Health & safety chief praises pioneering ceramic industry pledge

The chair of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has heralded a pioneering initiative, which has seen the ceramics industry reduce the number of injuries by 75% in 15 years.

Judith Hackitt CBE described The Ceramic Industry Health and Safety Pledge as a “first class initiative”.

Organised by the British Ceramic Confederation, the Pledge is a three-way collaboration between the industry, the HSE and trade unions.

It was launched as a direct response to the then Government’s challenge in the late 1980s to the ceramics industry as a whole to ‘revitalise’ its health and safety performance.

Hackitt made the comments in a keynote address to the Health and Safety Pledge conference – where companies and organisations involved in the programme join forces annually to share best practice and keep the momentum going year-on-year.

She commented: “Since the start of the Ceramic Industry Health and Safety Pledge 15 years ago, there has been a 75% reduction in injuries.

“This is a first-class initiative, which is in place across the whole sector and not just in individual companies.”

At the conference – held at the Moat House Hotel in Stoke-on-Trent – examples of outstanding practice, which all contribute to the Pledge’s success, were celebrated with the presentation of a series of awards.

Companies to receive accolades included:

  • Carlton Brick Ltd
  • Ibstock Brick Ltd
  • Ideal Standard (UK) Ltd
  • Michelmersh Brick Holdings PLC
  • Vesuvius UK Ltd
  • Wavin
  • Wienerberger Ltd
  • Churchill China (UK) Ltd
  • Portmeirion Group UK
  • Steelite International PLC

Hackitt was also presented with a Royal Crown Derby bowl by the Ceramic Industry Health and Safety Pledge to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Health and Safety Executive.

She in turn presented Francis Morrall, retiring deputy chief executive of the British Ceramic Confederation, with the Josiah Wedgwood Award for his pioneering work in health and safety.

Morrall, who joined the British Ceramic Confederation in the 1980s, received a standing ovation from the audience.

In the course of his career, he has been instrumental in forging links with the trade unions and the HSE to create a safer industry and instigated The Ceramic Industry Health and Safety Pledge.

As well as the awards ceremony, delegates also listened to high profile guest speakers including bomb disposal expert, Major Chris Hunter QGM.

Morrall said: “Each year the Pledge conference goes from strength to strength.

“It’s a time to share ideas and remind ourselves of the great responsibility we have as employers to keep people safe and secure.”