First publishedin Aggregates Business Europe
'Safer by Design' stimulated some interesting discussions at October's Atlantic Alliance conference in Brussels. The European Aggregates Association reports
Sharing good practice and developing harmonised concepts within the global aggregates and mining industries was the aim of this year's Atlantic Alliance
. With a theme of 'Safer by Design' the event held in Brussels in October stimulated some engaging discussions.
The biannual event was organised and hosted by the European Aggregates Association
(UEPG) this year, in cooperation with ISSA Mining
and US-based National Stone Sand and Gravel Association
(NSSGA) and with support of the Belgium Fediex Association.
The first session focused on 'international convergence' and representatives of the European Commission
, the International Social Security Association (ISSA) section Mining, the NSSGA, UK-based Home and Safety Executive
, UEPG and the Brazilian Association of Aggregates Producers (ANEPAC
) each presented their views on health and safety issues, priorities and challenges in Europe, as well as in their own country.
Safe machinery was the focus of the second session and invited key stakeholders of the EC Machinery Working Group such as representatives from the European Commission, the European Trade Union Association, the European Committee for Standardisation and manufacturers, as well as aggregates companies and university professors presented their activities, initiatives and views on 'Safer by Design'.
The importance of safety was widely agreed along with the key role that can be played through safer machine design. According to the UEPG, much can be achieved by clearer safety specifications, communication and demands by the industry in making a common approach to all equipment manufacturers and in a common approach by manufacturers to improve safety equipment standard.
At the end of the first day, an interactive visit of an AudioMobile was arranged. This is a joint initiative of the German industry and of the German Insurance for Occupational Accidents (BG RCI
). On the basis of BG RCI's prevention mandate, the AudioMobile is used to conduct screening examinations on-site - monitored by physicians - to reduce possible hearing impairment induced by noise at work.
On the second day key safety, health and environment perspectives were described with examples of health and safety initiatives implemented for employees and contractors in Europe, Russia and Africa. Speakers from national associations, companies, CSI Platform, universities and institutes, as well as the Irish HSA
, presented and discussed world-wide innovations and campaigns on transport, PPE, management processes and systems for employees, contractors and third parties to help reduce fatalities, accidents and incidents in the sector. The conclusion was that better safety makes for better workplaces and more profitability, as well as eliminating human suffering and associated costs.
UEPG president Jim O'Brien presented the closing speech at the conference and said, "The European aggregates industry is committed to playing its part in continuously promoting excellence in our industry health and safety, just as do our sister aggregates associations on other continents. Standard-setting organisations, plant specifiers, designers, manufacturers and purchasers are increasingly aware of the aggregates industry expectation that all stationary and mobile equipment be specified, designed, and supplied globally with proven safety features as standard. This is expected by operating companies, their employees and contractors, as they continue to work together in their dedication to progressively enhance industry safety results.
"Therefore, I believe that all Atlantic Alliance stakeholders can, in their respective spheres, in future be even more effective promoters of excellence in industry health and safety globally. Through creating greater awareness among all stakeholders, the power of the alliance can potentially be much greater than the sum of its parts. All stakeholders here therefore aspire to even greater future successes in the achievement of greater health and safety in the aggregates industry globally."
The UEPG said that the event was a major success as all key stakeholders agreed to accelerate the rate of improvement of health and safety by addressing 'Safer by Design' in all future specification and supply of mobile plant and earthmoving machinery. It was agreed that this initiative will be actively followed up by meetings between industry representatives, machinery supply representatives and other stakeholders in the coming months.