Initiatives in the field

Learning from mistakes

In May 2007, an employee was cleaning a bitumen sprayer with a bitumen removing chemical product. The site is equipped with an oil separator which stops hydrocarbons from the storm water, but it could not stop the cleaner itself and the contamined runoff reached the nearby river throught the stormwater sewer. This incident brought to light a weakness in the drainage system. Corrective measures were immediately applied, with an additional separator and cutoff valve placed at each strategic point in the network. In addition to these technical steps, an awareness campaign was organized for all personnel, information panels were installed in various parts of the depot and the experience was described in the subsidiary’s in-house magazine.

Since then, there has been genuine awareness of the issue, and an improvement process has been started. The depot manager and workshop foreman are involved in setting up a plan of action and follow-up, which has already translated into improvements in the tank systems, refurbishment of locker rooms, installation of a bitumen remover pump… not to mention overal site cleanliness.

This is good thinking: turning a mishap into the opportunity of illustrating progress for all. It is very much in the spirit of the ISO 14001 standard: you can only improve by recognizing your mistakes and acknowledging room for improvement. Others please copy!

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