Mech-Tool Engineering Ltd
- No. of employees: 80 to 115 depending on work load
- Business sector: Engineering
- Business activities: Design, supply and installation of protective enclosures
- Stakeholders: Employees, GMB Union, managers and company owner
- Location: County Durham
Upgrading the company management systems to ISO 9001:2000 has improved customer confidence, increased orders, and a tenfold increase in productivity. It also means that this company can pre-qualify for tender opportunities.
Mech-Tool Engineering's customers work in high hazard industries and expect exceptional standards in health and safety. Mech-Tool has focused on this, being ISO 9000 accredited and RoSPA and Norwich Union award winners. Updating to ISO 9001.2000 gave the opportunity to simplify health and safety management by integrating it into the overall management system.
What did the company do?
The Directors committed the company to achieving ISO 9001:2000. This includes a review of all management processes and integration of health and safety management into the system. In making this commitment they also empowered the Quality, Audit and Safety Manager to manage the change.
Key success factors were;
- Ensuring all of the workforce were consulted, supportive and understood their role in the new management processes
- A scheme to reward shop floor initiatives to improve health and safety management
- Clarity of health and safety performance – the monthly team briefing opens with a review
- Increased customer confidence leading to repeat orders
- Customers take health and safety performance into account when assessing tenders –orders were won because of Mech-Tool's higher health and safety performance
- Improved ability to pre-qualify for tender opportunities
- Briefings, toolbox meetings, simplified management systems and an improvement award scheme have engaged workforce in continuous improvement
Health and safety benefits
- Reduced administrative burden releases management to aid in shop floor improvements
- More proactive approach to the management of health and safety with managers and supervisors involved in risk assessment and safe systems of work
- Greater clarity of health and safety performance given to the workforce and they are empowered to improve health and safety performance
'The inclusion of health and safety into an integrated management system assists the company in demonstrating a commitment to health and safety to both customers and employees. The more standardised systems and processes give numerous benefits.'
Steve Sheridan, Production Supervisor
The initiative has enabled a number of management and process improvements to be identified and implemented. These include:
- A new metal preparation process to reduce health and safety risk and improve quality, which has improved productivity by tenfold.
- Reduced the administrative burden involved in completing health and safety information required by tender prequalification applications.
The company supplies high risk industries and therefore adopted a culture aimed at minimising the risk of accidents in the work place. This approach is embraced by the Board of Directors and is overseen by a full time HSE Manager. Employees are encouraged to be safety conscious at all times and in all places, regardless of their role. Continuous awareness initiatives include regular meetings, toolbox talks and safety audits. Safety Management review meetings are held every four months with representatives from staff, hourly paid employees and the Managing Director. A Company Council meeting is held monthly and encourages representatives to raise health and safety matters. In recent years Mech-Tool has received formal recognition of its health and safety record from the EEF and RoSPA.
A key objective of the initiative was to engage the workforce in continuous improvement. Company Council and Safety Management Review meetings provide formal consultation; this is supported by regular briefings by the MD, tool box talks and safety audits.
An employee safety improvement award scheme has been implemented to encourage the workforce to seek improvements.
'Management involvement demonstrates that they are very approachable in matters of health and safety. This sends out the message to the workforce that continual effort is being put into providing a safer working environment.'
Kevin Quinn, Representative of Workshop Safety