I hope everyone had a restful break over the Christmas and New Year period. I’m sure most of us have needed some down time after 2020. It certainly was a year like no other with the huge challenge of Covid 19 touching every part of our lives.
- Aside from the physical health challenges Covid has presented there is also an enormous psychological toll. Many of us have felt the effects of Covid in a huge variety of ways: worry about our own and our family’s health, missing time with loved ones, restrictions on being able to undertake our normal hobbies and activities, worry about jobs and income, furlough, spending so much time at home trying to work with family life and home schooling going on around us, spending so much time at home alone, coping with new working arrangements, All these factors will have taken a toll and tested our mental health.
Through all of this I am immensely proud of how everyone rallied round to look out for each other and help each other cope with the mental health aspect whilst ensuring we continued to deliver our work on site. We further built our Mental Health First Aid team during this time, and they have supplied useful guides, hints and tips to better help us all through. As 2021 starts, and the vaccination programme for Covid has begun, I hope we can look forward with optimism that this coming year will become a little easier from that regard.
Throughout 2020 our Health and Safety performance has been strong and we succeeded in working for a whole year without a RIDDOR reportable injury to our staff and contractors. This is a significant achievement for a company as large as ours operating in the forestry sector. It proves that it can be done and I thank each and every one of you for playing your part. Nothing is more important than us all going home to our loved ones at the end of each and everyday. We know through bitter experience that achieving this result requires everything to go right on every site, every day, all day. One slip or poor decision can have catastrophic consequences. We will continue to work with all those in the industry, through FISA, to learn and improve. The article over the page gives some details on our safety and assurance performance.
Alongside health and safety we have worked hard to raise awareness of environmental protection good practice and responsibilities within forestry. Protecting and conserving biodiversity is part of our day-to-day activities in managing forests. We have consulted with environmental regulators and others across the industry to produce our own in-house Diffuse Pollution Training aimed at forestry contractors. This was launched in September. Tilhill collaborates with others on a Forest Industry Environment Group to share good practice on a breadth of subjects from protecting wildlife to reducing plastic waste. Last year we helped produce new guidance on Responsibilities on Environmental Protection within Forestry, to be published in the coming month. We have also worked with others to start a Forestry Plastic Group and trial alternatives to plastic for tree protection. We look forward to bringing you regular updates from this group and others over the coming year.
As you return to work, I Insist that you take some time to re-valuate your worksite, the risks on site, and your control measures. We must together ensure that the work we complete is to the correct specification, protects the environment and doesn’t cause injury and ill health.
We must INSIST ON SAFETY.