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MWH Treatment sends SHEQ Back to the Future!

After months of preparation and organisation, MWH Treatment finished its tour of SHEQ (Safety, Health, Environment and Quality) conferences after holding the fourth and final one in East Sussex. This year there was a slight twist on the way we went about the presentation of the conference having been designed to promote the future of SHEQ while comparing current practices to those of the past. Previous conferences might have taken an incredibly serious and lecturing point of view, but we took a new approach with a Back to the Future theme to inject energy into the day.

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SHEQ makes up an integral part of our industry and these conferences are putting an important spotlight on them. Starting in Carlisle, making a stop in the Heart of England for a double event and finally finishing in East Sussex, we made sure our message was heard right across the country! The conferences were all split into three sections; Past, Present and Future, with each telling a different aspect of SHEQ. To help portray this to the attendees there were acted scenes featuring the Back to the Future characters Doc Brown and Marty McFly.

Marty and Doc were travelling through time seeing the standards of SHEQ through the different periods. It was an effective way to frame the presentations and talks; combining humour, information and interactivity. The scenes gave an interesting depiction of the three decades allowing the attendees to ask questions to the actors in character as site staff. These characters had differing understandings of SHEQ standards based on their time period.

Led by some terrific actors and speakers the Back to the Future theme worked fantastically well making what could have been less engaging topics incredibly entertaining and informative. The back and forth between the construction workers from the 1980’s and the members of the audience was very effective in showing how far we’ve come with SHEQ.

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The conference facilitator would go round and interact with attendees, many of whom were working in the industry during the 80’s. There was an identification with the scenarios being played out with talk of the rarity of wearing a seat belt, having a beer at lunch or the lack of asbestos awareness in the past drawing laughs. The contrast with SHEQ in the two time periods was huge and the audience connected with the message, given that many had experienced both sides.

Videos demonstrating SHEQ disasters like the Deepwater Horizon and the Samsung phone recall depicted how any misstep minor or major could cause accidents and be harmful to workers or customers and clients. Additionally there was a video with interviews of employees from around the company asking them what SHEQ is and how much it effects their work and home lives. These videos helped to give added context and a personal perspective on SHEQ and again kept the day fresh by looking at SHEQ from different angles.


Finally a future SHEQ technology video preceded group brainstorming sessions on what other technologies could be used to improve SHEQ. There were several fantastic ideas (some more outlandish than others!) as everyone used what they seen throughout the conference to come up with even more ways that we can keep people safe, protect the environment and ensure quality. It was interesting to see the wide variety of places people think SHEQ could and should go.

Rolfe Nuttall, UK Waste to Energy Managing Director, said “The national SHEQ conferences have been fantastic events allowing us to demonstrate where we believe SHEQ is now, where it could be going and how far we have come. Thank you to everyone who made the journey to Carlisle, the Heart of England and East Sussex, and an extra special thank you as well to everyone involved in organising the events. You all helped make the conferences so successful.”

The SHEQ conferences were a huge success for MWH Treatment, with everyone engaging in the activity packed days and taking something important away from the presentations and demonstrations. Thank you to everyone who attended and organised, as well as the Dramanon actors for bringing SHEQ to life in such an imaginative way. We hope the conference was entertaining, informative and something different from the usual industry conference days.

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