The Chair of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has used a visit to a Cheshire oil refinery to highlight a shining example of a proper approach to health and safety.

Judith Hackitt visited the Stanlow Oil Refinery in Ellesmere Port on Tuesday 31 January, where she met apprentices taking part in training to work in the chemical and oil industries.

She praised the work taking place at the refinery to train young apprentices, whose work will engage them in some tasks where health and safety really can be a matter of life or death.

Ms Hackitt, who herself worked in the chemical industry for more than 30 years, said:

“These industries show what real health and safety is about. You have to understand the risks involved in working on hazardous processes. Health and safety isn’t an add-on; it’s fundamental to the job.

“Teaching people the right way to do a job is what apprentice training is about – they learn how to do it safely and efficiently.

“All too often it’s the nonsense stories, such as health and safety stopping children playing with conkers or people having street parties, which get reported and health and safety gets a bad name.

“It’s great to see such a good example of integrated training which will ensure that these apprentices understand the risks they will face and how to do their job safely.

“Working in a major hazard environment is all about respecting the nature of the processes but getting on with the job.”

The Stanlow oil refinery is classified as a ‘top tier’ site under the Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations 1999, and was taken over by Essar Oil last year. Ms Hackitt visited the training centre at the site, following a trip to TTE Training Ltd in Ellesmere Port.

TTE was set up in 1990 in partnership with the refinery to provide training for the chemical, oil and other industries. It now offers three-year apprenticeship schemes for those interested in working in the sector.

Mike Brown, the Health, Safety and Environment Manager at Essar, said:

“Having competent people is a prerequisite for the safe operation of a top-tier site like Stanlow.

“The TTE apprenticeship scheme, which we are very proud of, contributes to this by developing young people to be ready to face the challenges of their new job.”

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