At any EMR site, the number one priority of the business is to ensure the safety of its employees, customers and that of nearby communities.
In order to maintain the highest standards possible, EMR relies on the tireless support and guidance of its Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) team.
Among the dedicated and experienced members of EMR’s SHE Team, is Nicola Holcroft, Regional SHE Specialist – who can be found in the North West Region.
So, what’s the secret to ensuring that a fast-moving operation like EMR remains focused on safety at all times? Nicola feels that being able to relate to other employees is an important factor.
“When it comes to issues like Health and Safety, you need employees to believe in what you are advising, this takes a level of trust. If people know the SHE team is there to support them, we can make sure that EMR sites, and our teams, are as safe as possible.”
For Nicola, a big part of building a rapport and earning the trust of her colleagues has been gaining experience across a number of different activities.
“I need to understand operations from a practical point of view, so over the years I have undertaken practical training alongside the teams to give my advice more credence”.
In the 17 years since she joined the company, Nicola says EMR has worked hard to become a world leader for health and safety in the recycling industry:
“I started my EMR journey as a Health and Safety Coordinator. I’d previously worked in the water industry, and it was a real gear change due to the different risks involved in the metal recycling industry.
“Since the start of my EMR career I have had the privilege to work alongside many very capable people and have worked hard to help put in the foundations of a number of key initiatives to make our workplace safer for all who are part of it”.
One example is the arrival of the Stop Work Authority programme, which empowers team members at all levels to stop operations if they feel something is unsafe.
“Stop Work Authority is probably the most pivotal initiative we have implemented as this gives each person the confidence to be heard if they think something is unsafe. Our Chief Executive, Chris Sheppard and his management team gave the initiative their full backing. This makes a real difference – if you feel something is unsafe, he will support you.”
A current project for Nicola and her team is gaining ISO certification across EMR’s UK sites – with a goal for every site to meet the standard during 2022.
“An ISO system provides the structure for our systems to be audited against. This is an approach I have believed in for a very long time. In the past we’ve relied on a heavily paper-based management system and it has been a struggle from a SHE point of view, but continual improvement on these systems will give us better structure.
“I’m a big believer in using technology. We’re now building a set of systems that all personnel will be able to access via their phones, helping to widen the knowledge base. It makes sense for us to reach our colleagues on a device they’re using anyway and is a great way of providing advice, capturing best practice and recording risk assessments”.
More recently, environmental protection and sustainability awareness has also become part of Nicola’s role. Here too, it’s her personal skills which she sees as being vital for success:
“EMR is really keen to be a good neighbour and it’s something we work hard at. There’s always something we can do.”
As every EMR site continues to invest in safety, health and environmental practices to protect its employees, customers and neighbours, Nicola and the SHE team continue to remain committed to assisting in any way possible.