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Safety at work

The TITAN Group safety performance in 2009 improved considerably compared to 2008. The primary goal of having no fatalities and serious incidents was achieved. The reported Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) of all direct employees’ activities of 2.64 versus 3.42 in 2008, marking a reduction of 23%. We benchmark our performance with industry peers to foster continuous improvement.

Safety performance, however, varies significantly across the regions where we operate, proving that local cultures, traditions and attitudes are significant factors in pursuing Group objectives. Last year Egypt and the US had a LTIFR of 0.66 and 1.7 respectively, whereas LTIFR in South East European operations ranged from 1.3 to 8.5. The safety leadership and training programs conducted by world-class safety experts in South East Europe has started making a positive impact on safety performance as evidenced in the considerable reduction of LTIFR in FYROM from 9.83 in 2008 to 1.3 in 2009.

Responsibility of steering the Group to achieve its goals lies with the Group Health and Safety Council that meets quarterly and is chaired by the TITAN Group Managing Director. All fatalities and serious incidents are presented and analyzed to ensure proper investigation of the root causes, but more importantly to focus on lessons learnt and disseminate them to all locations in order to prevent reoccurrence.

Health and Safety is clearly a line responsibility, effectively cascading from the regional directors to the shop floor of all operations. The Group safety director, the regional safety directors and safety officers at every major Group site provide support to the line management on occupational health and safety matters.

Training at all hierarchical levels of the Group, for direct and indirect employees is essential to ensure a safe accident-free working environment. This commitment is reflected in last year’s safety training record 66,900 hours or 12 hours/direct employee versus 58,400 hours or 10.2 hours/direct employees in 2008, an increase of 18%.

Incident investigations underscore the vital importance of leadership commitment to safety, leading by example, and the need for exhaustive and rigorous risk assessment of non routine tasks. Equally important is the permanent alertness needed to prevent accidents.

Efforts to report and investigate incidents that might have led to a lost-time injury (near misses) have been intensified while necessary corrective actions are taken for each case. The 600 near misses reported for our activities across all regions is unsatisfactory. A quantitative and qualitative near-miss reporting mechanism is established to address this issue.

Contractor safety management remains a major challenge. Clearly we must insist on changing attitudes in accident prevention. Last year the Cement Sustainability Initiative issued guidelines and recommendations on managing contractor safety and on road safety (Driving Safely) based on members’ best practices. The guidelines adopted by all members will start being implemented in 2010. Still, certain recommendations have already been integrated as a standard process for TITAN contractor management, such as training the contractors prior to commencing their task.

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Construction of a new production line in Beni Suef, Egypt

The construction of a second production line started in TITAN’s cement plant located close to the city of Beni Suef, Egypt started in January 2008.

During construction the main challenge was the implementation of high safety standards by all parties involved while the cement plant continued to operate.

The turnkey contractor was the French company Fives FCB in cooperation with a number of local subcontractors. More than 1,000 people were working on a daily basis for the bigger part of the construction time.

The project was completed on time and the new line started production in the fourth quarter of 2009. It is remarkable that a total of 6.5 million working hours were accomplished without Lost-Time Injury.

To achieve this goal, as main factors contributed are considered the following:

  • An effective TITAN safety organization ensuring continuous monitoring and maintaining direct control of high risk activity permits, safety meetings, safety rewards and consequences.
  • Clear and rigorous safety standards, regulations and requirements included in the contract signed between TITAN and contractors.
  • Continuous monitoring and assessment by a multi-disciplinary management team comprised of TITAN Group and local experts. 
  • Delegation of a third party safety consultant to support the project in the field by: Training, Auditing the Safety Management System, developing a Permit to Work System and conducting monthly field tours. 
  • On-going communication of performance achieved and sharing of lessons learnt from any incident or near miss.

Improving contractors’ crew safety management

Safety Pass, a new initiative whereby all the employees of a contractor are issued with a card entry (ID card) was successfully piloted and instituted in 2009 for all cement plants in Greece. This ID certifies that the employee holding the card possesses all the necessary documents and required professional licenses, and has completed a full safety training course.

Important changes were also implemented in the contractor evaluation procedure. Now the evaluation commences prior to a contractors’ participation in tender invitations for company projects. As a result of this evaluation, a list of selected contractors is compiled for projects involving a high level of risk (e.g. supply of lift services by using cranes, scaffolding erection). The evaluation of contractors also includes spot audits, which are conducted regularly and the contractor’s overall performance rated upon the completion of the project.

Last year Personal Safety Gear was distributed to more than 800 self-employed drivers co-operating with TITAN in Greece, which exceed 800 in number. This initiative is fully funded by TITAN and proper use of this gear will be monitored through regular spot-checks.