When Ken Woodward went to work one November day in 1990 he never expected to return home without his eyesight because of an avoidable workplace accident. His story was the keynote address at Peel Ports’ first ever national health and safety conference held in Liverpool last week.
Over 120 Peel Ports and third party labour employees attended the full-day event in Liverpool’s iconic Royal Liver Building, hearing about Ken’s experience and the chemical explosion that robbed him of his sight forever.
As well as underlining the importance of health and safety through Ken’s testimony, the conference also updated delegates about Peel Ports’ Safety365 campaign and its plans for the year ahead, including the purchase of Rivo - a new reporting and risk management software suite used by hundreds of other multisite organisations including Crossrail and Thames Water.
Mark Whitworth, CEO of Peel Ports, said: “Our number one priority is the safety of our staff and ensuring that everyone goes home safely each day. While excellent health and safety practice is good for business, commercial performance pales into insignificance when compared to the safety of employees. Hearing Ken’s powerful and compelling story brings it home how real the risks are within any workplace.
“Reporting incidents and highlighting risks is the backbone of health and safety management, and the tools we use to do so can determine how well we record, prevent and learn from mistakes. Every unsafe act that we challenge could prevent a situation where someone is harmed and their family is left to pick up the pieces.
During Ken Woodward’s emotional story, the audience heard how a series of wholly avoidable events resulted in a catastrophic accident which resulted in Ken being blinded at the drinks manufacturing plant where he worked.
After spending a life fundraising for blind charities and bringing up his children and four grandchildren, Ken has passionately spoken about the importance of health and safety since his accident nearly 27 years ago.
The afternoon session saw one of the UK’s leading law firms, Pinsent Masons, engage the audience in a mock trial surrounding a fictitious forklift incident demonstrating the application of the new Sentencing Guidelines introduced in 2016.
Michael McLavey of the Liverpool Stafforce team, said: “The conference has been a fantastic opportunity to strengthen relationships between Peel Ports and third party labour providers, and helps us align our team with Peel’s goal for zero accidents. The conference was without doubt the best health and safety event I’ve ever been to. Ken Woodward is an amazing man who delivered an incredibly moving Safety training presentation which we will never forget.”
Another of the delegates, Tim Gower from Peel Ports Great Yarmouth, said “The conference was a real triumph. The mock trial an excellent way to show the reality of the potentially eye watering fines that can be imposed on businesses since the creation of the new sentencing regulations.”
The new total safety management software platform, Rivo will help improve Peel Ports’ safety record and ensure that the business, its people and its assets are protected.
The event closed with Mark Whitworth presenting safety awards to employees Dennis Cox (Medway), Hugh Hardie (Clydeport), Steven Marshall (Liverpool) and Paul Miller (Medway) to recognise the safety of the Medway Wellmarsh Project which recently worked 100,000 hours without a single injury.
Sophia Farrell also received the Safety365 Chief Executive’s Shield on behalf of the Liverpool Steel and Metals Terminal which scored a remarkable 100% in a recent external audit conducted by Lloyd’s Register.
For more information on Safety365 please click HERE.
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