafe behavior very early on before it manifests itself into a bigger danger. Sometimes you have an inkling or a feeling that something is going to go wrong. It’s this infectious instinct to keep each other safe that continues to keep the terminal functioning properly and most importantly, safely.”

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