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Aviation industry unites with nuclear clean-up on safety

November 29, 2011

Safety officials from both sites pictured at Dounreay

Workers taking apart one of Britain’s most hazardous installations are swapping their knowledge of safety with workers putting together parts for the world’s most modern airliners.

The exchange between the redundant nuclear site a Dounreay and the Spirit Aerosystems fabrication facility at Prestwick brings together safety teams at two of Scotland’s biggest workplaces.

They are learning how each other works to reduce the risk of accidents and taking the best aspects of each back to their own sites.

Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd employs just under 900 workers on the demolition of the experimental nuclear site and manages contractors employing a similar number.

Spirit Aerosystems employs 900 people at Prestwick on the manufacture of wings for the Airbus and Boeing range of airliners.

The exchange came about after trade union safety reps from both sites met at a STUC awards ceremony.

Safety staff from Dounreay travelled to Prestwick for a first-hand look at how Spirit manages safety at Prestwick.

Their counterparts made a reciprocal visit to Dounreay this month to see how safety is integral to the site clean-up up.

The Dounreay visit focused on the site’s reporting culture and the training given to every work to challenge activities they think might be unsafe, as well as the rigorous security climate in and around the site.

John Deighan, a TU safety rep with the Unite union at Dounreay, said: “Every site will do things differently but we all have one thing in common – the protection of people from harm during the course of their work. Visits like this allow us to learn from the best bits of each site and ultimately make them safer places to work.

“The things that impressed us most about Aerosystems was the seamless way their in-house training packages are delivered and their consultative arrangements.”

John Dick, senior safety rep at Spirit Aerosystems, said their visit inspired ideas that could be replicated at each workplace.

"Sharing best practice and ideas can only help in continually improving working conditions for the members we represent."

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