British Sugar 

Members of the team at Westcotec are pleased to bring you the latest in the ongoing series of stories behind their signs. The latest ‘Sign of the Times’ brings us to the Norfolk Broads and the village of Cantley, where we have assisted British Sugar in promoting safety while co-product collections are taking place.

What’s the background

Westcotec’s current relationship with British Sugar goes back to 2013, when the first installation of a site safety sign took place. However, the first order by British Sugar was a ‘No Entry’ sign in 2004 – one of the very first signs ever made by Westcotec.

About the location

Members of the safety team at British Sugar were keen to ensure that safety was prioritised on the site at Cantley. It’s one of four sites where sugar beet in pulp form is unloaded and refined sugar collected. Frequent chemical deliveries and co-product collections are also necessary as part of a busy seasonal operation involving up to 800 heavy vehicle movements every day, including delivery of the raw sugar beet.

Lots of heavy plant operates on the site, with big shovels working round the site and frequent staff movement. At Cantley, employees park on site, as there is no space for a dedicated off-site car park. This is due to having the Norfolk Broads on one side and railways lines on the other.

The delivery and collection process

Once processed, the remaining sugar beet pulp is converted for use as animal feed, which can be dried as pellets or left as a pulp for use in digestors. This operation requires large numbers of lorries working in a small area, with a shovel to load into the lorries.

A risk was identified because the shovel driver was reporting uncertainty as to whether vehicles were waiting to be loaded. To compound the risk, lorry drivers were getting out of their cabs and walking in the manoeuvring area to find out why

there was a loading delay. Although no incidents were reported, it was not ideal from a safety point of view, and there were a few ‘near misses’ It was decided that a safety sign would eliminate the temptation for drivers to leave their cabs and generally minimise risk for everyone at the busy site.


About the sign

Westcotec worked with British Sugar’s Site Safety Manager Paul Harvey in 2013 to create a bespoke sign with the simple message: “Stop, wait here until called forward.” It works via a sensor in the shovel that activates when a lorry turns up. When ready, the shovel operator can activate a green light which indicates that the lorry driver can proceed.

Paul reports that apart from one minor issue at the time of installation, the sign has done exactly what it should do with no issues. “There was a slight problem at the time of installation, but Westcotec engineers were back on site straight away. They correctly identified that the radar needed raising slightly. Once this was done, the sign worked perfectly and has continued to do so ever since,” he said.

“The sign is located in a challenging environment, where it can get pretty steamy. But all the fittings have lasted well. “We have an excellent relationship with

Westcotec and we value the way they have taken the time and trouble to understand the specific issues we faced at Cantley.”

The Westcotec overview

Olly Samways, Westcotec’s Sales Director said: “We value our relationship with

British Sugar and we were pleased to collaborate with them on a simple yet innovative sign installation that has helped reduce risk at their busy Cantley site.

“We can now confirm that we have completed development of a sign system that eliminates the need for a banks person being in the middle of the manoeuvring area, leading to further reductions in risk.

“This new sign will display a red ‘Stop, wait in cab’ message when a vehicle is detected. Once a manual input has been made with the loading bay, a white ‘Proceed’ message displays together with the programmed bay number, instructing arriving lorry drivers to proceed to one of 40 loading bays on the site. “We are confident that this latest sign will prove just as successful, and we are looking to provide signage for similar installations at British Sugar sites all over the country.”

To find out more about our projects please contact us.

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