- No. of employees: 3000+ (1998) - less than 1000 (2003)
- Business sector: Pharmaceutical manufacturing
- Business activities: Primary and product manufacturing
- Stakeholders: Employees, employee representatives (including trade unions and non-unionised staff safety reps), health and safety professionals, managers, local community
- Location: Dartford, Kent
Management and employees at the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) manufacturing site at Dartford have together developed a health and safety programme 'Partners in EHS' bridging two manufacturing operations on the same site. This has maintained commitment and morale during closure of one of these operations and has been instrumental in the other's quest to become world class.
The initial driver to the Partnership programme was from senior managers wishing to raise the profile of health and safety across the site, and has been well supported and resourced. The programme was given a further boost when the site became subject to additional requirements under the new COMAH Regulations.
What did the company do?
The Working Party, consisting of employee and trades union safety representatives (TGWU and Amicus), management and health and safety professionals, works to:
- Identify priority issues
- Structure the annual health and safety business plan
- Review ongoing progress
The key principles of the Working Party are that it:
- Assumes no 'quick fixes'
- Seeks convergence with other business objectives
- Aims to involve at least 80% at least of staff in campaigns
A long series of campaigns include:
- 'Ken's Story' Workshops for staff with an operator who lost his sight in working for another company
- Infoscapes: A behavioural learning tool used to promote a novel approach to slips, trips and falls
- 'Who Moved My Cheese?' Focusing on mental resilience in recognition of pressures on staff with the announcement of significant job reductions.
- Around 40% reduction in employers liability claims since 2000
- Establishment of a positive organisational culture ensuring good industrial relations during a time of downsizing
- Improved relationships with local community, particularly important as Dartford is registered as an upper-tier major accident hazard site
Health and safety benefits
- First GSK site with joint accreditation under ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001
- Better stress management
- Lost Time Accident rate per 100,000 hours worked reduced from 1.43 to zero within Primary manufacturing (1993-2002)
- First GSK site to achieve 4 million hours worked without any Lost Time Injury or Incident
'Our experience over the past 6 years has been proof of the adage that there is no better measure of how well a manufacturing business is being managed than its health and safety performance.'
Geoff Ogden, Site EHS and Loss Prevention Director
The Partnership Programme has cost approximately £260,000 over the last decade. A reduction in the number of accidents and liability claims in 2000-2003 alone has produced net savings of approximately £100,000 per year. Benefits have also accrued from a strong commitment to productivity maintained during a time of increased stress with a reduction of 1500 jobs between 1999 and 2003.
As a joint management-employee initiative, 'Partners in EHS' strives to bring about improvements through transparency and shared responsibility. It is an all-encompassing people-centred programme which aims to deliver improvements both in GSK and beyond, for example in areas such as quality of life and stress management.
'A few years ago it was said that on this site health and safety was a line management responsibility. Now it is recognised as everyone's.'
Andy McGill, TGWU Safety Representative