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Nestlé UK design checks cut accidents by a third since 2009

By Oliver Nieburg , 11-Oct-2012
Last updated on 11-Oct-2012 at 11:28 GMT

Nestlé's Design Stage Risk Assessments’ scheme has helped it cut accidents by 38% since 2009
Nestlé's Design Stage Risk Assessments’ scheme has helped it cut accidents by 38% since 2009

Nestlé’s confectionery factory in York, UK, has bagged a safety award for a scheme assessing plant design risks that has reduced the frequency of accidents by a third.

The confectioner won the National Food and Drink Health and Safety Award, which was handed out at an Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) event last night.

Detailed design checks

Nestlé claimed the award for its ‘Design Stage Risk Assessments’ scheme - a system assessing injury risks from food equipment and processes.

Under the scheme, Nestlé workers conduct detailed checks on design proposals at the York factory to measure the risk of accidents or ill-health.

The scheme is said to have contributed to reducing the number of accidents by 38% since 2009.

Minimal cost

Nicola Callaghan, Nestlé York Factory safety, health and environment manager, who collected the award said: “The project has had a huge impact on reducing the frequency of accidents to our workers. From 2009 until September just gone, we saw our rate drop by 38%– down from 81.5 accidents per one million hours worked, to 50.8 – a really big achievement for us.”

“It’s been great to get input from our workers – they operate the systems and have the knowledge, experience and ideas. In turn, that’s helped to improve their morale. The cost of putting the scheme in place has been minimal and we’re seeing savings as efficiency is up, but injury and ill-health-related lost-time is down.

Safety from the start

Neil Catton, chair of the IOSH Food and Drink Group, said that there was no better way of reducing injuries in the workplace “than to set out from the start to design something that is safe, rather than having to come up with costly and timely solutions that protect people – often less adequately - after a piece of machinery or a process is already in action”.

The National Food and Drink Health and Safety Awards is a joint venture between IOSH and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Runners-up for this year’s award were G’s Fresh Vegetables and Dairy Crest.

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