Safety training can save lives

Cemex Deutschland AG’s first “Safety Day – ­Logistics” was held in a safety center in Hanover, Germany, on 09.09.2014. Cemex is one of Germany’s largest building materials producers and users of building materials transportation services, employing more than 2500 persons throughout Germany in its cement and concrete production divisions. Partner companies are largely responsible for Cemex’s logistics in the fields of ready-mixed concrete, cement and mineral resources. Andreas Rotermund, Vice President Commercial & Logistics, welcomed the around 150 participants from logistics and other specialist companies, and then introduced the morning’s series of papers, while Michael Schulte provided brief portraits of the exhibiting partner companies, who spotlighted their capabilities on information and campaign stands.

Cemex Deutschland AG chairman Eric W­ittmann set the theme: “Industrial safety has top priority around the globe at Cemex, and is one of our core targets. We apply great determination within the company to attaining these aims, and we expect equally great commitment from our partners.” The company´s safety philosophy covers the entire production chain, from the quarry to shipment, he continued. This Safety Day was intended to emphasize everybody´s expectations, because: “Our ultimate target is ‘zero accidents’!”, Wittman concluded.

Camillo Hündgen, Director Health & Safety at Cemex Deutschland AG, gave a moving account of a fateful day in the life of one employee who, despite daily routine inspections and knowledge of the risks, regrettably lost his forearm on a machine which had not completely stopped moving. Even today, in times of intense cost pressures and competition, there is still the paramount need for unceasing and mutual vigilance by all colleagues, and mutual concern for each other’s safety: “It is not belittling for me when my colleagues remind me yet again about the dangers! Every company is responsible for all its employees, and dependent on its employees for this!”

Dr. Frank Gerkau, a judge presiding at the Bochum Local Court recounted, among other things, some of the consequences for employees or senior management if they fail to meet their obligations and duty of care adequately. In his example, he told the sad story of how even the managing director of a freight company was guilty of contributory negligence after his employees actually aided and abetted their overtired and medicated colleague in loading his truck one morning, instead of taking action to prevent him driving this trip, during which he subsequently caused a tragic accident.

The participants were thus familiarised with the company’s demanding global safety standards and were given insights into a range of projects through which Cemex is increasing even further its industrial and occupational safety performance in all fields.

Practical safety exercises followed on the outdoor track during the afternoon: comparison of braking distances from various speeds, a demonstration of the tip-over limit of an articulated goods vehicle, and simulation of a tyre blow-out on the hydraulic kick-plate. The visitors also saw for themselves the great safety-boosting effect of a so-called “mirror-adjustment lane”, providing a simple way of avoiding blind spots, while a demonstration illustrated the value of a safety jacket with an integrated safety harness while working at heights. A crash simulator (a so-called “seat-belt convincer”) and a rollover simulator showed the benefits of seat-belts, after which the operation of emergency brake assist was explained in practical terms.


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