April 28th is ‘The World Day for Safety and Health at Work’ and promotes the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally.
This year, #SafeDay focuses on enhancing social dialogue towards a culture of safety and health.
We asked Simon Green (pictured far left alongside some of the M&I Materials H&S Committee), M&I Materials Health, Safety & Environmental Manager about the work of our Health & Safety Committee in ensuring a safe environment for M&I employees.
Why is Health & Safety so important to a company like M&I?
“Extremely. Not only do we have a legal and economic responsibility towards health and safety, but more importantly we have a moral duty of care to ensure the safety of all employees and visitors alike – and we want to be that way. The mindset driven from Giles the CEO, right through the business is that our people are our most important and valuable asset.”
What is the M&I Materials health & safety team/committee responsible for?
“We have a cross-functional team in place to continually uphold and drive safe and healthy working conditions.”
“Going beyond what you would expect any company to do with respect meeting our legal obligations, the team is also there in order to foster a working culture which is mindful and aware of staying safe. We have a number of factories on-site and so engaging our employees is way to get there – everyone has a stake in working safely.”
Who else is in the group and why?
“We’re made up of people from different areas of the business, manufacturing, site services, logistics, HR, technical and health and safety teams. I don’t think it would work as well as it does if it were any other way.”
“You might call us an “odd-bunch”, well I do anyway! We work really well together, not least because we all appreciate the importance of keeping safe at work.”
How broad is the scope of the group?
“The scope of the role covers all the activities of the M&I group and it includes our international colleagues as well. The team’s remit ranges from simple activities such as ensuring basic facility requirements are met, meeting home working requirements, to ensuring our chemical plant, materials and hazardous areas are safe and compliant to all the corresponding laws, legislation and regulations.”
How has COVID impacted the work of the group?
“It was mission-critical for companies related to the energy industry, like ours is, to keep working as much as possible and not disrupt supply continuity. For us that meant putting in place COVID mitigation measures and ensuring employees whose jobs could only be done on-site could come to work and be in a safe, COVID-free environment.”
“Those who were able to work from home did for large parts of these past two years and, while that allowed us to get the on-site requirements right. Speaking more broadly, the company has also spent a lot of time supporting colleagues working from home for prolonged periods with regard to home working assessments and mental wellbeing.”
“COVID has brought some significant challenges as I imagine it has for many manufacturing businesses. I know I’m not alone in saying I’m proud of not just the work of health and safety group throughout the pandemic, but how we reacted as a company.”
Why is it important to be mindful of safety in the workplace?
“Everyone needs to be mindful of safety, risk assessments, safe systems of work etc but more significantly, it’s people’s behaviours and actions, or even omissions, which can contribute to accidents.”
“People can follow all the rules and regulations set out before them but if they are not mindful of why they are in place, safety can be compromised. That’s why it’s important to make health and safety a key part of working culture. If we keep everyone safe and well at work, we’ve all done our job.”