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Supporting a Proportionate Response to Risk Management

Ecclesiastical Insurance Group is a specialist insurer, founded in 1887, it has been providing advice and guidance on health and safety matters for many years.
Its customers increasingly rely on its support as they tend to have limited access to specialist health and safety risk management assistance or are seeking trusted assurance that they have done enough to comply with their legal responsibilities.
They recognised a shared objective in enabling their customers to meet their statutory obligations, particularly if this comes into question from a claims defensibility perspective.
Ecclesiastical is committed to enhancing the advice it gives to its customers on health and safety matters, enabling them to respond in a proportionate manner whilst balancing insurance requirements – particularly in low-risk environments.
The organisation has already;

  • completed a collaborative project with a panel of legal experts to interpret the application of the Health and Safety at Work Act and subordinate regulations to low-risk, non-employer organisations
  • reviewed its free, technical collateral to ensure that it reflects the findings of this work and will enable its customer to comply with their responsibilities in a sensible and proportionate manner, whilst balancing insurance requirements.

And by the end of 2018 Ecclesiastical plans to;

  • refresh its website to help customers find this content more easily and in more accessible ways.
  • run a programme of free, national training seminars for some customer groups to help them better understand their statutory responsibilities.
  • and developed a suite of free, e-Learning solutions reflecting the findings of this work to enable some customers to better understand their responsibilities.

As a result, Ecclesiastical aim to reach;

  • Up to 5,000 website visitors a month.
  • Over 700 attendees to a further 12 seminars
  • Over 800 customers for its e-Learning module.

A Common Strategy for Food & Drink

Since the 1990’s, the food and drink sector has made a 60% reduction to its overall injury rate.  Despite this, the rate remains much higher than the average for UK manufacturing and the sector also has significant ill-health issues in particular musculoskeletal disorder injuries and occupational asthma.
The Food and Drink Manufacture Health and Safety Forum (FDMF), a trilateral group comprising key food / drink trade associations, trade unions, and HSE, has developed a revised, voluntary Common Strategy.  This strategy demonstrates FDMF members’ clear intent to work together, to build upon previous achievements and accelerate the reduction in the food and drink sector’s ill-health and injury rates.  With a strong commitment to leadership and worker engagement, the strategy focusses on delivering measurable improvements against four key objectives between 2016 and 2021:

  1. A year on year reduction in the overall industry rate of ill-health and injury by 10%.
  2. Effective management of Musculoskeletal Disorder risks by member companies.
  3. Effective management of slip and trip risks by member companies.
  4. Member companies deploying an effective Occupational Health management system.

Collaborative promotion and initiatives under the common strategy are ongoing and are developed and monitored via annual FDMF action plans.
Successful work to-date includes:

  • the collection and sharing of industry performance data by a growing number of FDMF members, thus enabling the production of the food and drink industry’s own health and safety benchmarking survey.
  • the annual National Food and Drink Health and Safety Conference, with themes aligned to common strategy objectives.
  • the development of a case study template (via the FDMF Working Group) – providing a means for food and drink companies to share their experience and knowledge of the best ways to further reduce the sector’s injuries and work-related ill-health.
  • the development of an action plan to assist food and drink companies in structuring how they will plan, control and monitor their slip and trip hazards.
  • the development of key performance indicators which allow food and drink companies to monitor the success of their management arrangements relating to slip and trip hazards.
  • FDMF member initiatives aligned to the common strategy, including localised conferences, industry specific written guidance and work programmes etc.

It’s 40 years since Trade Union Health and Safety Representatives were recognised in law under The Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulation 1977.  To support new safety representatives UCATT (now part of UNITE) committed to developing an easily accessible, comprehensive training scheme.
Recognising areas where communication has been poor in the past and to ensure involvement and engagement with workers, the “Ten Directives” initiative is a series of 10 presentations designed to provide a basic understanding of the role of safety representatives delivered over a 3-day period.
The scheme has been running for a while now and ongoing evaluation will determine its impact on upskilling union members and positive changes in site safety culture.
HSE are celebrating the 40 anniversary of safety reps by publishing a series of case studies.  You can find out more here.

Are You Listening? (RUL) framework campaign

Safety Managers and front-line staff often have a ‘coalface’ view of operations and may be aware of potential risks or threats long before senior executives and Directors. This information can be overlooked, ignored or may not even be voiced to the right people.
The Association of Gas Safety Managers considered how to achieve alignment of executive boards with gas managers and their teams in social housing. With the additional complexities often inherent in social housing, it is important to develop practical solutions that allow gas managers and engineers to take a holistic approach to real issues and safety concerns.
Building on the success of a similar framework implemented in the aviation industry which significantly cut-down on incidents, the ‘Are You Listening (RUL)’ framework uses words that are known and accepted by the sector (R- Report, U- Uncomfortable L-Listen).
To date a draft framework has been produced which will be shared shortly with AGSM members.  It is anticipated that this initiative will be welcomed by organisations and Executive Board’s as a way of working across organisations to raise awareness and uncover potential risks.

The Eric Wright board wanted to implement a culture change improvement plan.  They used the HSL’s climate survey tool to get a feel for the concerns of the management and workforce, which identified that usability of procedures and accident and incident reporting needed addressing. Focus groups and analysis of H&S advisers inspection reports identified Key Risk Areas (KRA’s).
This led to the development of a number of initiatives;

  • Positive Intervention (PI) – a process of non-confrontational conversations with colleagues around safe and unsafe behaviours was introduced. All of the supply chain is invited and have been asked to join Eric Wright on its journey.
  • An in-house investigation course to help line managers introduce a “just culture” model based on the HSG48 guidance.
  • A “safety circle” review of the report and circumstance with a director, as a positive lesson learnt commitment to improve.
  • Senior Manager Tours (SMT), requiring leaders to visit sites and engage with the workforce on matters about health and safety.  More recently directors from the supply chain have joined in. This is helping to clarify commitment and cascade the messages.
  •  26 Safety Coaches trained (including shop floor, junior line managers, and subcontractors). The safety coaches are our H&S champions acting as a conduit for consultation and talking about H&S matters with their peers.

As a result

  • The number of PI’s submitted has increased year on year: from 799 in 2015 to 1035 so far in 2017.
  • Safety circles are now requested by directors and are generally seen as a positive event that helps the business improve.
  • SMT’s have increased with a public commitment and annual plan for them.
  • The safety coach forum is taking shape and coaches have more confidence to speak up and share the messages.
  • A 40% reduction in the number of accidents reported over the past 3 years.

Next Steps
Refocus and Refresh on Health –  a refocus and refresh of two of our existing health KRA’s and introduction of 2 new health KRA’s. with a safety and a health KRA campaign each quarter.
Greater Engagement –  increasing the number of workgroups and forums.
Empowerment – strengthen the importance of the Safety Coach forum, ensuring they are empowered to stop colleagues working if unsafe or to positively reinforce when safe behaviours are observed. To give them a voice and encourage them to take time out to talk to their colleagues about H&S matters.
Mental Health – mental health is a relatively new topic for Eric Wright but they have already tapped into a local “MIND” group and received some short introductory briefing sessions.