Xmo Strata Newsletter – March 2015

Xmo Strata Newsletter – March 2015

Safety Week

The company’s annual safety event this year was such a radical departure from the norm that we have produced a Special Feature on the subject, along with scores of photographs, which you can see here.

Drug testing

Employees have all been given a periodical reminder that the company undertakes random drug tests and that seven such tests were undertaken last year (the results are always confidential).

The risks of injury increase markedly when under the influence of drink or drugs and employees were told not to work after a heavy drinking session and to intervene if they suspect anyone else of working under the influence.

500th Version of XmoMan

Xmo Strata has always been a data driven company which relies on systems and technology to assist employees in their work.

Central to this is the XmoMan management information system which incorporates asset management, stock, estimating, job costing, trend analysis, project management, value creation, safety and environmental management modules.

The system was created from scratch and is entirely owned by Xmo Strata – it isn’t even based on an off-the-shelf project management system and is designed specifically for the company’s role and business model.

There have been multiple program changes since the system was first introduced and since 2008 the changes have been formally logged – and there’ve been 1,703 of them since that date.   500 different versions of XmoMan have now been uploaded to the company’s computer system.

“There’s no point in investing in a technology-based solution and then not devoting the resources to ensure that it is kept absolutely up to date,” said Managing Director Steve Martin.  “XmoMan is a critical tool for us, central to so much of what we do, and vital in delivering value for customers.  It will always be subject to continuous improvement.”

William Hill Falling Sign: Inquest Verdict

During the company’s Safety Week the inquest verdict was delivered into the death of Jacob Marx.  The 27 year old lawyer died when he was hit by a falling William Hill sign.

The inquest heard extensive evidence which Managing Director Steve Martin described as “logically unsustainable” and it was discussed extensively by delegates to the Safety Week events.

There is a full report on the hearing at this link: http://www.9goughsquare.co.uk/news/911

See also the Car wash fascias story elsewhere in this newsletter.

Woman Dies in Blackpool Sign Fall

A woman was killed in January under a falling shop sign in Blackpool (see this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-30788666).  Details of the story were shared with all employees.

Xmo Strata executives took the opportunity to remind staff about the wider issues relating to secure fixing of signs and weather related problems.  Employees were also reminded that the video vault – and Xmo Strata’s YouTube channel – contains a short film on Last Minute Risk Assessments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47_Yw8iSlWs

Gloved-up

Employees have been reminded of the importance of using the correct protective gloves for their work.  A recent safety bulletinBulletins highlight issues that will be experienced throughout the industry, and prove a useful tool to encourage the raising of standards and awareness of health and safety issues industry wide. (which can be seen on the website) showed pictorial evidence of the consequences of using the wrong gloves.

The minimum rating requirement for gloves under the company’s JSA is EN388; the most commonly used is glove rating 4543, which is satisfactory for most tasks – but some work may require gloves of a different rating.

The subject has been discussed extensively at previous safety days, with presentations from glove manufacturers, but employees who’d like a quick refresher on the main points should view the bulletinBulletins highlight issues that will be experienced throughout the industry, and prove a useful tool to encourage the raising of standards and awareness of health and safety issues industry wide. on the website.

Safety bulletinsBulletins highlight issues that will be experienced throughout the industry, and prove a useful tool to encourage the raising of standards and awareness of health and safety issues industry wide.

On the subject of safety bulletinsBulletins highlight issues that will be experienced throughout the industry, and prove a useful tool to encourage the raising of standards and awareness of health and safety issues industry wide., recent bulletinsBulletins highlight issues that will be experienced throughout the industry, and prove a useful tool to encourage the raising of standards and awareness of health and safety issues industry wide. (all on the website) have addressed topics as diverse as wind speed and risk assessments, seasonal driving, electric shocks, line of fire injuries, LOTOLock Out Tag Out - Isolation of Energy Sources. and Mechanical LOTOLock Out Tag Out - Isolation of Energy Sources..

The company has posted safety bulletinsBulletins highlight issues that will be experienced throughout the industry, and prove a useful tool to encourage the raising of standards and awareness of health and safety issues industry wide. for years and they are accessible to anyone visiting the website.

“Many of the bulletinsBulletins highlight issues that will be experienced throughout the industry, and prove a useful tool to encourage the raising of standards and awareness of health and safety issues industry wide. are about lessons which we have learned the hard way, and we post them to help ensure that those who read them don’t make the same mistakes and are safer as a result,” said Managing Director Steve Martin.

Recycling milestone

The company has traceably recycled over 1,000 tonnes of waste (a milestone reached in January).

10 Things that can kill you … or someone else!

Managing Director Steve Martin has published an article on the website for sign installers listing the ten things which in his view are most likely to kill or injure them … or someone else.   The article can be accessed here.

Car wash fascias

One of the things that kill or injure easily (see the story above) is falling car wash signs or fascias, some of which are fixed to plywood, which is in turn fixed to the wall.  Car washes are by definition wet environments and plywood rots easily, with the highly probable result that anything fixed to it becomes unstable.

Xmo Strata has direct experience of being called-on to solve such problems, and always recommends that fascias are fixed directly to a wall whenever that is possible.

It isn’t just car wash fascias which are vulnerable to this failing, though – it was a factor in the death of lawyer Jacob Marx (see William Hill falling sign:  inquest verdict) elsewhere in this newsletter.

Value report details £58,000 saved

Xmo Strata focuses hard on delivering addition value to customers to the extent that the Xmo team are required to report on those occasions where they have solved problems, prevented issues arising, and provided solutions, usually at no additional cost.

In March, one customer was advised that 169 additional value items had been reported by crews, amounting to a total saving of more than £58,000.  Every one of the savings was reported to the company.  They ranged in scope from the very simple – cleaning up a spill which wasn’t of the crew’s making – to the more complex, including the fact that crew vans with mounts eliminated the need for a hired-in cherry picker on some jobs.

“We are very fair in our costings and don’t seek to pull the wool over customers’ eyes by giving ultra low quotes then adding ‘extras’ at a later date,” said Managing Director Steve Martin.  “But we’re extremely focused on delivering real customer value, and to tot up £58,000 of savings on a contract is quite an achievement.”

The customer – quite understandably – regards the information as commercially sensitive and can’t be named, but the crews involved have all received congratulations.

Adieu, John

By Managing Director Steve Martin

On February 25, John Mitchell, one of our long-serving, valued employees, lost his battle with cancer.

We knew he was extremely ill, and in that sense it was not a surprise; but it’s always deeply shocking and distressing to lose a colleague in this way and John had been with us for a long time.

The news of his passing came through during our one of the sessions at our Safety Week in North Weald and was announced immediately to those present.

John attended many such days over the years, always bringing his own sense of humour to such occasions.

I thought everyone might appreciate reading some of the comments which came in from senior-level customer figures when the news became known.

Some knew him quite well, others had simply met him on occasions, but collectively these comments, from some of the most prominent members of our industry, speak volumes.

  • Tom Finnegan,of Dakin SS Contractors Limited: “Sad news indeed.  I had a lot of time for John and found him to be a true Gentleman.   We always found time for a chat on site and I respected and valued his opinions on working practices and safety.  Please pass on our deepest sympathies to John’s family, whilst not forgetting the loss that you and your team will be experiencing.  I will most certainly pass on the news to our teams, who, I am sure, will join us in thinking of his family at this time.”
  • Daniel Nolan, a Director of Toureen Group: “Thanks for letting us know.  He was such a nice man.  I will let our site teams know.”
  • Adrian Roberts, M&R Coordinator, Fuels Marketing Retail Asset Management, Esso: “I recall seeing John.  Very sad.  My deepest condolences.”
  • Paul Suchodolski, Health and Safety Compliance Manager, Snax 24 Ltd: “Thanks for letting me know.  My deepest sympathies to John’s family, friends, and colleagues at this very sad time. I am sure he will be sadly missed by everyone who had the good fortune to know him.  Deepest Sympathy.”
  • Matt Daglish, Contracts Manager, AJ Bayliss: “That’s awful news. I had the pleasure to meet John on a number of sites over the years. He was always a pleasure to have around.  Everyone within AJ Bayliss would like to pass our condolences to John’s family and friends.”
  • Andrew Myers, Senior Project ManagerPerson responsible for the project. with Artelia UK, asked for his condolences to be passed on to family and colleagues.
  • Sean Pointon, Local Business Unit Manager, UK Full Service, Quant Service: “John’s passing is extremely sad news.”
  • Martin Rackley, HSSEHealth, Safety, Security and Environment. This describes the code, policies and standards that the industry must follow to maintain health and safety on the job and for the environment. Advisor, UK FVC, BP Oil UK Limited: “I am very sorry to hear of John’s passing. I had the pleasure of meeting him on several sites and at your company safety days. Please pass on my condolences to his family.”

John’s funeral is at Medway Crematorium on Monday 23rd March .    On behalf of all colleagues the company has, of course, expressed its own condolences to his wife (Marilyn) and son (Steve) who is also an Xmo Strata employee.

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