Company profile

  • 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 challenge

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:

The key principles of the Working Party are that it:

A long series of campaigns include:

Business benefits

Health and safety benefits

'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

Cost benefits

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.

Worker involvement

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

Updated 2021-08-03