Thank you for inviting me to attend today’s conference and awards ceremony and to join you in celebrating your industry’s success to date. Not to mention the important business of launching the Precast Flooring code of practice.
Going forward the Precast Flooring Federation (PFF) will be asking that all clients, contractors and designers choosing precast concrete floors should specify the use of the code of practice as a means of meeting their obligations under the CDM regulations. This audited code of practice is also now one of your Raising the Bar initiatives covering health and safety, sustainability, service and quality.
I don’t plan on delaying our lunch too much but will now cover a few points that will hopefully be of interest to you.
First of all, let me take this opportunity to congratulate the British Pre-cast Concrete Federation and its members on your Concrete Targets scheme and your achievements in reducing injuries.
The 68 percent reduction in injury rates since the initiative began in 2001 is impressive. I am sure that you’re all also investing more hard work and commitment in order to meet the new targets set out in Concrete Targets 2015 – “a 50 percent reduction in Lost Time injuries for employees and contractors by 2015 compared to the 2010 baseline”.
You’ll be familiar with my statement of support in Concrete Targets 2015 which highlights how the new phase of the scheme rightly acknowledges that working together, sharing best practice and learning from one another, can only lead to a further reduction in the numbers. Great work is clearly being done but please don’t take your eyes off the ball - continue to work with other stakeholders across industry and with HSE, because we’re in this together and sharing knowledge will help drive improvement.
I’m glad to hear that you’re in the early stages of developing a code of practice for pre-stressing. The previous guidance which was 20 years old was due for consideration under the guidance review programme. I understand that working with HSE’s manufacturing sector you’ve taken the lead in providing modern guidance for this process.
I am also supportive of the strategic aims set out by CHARGE and the targets set for members to achieve again by 2015:
HSE recognises the continuing close involvement that BCPF has with the Minerals Products Association - allowing BPCF to benchmark performance with MPA members in other industry sectors. I hear that you are also looking to adopt the MPA ‘Safer by Competence’ policy which would commit your industry to employing “only provably competent employees by 2018”. Again this is a good move and one that should enable directors, managers and workers to recognise the risks in operational activities and then apply the right measures to control and manage those risks.
HSE has been simplifying and removing outdated or unnecessary regulation - now with a fresh impetus extending beyond the regulations into guidance, codes of practice and our approach to inspection and interventions. The overarching goal we’re working toward is to make it easier for businesses to do what is required without changing the high standards of workplace health and safety.
I am confident that your industry “gets” the business case for good health and safety - less injuries and ill health means more committed, motivated staff and better reputation, reduced insurance premiums or claims, fewer staff absences, less staff turnover and higher productivity.
But for health and safety to be further improved, it is essential that your industry continues to take the lead with setting its own priorities. So keep up the good work you’re already doing.
Thank you and enjoy your lunch.