Forward-thinking manufacturers in the UK are realising the benefits to their business of investment in good health and safety. Shelley Frost, executive director, policy, at Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) reveals how.
Manufacturing accounts for around 5% of businesses in the UK and 10% of employment.
It is unsurprising, therefore, that it is one of the largest and most diverse representative sectors in IOSH membership and why we are keen to recognise those manufacturers that are getting safety and health right.
The sector is at the forefront of technological innovation that has advanced productivity and efficiency, and this has also opened up many opportunities to design out risk and find new ways to ensure the safety and health of those working in the industry, as well as improving the quality and performance of products.
Forward-thinking companies know that to secure a competitive edge and sustainability in a globalized market, it is important to ensure safety and health is effectively managed.
We operate in a rapidly changing world of new markets; complex supply chains; circular economy; emerging technologies; new materials, and greater automation.
This requires strong leadership, worker involvement and good safety and health advice – ensuring competence throughout organisations by up-skilling staff from boardroom to shop floor, from artisans to apprentices.
It is why IOSH developed a range of training products – Working safely, Managing safely and Leading safely – to cater for people operating at all levels of an organisation.
And there needs to be broader engagement and support for the 58% share of the industry comprising SMEs, which are hard to reach and not always engaged in the supply chain.
IOSH offers a range of free tools and guides on its website to help companies of all shapes and sizes manage the health and safety of their employees.
What makes British manufacturing great is its workforce, which most employers agree is their greatest asset.
Aside from the legal and moral imperatives, this underlines why organisations need effective safety and health management – it is a business investment that builds reputation and resilience and improves results.
A well-trained, skilled and resourced workforce, which is able to design out safety and health problems and design in resilience at the inception stage of all projects, and ensure ongoing risk management throughout an organisation’s operations, provides tremendous benefits to businesses, workers and society as a whole.
This contains examples of engineering-related design successes. I would like to see more showcasing and positive stories about UK manufacturing, including the innovative and effective health and safety practices of so many of our manufacturing enterprises.
This is why IOSH is delighted to be a co-sponsor of The Manufacturer MX Awards 2015.
The Institution has members working for most of the UK’s major companies in the sector, with many more providing advice and support to SMEs across the country, and they will make an important contribution to what promises to be an impressive showcase of excellence in Birmingham next month.
On awards night, I look forward to applauding those businesses in manufacturing that are realising the benefits of investment in good health and safety.
The innovative, the efficient and the all-round epitome of excellence in UK manufacturing will vie to be crowned the best in their field at The Manufacturer MX (TMMX) Awards 2015.
The winners will be crowned at The ICC, Birmingham on Thursday 26 November, where more than 1,000 industry leaders will come together for a night of reward, recognition and celebration.
Secure your table at this year’s awards and join some of the biggest names in the industry at the largest networking night in the manufacturing calendar.