health_frontDP Fuel Tank Services is celebrating its 48th year with an unrivalled safety record, during which time it has had only two reportable accidents.

Says DP FTS director Nigel Plumb: “Health and safety is at the heart of everything we do and the first thing any of our staff thinks about the minute they set foot on a site.  Operating in an intrinsically dangerous environment, health and safety is not only our highest priority, but something that is second nature to all our operatives.”

Virtually all the locations on which DP Fuel Tank Services works are inherently dangerous. Hazards include: open excavations, current fuel storage tanks that have to be drained and degassed for cleaning, disused tanks that contain a potentially explosive mix, heavy machinery operating in close proximity to personnel, numerous trip hazards, working in confined spaces and the fuel itself. To tackle this, the company has taken a multi pronged approach.

Internally DP FTS provides the highest level of training for all operatives and ensure it is updated as appropriate. All staff are fully trained and qualified in the skills and best practices relevant to their functions.

Full risk assessments and safe ways of working are set out for every procedure. Full safety equipment is used/worn at all times.

At the start of every day the site supervisor delivers a site safety and toolbox talk to everyone who will be working on the site that day.

DP FTS has also implemented a Loss Prevention System (LPS) developed in the US, which puts equal emphasis on actual incidents and ‘near loss’ incidents; situations which could have led to loss or injury.

The company has also introduced ‘Hazard Spotting’, where staff look at a site or situation before work starts, to spot and correct potential problems before they become incidents. The system also involves a ‘peer on peer’ review, where the actual procedure being carried out by one person is checked against its good practice specification by another.

All method statements are always adhered to. If changes are deemed necessary by the site supervisor, they have to be authorised by head office.

All operatives have voluntarily adopted a ‘brother’s keeper’ policy, where anyone can challenge anyone on whether what they are doing is safe, without this being considered criticism. They all believe in the doctrine, “if it’s not safe, don’t do it”.

Traffic plans are instigated for each site, with pedestrians and vehicles kept separate. All excavations are fully fenced, even when they are being worked on. A banksman stays outside for emergencies and to watch for developing dangers. Through these and other efforts DP FTS has achieved Safe Contractor accreditation.

This level of priority is not only a function of caring about the safety of its own personnel, but also its desire to raise the standards of the whole industry. To this end it has endeavoured to lead by example.