Safety First at Boulby and New Production Record

Polyhalite-based fertilisers being loaded at Tees Dock

Polyhalite-based fertilisers being loaded at Tees Dock

The head of ICL Boulby has praised the ‘remarkable commitment and pride’ shown by the entire workforce in maintaining steady production—and indeed setting a new daily record—through the Coronavirus crisis.


Andrew Fulton, General Manager and Vice President at Boulby—the world’s first and only producer of the multi-nutrient mineral polyhalite—says that they are succeeding in contributing to the need to maintain food production at the same time as developing a comprehensive programme of measures to protect staff.


He explains “As a major producer of fertiliser products for the agriculture sector, we are recognised as an essential business and the nature of our operations means that it is vital that we take measures to protect the integrity of the mine, such as the need to pump around a million gallons of brine each day.


“In developing our ‘Barriers of Control’  in response to the Government’s guidance we have  used our long-standing experience in risk management and assessment as well as fully consulting with experts, medical practitioners and a cross section of our workforce, particularly site safety representatives.


Measures we have introduced include:


  • Amending shift patterns to reduce the numbers using, at any one time, the shaft, meeting areas and facilities at the start and finish of shifts.


  • Adding to PPE with the provision of masks and medical standard gloves, we are enhancing the cleaning and disinfecting of all working areas this is done every hour. We have a 24hr staffed and equipped medical facility on site.


  • Enabling as many staff as possible to work from home.


  • Ensuring strict controls on access arrangements, including temperature checking for all those coming on site. Drivers of delivery vehicles are required to stay in their vehicles whilst our staff undertake unloading and loading.


  • The provision of all PPE has been expanded to include the erection of Perspex safety barriers within the gatehouse. We have also created a one-way entry system within the gatehouse to maximise the safety of employees and visitors.


“There is a strong sense of pride that, at the same time as introducing this comprehensive programme of safety measures to meet the challenges of the pandemic, we are delivering rising performance across the site—including setting a new daily total for processing polyhalite.


“Throughout this highly-challenging and rapidly-changing situation collaboration is the key, engaging and empowering staff to be involved in managing the risk of infection.  We will continue to review how we can safeguard the interests of our staff and families at the same time as helping to meet the nation’s current needs and securing the company’s immediate and long-term future.”