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Jimmy Brownlie Rest in Peace

Last Saturday Jimmy Brownlie (in the far left of the photo), a CEMEX employee, tragically lost his life as a result of a workplace injury at our West Calder Block Plant.

Jesus Gonzalez, CEMEX UK President, has reflected on the impact of this awful incident and wanted to share his thoughts with you.

He has recorded a short 15 minute video that he asks you to watch and discuss with your teams today.

Below is a summary of the video.  Please work together to make sure that we all go home safely to our families and we never have another incident like this one again.

Jesus: “Last September in another video I gave you a message that we were on a bad trend and we needed to improve.  You can see that this hasn’t happened and the trend is getting worse.  So far this year we have had 33 TRIs on a rolling 12 month basis, with 14 LTIs in the last 12 months.  The yellow line shows the evolution of our LTI frequency rate compared to number of hours we are working and you can see it is getting worse.

We have not been able to stop this wave of accidents.  We need to improve.  It’s not just focused in one business, our incidents are happening across all of our businesses.

The outcome that is the most difficult one to face is a fatality.

So far this year we have had 3 fatalities. 

In January, a pedestrian in London was killed in a road traffic accident involving a readymix truck.  In March this year, a contractor lost control of his vehicle and died in a traffic accident.

But the one that is most close to me at the moment is that an employee was killed in a Block Plant last weekend.

Of course there is an investigation into the root cause, but I would like to spend more time talking about the tragic consequences.

I would like to talk about the West Calder team.  The team picture at the beginning of this article was taken some time ago, but James Brownlie is on the left hand side of the picture and he died last weekend.

The picture was taken with his team and as you know, if you work in a Plant the people you work with are like your family at work – you are very close to them.  There have been consequences on the team.  I visited the team a couple of days after the accident and this was one of the most difficult experiences of my career, but I was there to try and show support to them in such difficult times.

It was difficult, for me personally it is the first time I have seen the impact so close up.  It is the first employee I have ever lost in one of my operations in my career so is difficult for me too.

Let me describe to you what I sensed in the visit.  Of course the atmosphere was very difficult; we observed a minute’s silence which was a very emotional moment for all of us.  I spoke to some of the people in the picture who naturally have been very affected by the accident.

I also went to the area where the accident happened. The police had been there at the weekend to investigate and nothing had been able to be moved, so it was still how it was when Jimmy was working there on Saturday.  His name was still up on the board and his tools and some of his PPE were still there.

The team was very strong, as to support the investigation from the HSE some of the guys had to operate the machine Jimmy had been working on to understand what happened

This has impacted so many people. 

The family, of course. Jimmy was 64 and married with a daughter and son. He was very close to enjoying a well-earned retirement and had grandchildren too.  Friends and colleagues who were close to him have been affected.

I am sure some of you know how difficult it is and understand very well from personal experience what I am saying, as you may have been involved in similar situations.

If you don’t think these consequences are reason enough, this is a photo of a poster that I saw on Monday in the West Calder Plant in the entrance to an office.

It says it all: Stay Safe to Stay Alive.  It is a strong and emotional message.

This was done by the daughter of a Plant employee.  If you can’t think of any other good reason to stay safe then think about the family and friends you go home for.


This is why we call it BEST FOR FAMILIES.

So, how are we going to stop this trend? 

We must insist on doing the basics and doing them very well.

The basics are:                                             

Our Safety Essentials, with Looking after Ourselves and Each Other being the number 1 

Stop and Think every time we start a task or things don’t go to plan.  Please stop and assess the risks of the activity.  Please do not rush.  Health & Safety is my number one priority, I would never sacrifice having one single minor incident for production or results.

Step In – if you see a colleague doing an unsafe act have the courage to step in and stop this person, this is the only way to look after each other.

It’s not about talking safety, it’s about doing safety.

Please help me to ensure it’s happening in all our Plants and Offices so we can stop having injuries.

This is not something I can do on my own, I need your help.

Each and every one of you can make a difference and stop this negative wave.”

You can make the difference.