Founded in 2004 by the UK, USA, Germany and Ireland, the Atlantic Alliance comprises representatives of Industry, health & safety regulators and global/regional manufacturers of plant and equipment. The Alliance meets biennially and, this year, attracted industry representatives from Europe, North and South America, Russia, Africa and Australia, representing mineral extraction & processing companies, health & safety regulators, plant manufacturers and other associated stakeholders.
European input was coordinated by UEPG, in cooperation with ISSA Mining (International Social Security Association). Significant inputs also came from NSSGA- National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (US), ASOGRAVAS (Columbian Sand & Gravel Association), ANEPAC (Brazilian Aggregates Producers Association) and CCAA (Australian Cement, Concrete and Aggregates Association). There was also support from safety leaders in the WBCSD Cement Sustainability Initiative.
Other important stakeholders present were representatives of the European Commission from DG Enterprise, in particular its Mechanical, Electrical and Telecom Equipment Unit and DG Employment, in particular its Health, Safety and Hygiene at Work Unit, CEN, the European Standards organization, and ETUI, the European Trade Union Institute. Significant inputs also came from several major aggregates and mining companies, plant suppliers, universities & research institutes.
The Atlantic Alliance is the Quarrying Industry’s premier international Health & Safety forum. Its mission is to share “Safer by Design” good practice and to develop harmonized concepts within the global aggregates and mining industries, and in particular, to ensure that all future mobile plant for the quarrying industry is equipped with agreed safety equipment as standard.
Standard-setting organizations, plant specifiers, designers, manufacturers and purchasers are increasingly aware of the industry expectation that quarry plant is specified, designed, and supplied globally with proven safety features as standard. This is indeed expected by operating companies, their employees and contractors, as they continue to work together in their dedication to progressively enhancing industry safety standards.
It was agreed that specific follow-up actions would take place in the next 6 months:
All presentations are available for download at http://www.quarry-safety.net/
The UEPG President, Jim O’Brien, NSSGA CEO & President, Joy Wilson and ISSA Vice-President, John McEndoo welcomed all, and emphasized the importance of the safety challenge at hand. In particular, John McEndoo commented that while ICMM represented just 1% of employees globally, it unfortunately represented 8% of all occupational fatalities, therefore safety improvement was paramount.
Session 1, International Convergence, chaired by Antony Fell
Matthew Heppleston of DG Employment underlined safety at work as a basic human right. There were some 2.3m fatalities at work each year, hugely costly in human and economic terms. Many companies and organizations are striving for better safety, as also the European Commission has tripartite consultations with key bodies. Key European requirements are laid out in the Extractive Industries Framework Directive 89/391/EEC, further developed in many daughter Directives. Good practice guidelines have been developed by DG Employment, and are implemented via the European Agency for Health & Safety at Work, based in Bilbao. DG Employment actively supported the work of the Atlantic Alliance.
Helmut Ehnes of ISSA Mining emphasized its work in promoting health & safety in the mining industry in cooperation with many global organizations focused on safety.
This has been advanced through the June 2008 Seoul Declaration, the first common global initiative on safety. He thoroughly supported the work of the Atlantic Alliance and suggested it might become a co-signatory of the Seoul Declaration in due course.
Joy Wilson of NSSGA outlined the many positive initiatives taken by the US quarrying industry, despite the many severe financial burdens coming on the industry from recessionary markets, extra taxes, new NIOSH, MSHA and EPA regulations. Despite all these challenges, the industry alliance with MSHA had lead to steadily improved LTI (accident) frequency rates, with the annual numbers of fatalities also hugely reduced. NSSGA continues to support the work and goals of the Atlantic Alliance.
Dieter Mantwill of RAG described its very successful campaign of reducing LTIs and fatalities in the German hard-coal mining industry. Keys to its success were successive improvements in technology, organization and people. The key lessons learnt were that safety must be embedded in all operations in all levels of the organization, particularly in senior managerial staff.
Jim O’Brien outlined the work of the WBCSD/Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI) in addressing the imperative of fatality reduction and elimination in the cement and downstream industries. Records show that there are some 200 fatalities a year in the global quarrying sector, where some 60% relate to contractors, and some 50% are caused the mobile plant. Hence all the CEOs in the CSI voluntarily undertook to implement specific Driving and Contractor Safety Initiatives throughout their global operations within a 5-year timescale.
Phil Pappard of the UK HSE described the role of standards in ensuring greater safety in plant design and specification, both at UK and EU levels. See http://osha.europa.eu/en/campaigns/ew2007/napo/napoepisode?filmid=id_napo_film_8. He welcomed the Atlantic Alliance work as a means of driving forward the safety imperatives in standardization work, which committees tended to be hitherto dominated more by the machinery producers than the industry users.
Dirk Fincke of UEPG described the very positive progress achieved by the industry in the European Social Dialogue Agreement on Respirable Crystalline Silica. It showed how such a voluntary agreement could be highly successful, as also can the Atlantic Alliance initiative.
Milton Akira Kiyotani of ANEPAC gave an overview of the impressive safety commitment of IBRAM, the Brazilian mining institute in its “Miner Açoã” program. It has adopted ten working principles, emphasizing the safety imperative from the top management. Several good practice guidelines have also been developed, and it is essential that these be implementable just as much in small as well as large enterprises.
Session 2, Safe Machinery, chaired by Helmut Ehnes.
Martin Isles described the UK MPA genesis of the Safer by Design initiative, advocated through the www.safequarry.com website, now adopted as a UEPG project. He emphasized the parallel progress achieved in the University of Queensland’s EMESRT (Earth-Moving Equipment Safety Round Table), and its active engagement process with many of the main machinery suppliers. He advocated joined-up thinking by all present in achieving the common goal of safer machinery.
Tim Horberry of the University of Queensland described the genesis of the EMESRT project through the mining industry in Australia. Crucially it had recognized the potential “design vacuum” between plant users and the OEM machinery manufacturers. Since launched in 2008, it has achieved significant success in convincing the manufacturers on building-in essential safety features, and this was now strongly supported by the regulators. He welcomed a continued and even more active cooperation with the Atlantic Alliance.
Valerie Cantrell and Mark Andrew described CAT’s specific focus on “Safely Home, Everyone, Every Day”. CAT is dedicated to incorporating safety improvements in its plant design, much of this based on customer feedback. A huge amount of safety advice is readily available on www.safety.CAT.com. CAT welcomed the Atlantic Alliance initiative and would positively consider industry safety recommendations.
Gerhard Steiger described the work of CEN TC151 on Construction Equipment and Building Material Machine Safety, as well as its links with the similarly focused ISO TC127 and TC195. He emphasized the importance of industry input, and so would welcome the participation of UEPG as a Liaison Member in TC151.
Matthew Heppleston presented the activities on improving safety of DG Employment and CEN SABOHS. These included the Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work (ACSH), the Standing Working Party (SWP) for mines and other extractive industries. He welcomed Atlantic Alliance inputs in these areas, and actively encouraged its getting involved with CEN SABOHS and its Technical Committees.
Ian Fraser mentioned DG Enterprise work on the Machinery Directive, the sets and application of the essential health and safety requirements (EHSRs) for the design and manufacture of safe equipment. He described the importance of harmonized standards and the work of the CEN/TC 151 as well as being the final step and path for Safer by Design.
Troy Felts of Hanson UK underlined the need for machinery suppliers to take on board feedback from customers on improving safety in machine design. He cited several examples of poor safety design from several well-known machine manufacturers, illustrating how small safety improvements can make a huge difference in eliminating both fatalities and accidents. Therefore he continued to strong support the work of the Atlantic Alliance.
Stefano Boy of ETUI (European Trade Unions Institute) emphasized that key role of employee involvement in safety improvement. Positive inputs could be made at both the equipment design with manufacturers (under Directive 98/37) as well as under employers’ obligations in the safe use of the equipment (under Directive 89/655). ETUI therefore was very willing to cooperate in the work of the Atlantic Alliance.
There followed an active panel discussion, chaired by Antony Fell, comprising:
All agreed on the safety imperative, and that much could be achieved by clearer safety specifications and demands by the industry in making a common approach to all equipment manufacturers. The equipment suppliers would react very positively.
Jim O’Brien thanked all for their excellent inputs to the first day’s discussions. There was a remarkable commonality between all presentations on the imperative of improving safety in the extractive industry, and they key role that can be played through safer machine design.
The day concluded with a visit by all delegates to the Occupational Health Monitoring Vehicle, specializing in audiometric testing.
Session 3: Key “SHE” Perspectives, chaired by Martin Isles.
Martin Böttcher of the German BGRCI described its highly-successful safety campaign on accident and fatality elimination in transport, including transport to and from work. It focuses on the need for attention while driving, as distractions are a common cause of severe accidents. More data applicable to many situations can be seen on www.risiko-raus.de and www.risiko-raus-kampagne.de.
Prof Vladimir Rodin described the very successful pioneering field tests on PPE for use in extremely cold weather conditions in Siberia, a project co-sponsored by BG Bau and the Labour Safety Scientific Research Institute in Yekaterinburg, Russia, as well as several PPE suppliers. The optimized PPE lead to much safer working conditions.
Paul Corbin , Co-Chair of the CSI, described the recent major industry initiative on Driving Safety, downloadable from www.wbcsdcement.org, and specifically on http://www.wbcsdcement.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=170&Itemid=229.
This document is available in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese and Arabic, with more languages to follow. He illustrated its successful implementation in very challenging conditions by Lafarge East Africa in Kenya and Uganda. All 18 of the CSI member companies have undertaken to implement this initiative in their global activities (including quarrying) within the next 5 years. Many “Safety by Design” features are incorporated in this CSI initiative.
Ulrich Hank of RWE described its very successful safety program achieved in the power generation business in Germany. The big challenge came in the safety management of contractors from many different countries, languages and cultures. The key lay in PSM (Partner Safety Management) where everyone on site had to be full committed to and trained in safety. Achieving zero required ongoing dedication.
Martin Isles , on behalf of Richard Claydon of CEMEX, described the highly-successful UK campaign on reducing accidents to cyclists on city streets. The key challenge was to provide visibility of cyclists (and pedestrians) in the “blind spot” when turning left (in the UK), or right (in Mainland Europe). There was very good cooperation between the industry, police, authorities and cyclist groups.
Mark Füllemann of Holcim described the CSI Contractor Safety Initiative, recently adopted by the 18 major companies for global implementation with 5 years. The document is also downloadable in a similar range of languages from http://www.wbcsdcement.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=170&Itemid=229.
This document was based on the fact that 60% of all fatalities in the industry are to contractors. Hence the need for close safety focus in contractor prequalification, selection, award, project commencement, execution and post-contract evaluation. Several pilot schemes have already been implemented, including management of contractor transport in India.
Michel Buzot of UNPG described the very focused safety campaign in the French aggregates sector, based on 12 “Golden Rules” in health & safety organization, people behavior and work methods. It has already produced a significant reduction in accidents, and fatalities are very low.
César Luaces Frades of FdA described the strong business case for better safety, as experienced in the Spanish extractive industry. Indeed safety-related expenditure is widely regarded as a good financial investment, apart altogether from the obvious human and ethical issues involved. It is commonly accepted that safe operations are actually more profitable, as well as having better employee (and contractor) morale.
A lively open discussion followed, chaired by Pat Griffin of the Irish HSA. His won experiences mirrored that of the presentations made. A particular plea was made by Bettina Nickel that the “Safer by Design” recommendations could also be used by small companies in plant purchases, hence communication of the initiative was key.
Conference Conclusions and Action Plan:
Jim O’Brien on behalf of UEPG summarized the main conclusions of the three sessions as follows:
Accordingly, he proposed the following specific internal action plan:
Joy Wilson, on behalf of NSSGA, indicated that she fully supported this action plan. In particular, the OEM manufacturers were represented in the US (and globally) by the AEM (Association of Equipment Manufacturers). She proposed that a representative group of UEPG, ISSA and NSSGA should meet AEM at a meeting to be set up in March 2011 in connection with the NSSGA Annual Conference.
John McEndoo , on behalf of ISSA, concurred with this action plan, and indicated he would seek to get active support from ICMM.
Jim O’Brien indicated that it would be appropriate to hold the next Atlantic Alliance meeting in 2012. to ensure continued progress towards its objectives. He acknowledged the two invitations from US and Russia respectively to host that next event, but indicated that as the US was the first to table the invitation, it should be accepted. The next event (or any intermediate event) should take place in Russia, and this would emphasize the international aspect. Perhaps the conference title in future should change from Atlantic Alliance to Global Alliance, to emphasize that it was indeed now becoming a truly global initiative.
He thanked the key arrangers and hosts for the current event, namely UEPG and ISSA, as also FEDIEX for the common dinner.
Conference notes by Jim O’Brien, November 2, 2010.