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The art of storytelling, the latest technique in the battle to achieve Zero incidents

05 February 2014

All day, every day people tell stories, it is one of the most effective ways of communicating with each other. This powerful tool of storytelling is the key to a new health and safety training programme carried out by CEMEX UK.

The programme uses the skills and techniques employed by the charity, Cardboard Citizens, who use theatre and storytelling to engage homeless people and help them to change attitudes and develop confidence.

The No. 1 CEMEX health and safety rule is ‘look after yourself and each other’.  The new training aims to enable managers and supervisors to pass on this and other health and safety messages in an engaging way.

Persuasive story telling is about taking information and building it into a memorable tale, often using personal experiences related to relevant real life experiences. In this way the audience relates to and remembers it.

The facilitators of Cardboard Citizens worked with groups of 20 CEMEX employees at five workshops to hone the individuals’ storytelling and communications skills.  This involved helping them to project their personalities and showing them how to pace a story with pauses and gestures.

“People are very comfortable at telling everyday anecdotes with energy and enthusiasm, but lose this vitality and passion when delivering a corporate message.  In this case, a very important message that can save a life,” comments Adrian Jackson, Artistic Director and Founder, Cardboard Citizens.

Andy Taylor, Health and Safety Director, CEMEX UK comments “This is a truly innovative way of passing on our very important health and safety messages and ensuring we are the best for our employees. Year on year the number of incidents is decreasing and our challenge is ensuring we engage with all our employees to reduce the incidents to zero. 

“Story telling can help to illustrate to team members how important it is to remember our No. 1 Safety Essential, to look out for each other and encourage each other to work safely in what can be, very hazardous conditions.”  

Recently Cardboard Citizens has coached 3 CEMEX employees in the skills required to actually deliver this training.  It is intended that these employees will support Cardboard Citizens with further workshop sessions in 2014, helping to embed the principles of persuasive story telling throughout the business.



Notes to editor


  • For further information contact Elizabeth Young, email: telephone: 01932 583214
  •  Cardboard Citizens

  • Helping to build a Greater Britain:CEMEX’s vision is to help build a greater Britain by providing solutions to construction problems through our innovative building materials, our expertise, our understanding of the construction issues and our people.  We aim to create the best service and the best solutions for a better future.
  • CEMEX is a global building solutions company and leading supplier of cement, ready-mixed concrete and aggregates. In the UK, CEMEX also produces asphalt, and has a significant share of the concrete- paving and block sectors. Additionally, the company is the leading supplier of concrete sleepers to the rail industry and a supplier of PFA cement additives. CEMEX has a national supply network in the UK with over 360 locations, to ensure that quality building materials are available to customers locally. For more information, see,


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