Katie Barrett – Multi-skills Operative
Despite having been in her role less than a year, Katie is already an integral part of the team at our Bestwood Quarry, helping to trial innovative new technologies to boost the site’s output and maximise efficiency. She explains what a typical day involves.
We start work early at the quarry to make the most of the daylight. When I arrive, I head into the office for our morning team briefing with the site supervisor.
Before anyone goes on site, we all sit down and talk through our plans for the day. This gives us chance to identify any challenges we might face, assign roles and responsibilities, and run through our daily safety briefing .
I walk down to site with the other members of my team. Between them, they have more than a century of experience, so I try to take in everything they say to me. I only started working with Tarmac in May this year, having spent the last 10 years working as a stonemason in my family’s business, so have really enjoyed getting stuck in and learning new skills.
Before we start work, we carry out a series of pre-checks on all the machinery. I work across all sorts of equipment in the quarry and the variety is one of the things I love most about my job. Today I’ll be operating the loading shovel that feeds the hopper which grades the aggregates we quarry into groups of different sizes.
Mid-morning I head back up to the site office to cover the weighbridge supervisor while she takes her break. It’s a really important task and there are lots of codes for all the different load types, so I have to concentrate pretty hard. We’re currently trialling some new weighbridge software that lets you track the vehicles, meaning you can plan ahead if they’re going to arrive late.
Once I’ve handed the weighbridge back to the supervisor, I collect our maintenance tablet from the office and check what tasks we are due to carry out today. It generates a list of jobs that each have to be signed off as they are completed. This makes sure that all our machinery is in full working order and guarantees that each individual operative takes responsibility for maintaining the plant.
After this, it’s back to the office to do some admin using another new piece of software. It lets us track the quarry’s tonnage per hour using a live spreadsheet system. This monitors any breakdowns that might impact us reaching our targets and delivery for customers. The system also generates a monthly report that helps us to identify any trends in breakdowns or output slowdowns so that we can make sure our processes are all as efficient as possible.
At the end of each day I sit down with the quarry manager for a briefing as I’m the site’s safety representative. We chat about our current emergency procedure. Every Tarmac quarry has a bespoke emergency procedure in place, and we’re constantly reviewing and updating our processes to ensure we’re mitigating risk wherever possible and working in line with the most stringent industry safety standards.
It’s been a busy day, but I definitely prefer it that way! I get so much satisfaction from knowing that I’m helping the company to find innovative new ways of working to refine our processes and maximise our outputs.