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LAFARGE - Blue Cones Bring Lafarge Safety Award Success

AN INNOVATIVE on-site safety scheme featuring bright blue traffic cones has earned Lafarge Contracting a major transportation award.

The initiative, ‘High Visibility Blue Cones for Overhead Obstruction’ came second, receiving a Highly Commended, in the Health and Safety at Work category of the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation annual awards.

Judges called it an ‘exceptional addition to on-site health and safety management’ and remarked: “This is a simple but very effective system that clearly identifies a real hazard to those working within the industry.
“The cone system is easy to implement, requires little workforce training, is immediately recognisable by operatives and could be universally adopted by the industry.”

The blue cones were the brainchild of Lafarge Aggregates & Concrete UK contracting operations manager, Steve Tinkler. He wanted to raise awareness among delivery drivers about overhead site obstructions.

Steve said:

“Health and safety is of paramount importance to Lafarge and we continually strive to improve our working methods so that our sites are as safe as possible for our employees, contractors, clients and the public.
“We recognised one of the biggest dangers on site was the drivers of delivery vehicles being unaware of overhead site obstructions.
“Most occurrences of collisions with overhead obstructions result from tower lights being transported or lorry bodies being left in the upright position after unloading.”

Steve realised something completely different was needed to catch drivers’ attention and mark out hazards, and so the idea of blue cones was born.

Steve explained:

“People are so used to seeing red cones sometimes they can lose significance, but because the blue cones are a surprise and unusual they really catch the eye. This means any hazard they mark out is clearly identified.”

As best practice Lafarge Contracting began to run the cones a set length prior to any obstruction and then again after it so vehicles travelling in both directions were aware of the identified hazard.

The information was introduced into the regular on-site health and safety briefings so that all levels of employee knew about the cones and how to implement them.

Since this best practice was disseminated across the business at the start of last year no accidents due to collisions with overhead obstructions have been reported.

Steve said:

“The blue cones are a cheap and easy method of raising hazard perception.
“We have rolled the scheme out across the company and it has been universally welcomed.
“It prevents damage to bridges and other overhead obstructions but more importantly significantly reduces the risk of injury to workers and members of the general public.
“I’m delighted such a simple idea is making such a huge difference.”

* The Cudworth and West Green Bypass, in which Lafarge was involved and which was designed by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council with VHE Construction PLC as the main contractor, also took an award, being Commended in the Major Projects category.

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