Neal Stone reports from 3rd Annual Health and Safety Excellence conference in Barcelona

25 Nov

The 3rd Health + Safety Excellence event in Barcelona in November 2010 brought together leading edge speakers and delegates willing and able to share their experiences and understanding of the contribution of positive behaviours and culture to workplace safety.

 Speakers and delegates from organisations including Diageo, Nestle, Kraft Foods, BAE Systems, UK Coal, Tata Steel, ArcelorMittel and Imerys described the journey many were making in trying to achieve world class safety.

What was apparent was the difficulty facing the organisations in trying to achieve this goal. Not one claimed to have reached the pinnacle. But many were able to describe the measures they had put in place with some success including winning the hearts and minds of the workers to play their part in staying safe.

Inder Poonaji, Head of SHE, Nestle UK and Ireland described the journey the company was making, shifting the workforce from being reactive to proactive on safety. The company’s h+s policy has been distilled into one page.

Six golden rules act as a constant reminder to employees of the responsibilities they have and the behaviour they must display. The golden rules are set out on small pocket sized cards which Nestle employees are encouraged to carry at all times. 

Nestle operate a yellow and red card system for contractors for safety infractions. A red card leads to the removal of the contractor from the site. However contractors views are valued and are encouraged to share their observations about Nestle safety practices and provide feedback.

The event included a half day workshop on delivering a winning KPI system which I delivered. The aim of the workshop was to bring  home the inherent difficulty faced by organisations in producing accurate, comprehensive and SMART data.

There was overwhelming agreement that the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) was a poor measure on its own of organisational safety performance. This workshop brought home the complexity of the systems, procedures, attitudes, behaviours and actions that have to be measured in order to provide an accurate and complete picture and performance.

An over-concentration on one or a few performance metrics could lead to the neglect of so many aspects vital to good health and safety. Regretably the focus all too often is achieving a year-on-year improvement in a metric as the LTIFR rather than addressing the fundamental question why those accidents are happening.

Inder Poonaji brought home vividly that safety must move with the times, “We have to be smarter in the way we deal with safety and the way we communicate. We have a new generation of workers for whom facebook and apps are the preferred method of communications.”

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One Response to “Neal Stone reports from 3rd Annual Health and Safety Excellence conference in Barcelona”

  1. P smith April 15, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    I work at cereal partners in brombourgh and it is a very safe site and a great place to work.i love the factorty and the people who work there.i work for iss facilities, ive only just rejoined after a ten year break.

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