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Operating centres can run for years with ingrained bad habits. Such was the case at the Ipswich depot of sugar refiners The Silver Spoon Company.
Les Blair, the company’s head of sugar cane operations, was brought in to solve the problem in November 2004. “The most important thing was enforcement. The site was very neglected, safety systems were poor and personnel were not involved.” Blair found “a high blame culture; management by fear; general discomfort and a high number of accidents”.
Vehicles were not segregated from pedestrians, forklifts and people used the same doorway and there was no control of vehicle movements.
After seeking advice from the HSE, he took steps to create clear separation between people and vehicles, including the installation of barriers. Fixed walkways were created and arriving lorries were supervised. “We turned the culture round in two to three years,” he said. “Now the workforce of around 100 people looks after their own safety and others.”