Ibstock Brick Ltd
- No. of employees: 50
- Business sector: Manufacturing
- Business activities: Brick making
- Location: West Sussex
- Stakeholders: Employees, managers, shareholders
Working with an osteopath to taking a new approach to manual handling injuries, the company has reduced injuries and absences, benefiting employees, managers and the company.
Brick making involved the rapid, repetitive handling of bricks. Manual handling was known to be the most significant cause of workplace injuries; the company bought new equipment and engaged an osteopath.
What did the company do?
- More suitable equipment designed to reduce the hazards and risks from manual handling as part of the risk assessment process
- Training in injury prevention and symptom recognition – an osteopath provides training on how the body works, appropriate handling techniques and symptom recognition
- Training in easy self-treatment and exercises – the osteopath explains to first-aiders and crew straightforward treatments and exercises that can help prevent injury
- Pre-employment medicals – potential staff are evaluated for existing conditions so that new starters are not given tasks that may aggravate injury
- Early treatment for all manual handling injuries (home and work) by the osteopath within 48 hours
- Annual check-up with osteopath
- A 25% reduction in days lost through injury
- Saving 1.5% brick production capacity previously lost through injury
- Improved company reputation – winning an award for 'best occupational health initiative' for a medium-size company
- Initiative well received by the workforce
- Staff retention improved – workforce more stable
Health and safety benefits
- Reduction in lost time incidents from 14 in the year preceding the initiative to 5 in 2002 (no change in staff levels)
- Reduction in the number of manual handling injuries from 10 to 3 per year
- Lost time injury rate has dropped from 30 days lost per 100,000 staff hours to 23 days lost
- Less likelihood of allocating staff to a task that may aggravate an existing condition
'We've fewer shorthanded teams which has helped to reduce stress. We're achieving higher productivity and can spend more time on further improvements!'
Ray Austin, Site Manager
£270,000 has been spent on new equipment (with a working life of at least 15 years) designed to reduce manual handling hazards. The cost of the external osteopath is £8,500 over 2 years (for training and treatment).
By reducing the number of manual handling injuries Ibstock Brick has been able to increase brick production by at least £20,000 a year. Added to this are savings in costs associated with staff turnover, the reduction in time spent on managing production with short-handed teams, and reductions in potential civil claims from injuries. Production up £20,000 a year
These savings have enabled the initiative to pay for itself over the lifetime of the new equipment.
The Production Director supported the project and the Group Health and Safety Manager gave expert advice.
At each stage of the initiative, feedback from the workforce has helped the scheme to improve. Production crews themselves have found solutions to problems that had affected their work for years.