Collaboration is the key

Maintaining an excellent safety record is an essential driver within Babcock – with employee health and safety as a core value. The Babcock policy, through continual improvement and learning from experience, is to set and achieve high standards for health and safety across all of its operations.

Being a large scale organisation that operates at numerous sites across the globe, implementing common safe systems of work can often prove challenging.

The feedback from the staff involved in the loading and unloading of flatbed articulated semi-trailers highlighted that the current procedures seemed disjointed, and often involved having to bring in mobile cranes to allow unloading to be conducted to the highest safety standards.

Under the auspices of the Marine Sector Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Steering Group, a working group, which included representatives from Appledore, Bristol, Clyde, Devonport and Rosyth, was assembled to address the issue and produce a common, easy to use, safe system of work for unloading/loading flatbed articulated semi-trailers.

The project team believes that communicating the safety message through a series of workforce engagement sessions was key to setting the platform from which to work from. The working group held engagement sessions with industrial teams, local health and safety practitioners, risk assessors and managers across the business. Engagement at this level builds on the belief that organisations that do communicate and engage its workforce in safety matters tend to see a reduction in the number of work-related accidents.

Additionally, the user requirements captured by the group were detailed enough to establish a common safe system of work, and the finished product satisfied all of the stakeholders.

The trailer guard edge protection system is safer and can be erected by one member of staff, from ground level, in around 15 minutes

It is important to note that all correspondence between the working group was carried out remotely, owing to the number of sites involved.

The working group approached industry to determine if a system existed which met everyone’s requirements. Demonstrations of potential systems were delivered through further engagement sessions, and issues were highlighted with all of the systems trialled. It rapidly became apparent that a flexible system, which could be safely erected by one member of staff from ground level wasn’t available.

To reduce the time to market, the decision was made to modify an existing system to meet the requirements of the group, rather than to start from scratch. A Babcock Engineering team began redesigning sections of an existing trailer guard edge protection system as it was the closest to meeting project goals. A prototype system,  which was lighter, with additional hand-holds, was produced, making it quicker and safer to erect. It was then independently certified by an engineering partner to meet the requirements of the relevant British Standard – BS-EN:13374.

Working with the supplier, the group was able to have the modified system produced to its specifications and the production testing was overseen by a Babcock representative.

The result is an industry leading solution which can be erected by one member of staff, from ground level, in around 15 minutes; which in addition to being safer, has the additional benefits of greater productivity, less demand on workplace transport such as mobile cranes, and a universal safe system of work across the Babcock Marine Sector.

Collaboration across the team ensured a joined-up approach was achieved to facilitate the creation of a joint set of operational policies and procedures.