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October 31, 2021

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operational safety

Ibstock Concrete invests in UK manufacturing facilities to improve operational safety

Ibstock Concrete is investing in its UK manufacturing facilities to improve the safety and efficiency of its operations, by undertaking upgrades to its engineering practices.

Following extensive employee feedback, the concrete manufacturer has made upgrades to the manufacturing processes at its Bedford and Northwich sites, which manufacture a portfolio of landscaping, flooring, building, rail and infrastructure products for its Supreme Concrete and Anderton Concrete brands.

Following an in depth review of the existing casting process, which involved filling moulds with concrete and applying vibration at 55Hz to remove any air voids, a three stage visual indicator and three level vibration system has been installed.

This process reduces the associated risks of high levels of potential exposure to vibration, by providing individuals with real time information on the level of vibration the manufacturing equipment is currently operating at.

Even on the highest setting, a vibration survey has evidenced the potential exposure limit as low as 2.7 m/s2 A(8), whilst on the lowest setting, the potential exposure is as low as low as 0.5m/s2 A(8), both of which are below the HSE’s Daily Action Limits.

A plan is now in place to phase in the technology across all Supreme Concrete and Anderton Concrete manufacturing sites where vibrating tables operate.

As part of this programme of investment, Ibstock Concrete has also reviewed its slotted post casting process at its Bedford facility. Following extensive employee consultation, reducing the frequency of manual handling required was identified as a key priority, to ensure the consistent safety of all operatives, without affecting the overall manufacturing process.

As a result, a central element of the production process has been automated through the installation of a dedicated rebate lifter, which mechanically lift the rebate from the cast product.

This eliminates the operator having to physically lift the rebates from the mould, substantially reducing the level of manual handling required by the operator.

This technology is now being implemented across all relevant Ibstock Concrete manufacturing sites throughout the UK, providing a safer working environment for employees by considerably reducing manual handling with the aid of mechanical means and in accordance with the HSE’s Manual Handling Operations Regulations.

Darren Waters, Managing Director of Ibstock Concrete, said: “As a company at the heart of building, Ibstock Concrete is committed to consistently ensuring the highest standards of safety by continuously improving our Health and Safety culture, which is built upon a zero harm philosophy.

“By working in collaboration with our employees, we have been able to effectively upgrade our operations to ensure potential risk is reduced, without impacting operational proficiencies or product quality.”

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