On Tuesday the 15th of July 2008, twelve teams of four participated in the annual Institute of Water Officers (IWO) Health and Safety Competition. Last years winners Severn Trent Services (STS), whose team included representatives from C2C, hosted the event at the Motor Industry Research Administration centre. The venue and activities were selected to highlight the importance of safe driving practices and to show how ‘seeing the risk’ can significantly reduce accidents. In addition to promoting health and safety, the event contributed to our wider corporate responsibility strategy by raising funds for WaterAid.
‘See the Risk’ is STS’s latest introduction into the Health & Safety policy and is aimed at preventing accidents by ‘seeing the risk’ before you undertake an activity. If you take time to see the potential for a risk, you can at best remove it and at the very least mitigate it.
Teams from a range of suppliers and STS group companies competed. Practical activities were designed to test skills and judgement required by drivers in both seemingly innocuous journeys and also in less frequently occurring scenarios, but which often have more severe consequences. Most activities required contestants behind the wheel, additional task were introduced to help those teams struggling with points and give them an opportunity to catch up.
‘Crisis Control’ exposed groups to an accident scene complete with a casualty. Teams were required to determine and carry out activities as they would in a real-life emergency situation. The purpose of the task was to highlight how everyone can assist in a road traffic accident irrespective of whether they are First Aid trained, if they carry out the correct actions. On the whole teams responded quickly and performed effectively.
‘Down the Line’ and ‘Caution and control’ challenged each driver to judge breaking distances and their ability to manage the vehicle on straight and circular wet tracks respectively. The surfaces were prepared to emulate conditions encountered as a result of heavy rainfall, ice or fuel spillages. The ‘Caution and control’ exercise was made even more challenging by the instructors applying the handbrake without warning. Even the most confident of drivers realised these seemingly tame exercises were very demanding as some spiralled off the track, supporting statistics that more than 14% of fatalities in the UK are as a result of drivers travelling too fast for the conditions.
Although high speed and severe weather conditions often contribute to accidents, many occur when vehicles are travelling at less than 10 miles an hour, these speeds are often seen around commercial and construction sites. Whilst these accidents may result in less visible damage to property, those involved often experience ongoing injuries like whiplash. One low speed activity which can result in an accident is parking….and not just involving women drivers for those cynics amongst you!
In the task ‘Confined Spaces’, Competitors manoeuvred a van with an obscured rear window into a restricted space. Once inside the cage, each driver had to complete a three point turn and come back out again, all against the clock.
Martin Jennings, the Midlands area IWO President closed the day with a presentation of the winning plate to Wilkinson Environmental. In second place was the Severn Trent Services WPT (Minworth) team and STS Operating Services UK came third on the ‘grid’.
The event highlighted the importance of driving safely and some of the frightening statistics we don’t consider when we’re creeping over the speed limit, polishing off the sandwich we didn’t have time to eat, or when we’re tired but hop in the car drive anyway because it’s only a short distance.
Towards the end of the day, Competitors were asked to make a commitment to change an element of their driving practices for the better. When at work or even at home, consider what risks you encounter when driving and what you would change. If you take time to see the potential for a risk, you can at best remove it and at the very least mitigate it.
C2C is always striving to ensure employee’s safety at all times. Many training courses are used in house and externally to train all levels of staff in Health & Safety. C2C has a commitment to making the work place, a safe place and Health & Safety is top of the agenda at all time. There are three statements that underpin our approach to health & safety management:
• If a job can’t be done safely don’t do it
• Always look for safety hazards
• Never ignore a safety hazard – fix it or report it
All levels of staff have had an induction to the ‘See the Risk’ policy. We have also distributed key rings, mini note pads and window screen scrappers to staff, all with the ‘See the Risk’ logo displayed as a constant reminder.
Our ‘See the Risk’ policy is aimed at reducing the potential for accidents at work but equally it may be used outside of work hour in any potential hazardous situation.