EDF Energy, based at Doxford International Business Park, Sunderland, took part in the companywide Zero Harm Week, a week long programme of activities designed by the company to highlight the importance of health and safety among its 1,600 staff, which also included safety awareness sessions from Northumbria Police.

The centrepiece of the week was a special workshop presented by PC Jami Blythe, which focussed on road safety, including the consequences of driving whilst distracted, tired or under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Those who attended the sessions were encouraged to create their own work-based campaigns to raise awareness of safe driving, the best of which are set to be implemented at the Doxford site.

The campaigns designed by staff included creating educational videos detailing the possible consequences of driving while tired, awareness stickers for cars and regular energising talks and exercises, designed to improve alertness.

The visit from PC Blythe is part of Operation Dragoon, a campaign by Northumbria Police, The North East Ambulance Service, Northumberland Fire and Rescue and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Services to improve road safety and to reduce the number of road offences and fatal and non-fatal accidents on North East roads.

Alan Bullock, Health and Safety Practitioner, based at Doxford Park, oversaw the week’s activities across all of EDF Energy’s UK office-based sites. He said: “Many of our employees drive to work, so we wanted to make road safety a key part of Zero Harm Week 2016 across the business.  We want to ensure that all our staff are well educated on the safety risks when travelling to and from our sites and know how to reduce the risk of an accident on the road.

“We hope that the information we pass on to our employees will also be filtered through the community to their families and friends, spreading the word on safety.”

PC Jami Blythe said: “Education is a key element of Operation Dragoon. We have worked hard to develop this strand over the last two years and working in partnership with EDF Energy is an exciting opportunity to make links with industry.

“By encouraging employees to create and take ownership of their own campaigns, we can provide advice to ensure these are focussed on the areas they are most at risk from. There were some fantastic, creative ideas and I look forward to coming back to see how these have come to life.”

As part of Zero Harm Week, EDF Energy staff were also encouraged to take part in online webinars, which supported the message of staying safe outside of work. The Doxford staff also learnt about the importance of long term health benefits, including staying both physically and mentally active and maintaining a healthy and balanced diet.

Zero Harm Week was part of an ongoing programme of initiatives by the company that also includes special fit clubs and encouraging health and wellbeing for its employees.

The week of activities was also supported by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.