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Harnessing our skills and passion to improve safety

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Alan Cumming at NDA Group Safety Event

This is my first NDA blog and what better place to start than the NDA’s first-ever Group Safety and Wellbeing event at Energus in Workington?

Around 200 colleagues from the length and breadth of the UK met to talk about safety issues that affect us all and to reflect on the results of the recent Group Safety Survey, why all this matters and how we’ll move forward.

The event was an excellent opportunity to understand our current position on safety performance and safety culture, then to agree how we will move forward as a group.

Group-wide vision for safety

I have a ‘Group-wide’ vision which is important to me for several reasons:

  • I want the leaders of our organisations to live our values and lead by example
  • we must seek out and implement learning and best practice in our workforce - we have a wealth of skills, talent and passion which we must harness
  • we need to encourage the NDA Group to become a learning organisation ... so an idea conceived in Dounreay can easily be implemented at Dungeness
Alan Cumming and colleagues at NDA Group Safety Event

Practically speaking, I'm extremely keen on harnessing the potential of technology to move people away from the risk. We've seen a wonderful example of this with the approach to using drones at Dounreay. This is changing the way we work and pioneering new ways of using this technology on a nuclear site.

I'm sure, like me, many of you tuned in to Channel Four a few Sundays ago  to watch Tony Robinson's Hidden Britain by Drone to see how these small devices can carry out detailed inspections of external structures, saving the workforce from the time-consuming, risky procedures needed to work at height on elevated platforms or scaffolding.

Group Safety Survey

During the day, we also went through the results of the recent Group Safety Survey and heard how people working across the NDA Group take safety extremely seriously - which comes as no surprise to me. Organisational procedure and near-miss reporting was, however, flagged as an area for improvement and I will be focusing on what we can do to address this.

We always aim to get better, especially in the area of safety, and there's still lots we can do to improve. Going back to developing as a learning organisation, the NDA Group is not short of ideas, energy and passion. My job now is to help harness that. Personally, I will be working with the Health and Safety leaders to identify our next steps towards continuous improvement.

My goal will always be for everyone working across all our sites to go home safely at the end of every working day.

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