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The SIMPL initiative

SIMPL: Safety in Manufacturing PLastics

In October 2010, representatives from industry, unions and HSE came together to launch the new SIMPL (Safety in Manufacturing PLastics) initiative and its strategy, aimed at improving health and safety standards in the plastics industry.

Throughout 2012 the SIMPL partnership will be sending information out to the plastics industry at regular intervals on a range of topics that have been highlighted as problem areas for the industry.

The first topic spotlight for February 2012 is about the SIMPL initiative and how you can become involved.  You will find on this page all you need to know about SIMPL, but if you do have any further queries then please contact your trade association.

Spotlight on the SIMPL initiative – All you need to know about SIMPL

Why work with the plastics industries?

According to HSE RIDDOR statistics in 2009-2010(p), the fatal accident rate in plastics was similar to the all industries fatal accident rate.  The major injury rate in plastics was higher than the all industry figure and the over 3 day injury rate was significantly higher than the all industries industry rate. All of these injury rates show that in 2009-10 approximately 937 workers in the plastics industries were injured as a result of their work.  These statistics along with anecdotal information from industry that health and safety awareness and standards needed to be improved to prevent workers being injured were the main drivers for the partners to take action.  This led to industry, Unions and HSE coming together to discuss how to improve health and safety performance in the plastics industry.

What is SIMPL?

SIMPL stands for ‘safety in manufacturing plastics’. It is a partnership between industry, Unions and HSE and aims to improve health and safety standards in the plastics industry.  There are a number of different industry stakeholders involved in the initiative, from trade associations to training organisations.  It is a supportive initiative that aims to identify areas for health and safety improvement in industry and to provide help and tools for companies to use to improve these areas.

Who are the SIMPL partners?

The following organisations form the SIMPL partnership:

What are the SIMPL strategic objectives?

The SIMPL partnership has developed a three-year strategy to promote and encourage improvement in health and safety standards in the plastics industry. The strategic objectives of the partnership support HSE’s Be part of the solution strategy.  The SIMPL strategy covers the time period between 1 January 2011 and 31 December 2014.

The five strategic objectives outlined in the SIMPL strategy; are as follows:

1) Leadership objective

Employer associations and their participating members will demonstrate ‘visible and felt’ leadership. This will include specific actions at board level, including driving a safety culture and personal activity (eg through leading audits, chairing health and safety committees, setting health and safety objectives for managers and their organisations, etc).

2) Management system objective

Participating companies will establish a health and safety management system commensurate with the size and complexity of the company, with appropriate arrangements for policy, planning, implementation, monitoring and review.

3) Workforce involvement objective

Companies and employee representatives will collaborate to encourage the active engagement of the workforce in all elements of the management system.

4) Risk reduction objective

Each participating organisation will establish an action plan for its members which considers the key health and safety issues and challenges relevant to the sector. The plans should define risk assessment criteria (the means for prioritising issues for action in the industry) delivery arrangements, criteria for success and monitoring arrangements.

5) Accident reduction objective

Each participating organisation will firstly establish a consistent accident reporting format in year one and establish baseline statistics. They should then define a year-on-year reduction target (percentage) which is challenging, proportional and relevant.

What do the trade association action plans look like?

The 3 main trade associations involved in the initiative have compiled action plans to identify how they will work with the plastics industry to drive forward standards for health and safety improvement.  Each trade association has already agreed an accident reporting format for year one and has gathered baseline statistics to ensure actions in following years are targeted at the right areas. The statistics gathered at the start and then at the end of the initiative will be one way improvements can be measured.  The trade association action plans are as follows

Will the SIMPL initiative place additional demands on industry?

No. The SIMPL initiative aims to help companies comply with existing laws in practical ways that are right for their business, while improving health and safety standards for the workforce.

What is the SIMPL pledge?

The SIMPL pledge gives individual companies the chance to demonstrate their commitment to the initiative. The pledge is a short document signed by a senior representative of the company outlining what the company will do to make improvements to health and safety in their company to help achieve the strategic objectives.  Companies that sign the pledge will receive a certificate to display at their premises. Companies who wish to publicise their support for the initiative can indicate this at the bottom of their pledge and their name will then be added to the list of signatories.

A draft pledge template  has been provided by the partnership to help companies to make their commitment.  The draft pledge can be altered and changed to suit the company who is signing the pledge.  The partnership asks companies only to sign up to improvements they can make.

Once a company has signed the pledge they should then review health and safety in their company and produce an action plan to identify how improvements will be made. 

Completed pledges can be returned to either BPF, PAFA, Composites UK or HSE at Plastics Group, Manufacturing Sector, Health and Safety Executive, The Lateral, 8 City Walk, Leeds LS11 9AT.

At the launch of the SIMPL initiative senior officials of the Trade Associations involved signed their pledge to the initiative.  They gave their commitment to help improve health and safety standards in the plastics industry by working together.  Pictured left are the officials who made this commitment with their certificates.

How can I get involved?

To get involved in the initiative and to make the commitment to improve health and safety standards in your company is easy.

The first step is to sign the SIMPL pledge.  Once you have pledged your commitment then you should review health and safety within your own company and produce an action plan showing how you are going to improve. 

If you don’t want to sign the pledge you can still get involved and make the commitment to improve health and safety in your company.  By reviewing health and safety in your company and making positive changes and improvements you will still be contributing to industry improvements.

What help is available?

Since the launch of the strategy partners of the initiative have been involved in awareness raising and have organised and delivered training sessions to support companies.  Behind the scenes new practical tools have been developed for companies to use to improve health and safety in their workplace.

The partnership is happy to help and support companies in improving health and safety in their businesses.  Trade associations have published information online to help.  Please see the links below:

Updated 2016-03-01