A safety day with a difference

EVCOM Clarion Awards 2014 WINNER

The Wylfa nuclear power station on Anglesey has been generating electricity for 42 years. It was the largest Magnox power station to be built in the UK and is now the only operational facility of its type in the world. As it nears its final stage of generation, the plant was scheduled to enter it’s last “shut-down” (essential maintenance) period before decommissioning begins in 2015 and the team were as focussed as ever on doing the job properly and most importantly….. safely.

The Challenge

Following a highly competitive tender process, we were challenged to design a series of day-long sessions for more than 1,000 staff to meet the following objectives.

  1. To deliver a fresh and engaging reminder of the critical safety message that: No-one gets hurt at Wylfa.
  2. To instil a ‘1 Team’ approach to Safety between all Magnox employees and their contract partners, by exploring the moral case, the business case and the legal case for safety excellence.
  3. To further embed the use of Human Performance tools and their positive impact on safety.
  4. To encourage participants to take personal responsibility for leading a positive safety culture.

Our Solution

Following a lengthy period of on-site consultation we designed and delivered a series of unique and highly engaging day-long sessions featuring theatre, film, facilitator-led workshops and a professional stunt artist! On-site venues were prepared in advance and bespoke “theatre sets” were created to suit each session, these “unconventional” training locations included the large turbine hall, an engineer’s store and a marquee.

As the day progressed, we examined the causes and consequences of a serious accident; our participants were asked to assume the role of incident investigators and they were challenged to answer the following questions:

  1. What exactly what has taken place?
  2. Who has been injured?
  3. The causes of the accident?
  4. Who was responsible?

The sessions, each of which delivered an element of the story included:

What causes accidents?

We delivered a series of theatrical scenes which acted as a “spring-board” for the delegates to discuss the root causes of accidents and examine the difference between human error and conscious violations.

Human performance

Our delegates examined and discussed a variety of situations to assess which human performance techniques can be most useful in minimising risk. Then we put this into practise as the group used the Human Performance techniques in a hands-on exercise, one which can only be solved by precise planning, good communication and well-organised teamwork.

The legal case

We created a trial situation, with participants directing the prosecution, the defence and the key witness by working with actors to define how the action progressed.

During the session we asked the delegates to consider:

  1. The personal toll of the accident
  2. The negative effect on business continuity
  3. The possible sentencing options if found guilty 

The accident

In a breath-taking finale to the day we delivered our most ambitious theatrical scene ever! A cast of seven actors portrayed the accident itself, culminating in a spectacular 15metre fall.

Once our delegates recovered from experiencing our carefully re-enacted “accident”, we encouraged them to make a personal commitment describing how they themselves will contribute positively to continually improving the Safety culture.


In June 2014 the UK government reaffirmed its commitment to commissioning a new nuclear reactor on Anglesey during a ministerial visit to Wylfa. The Anglesey site director, Stuart Law, said the extension was a credit to the staff who have supported the plant through four decades of electricity generation and their unstinting focus on safety.

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