NetComposites
Attwater

New Initiative to Reduce Injuries

15 October 2010

A new UK industry-led initiative to improve health and safety in the plastics and composites industry has been launched.

The plastics industry in keeping with the rest of the manufacturing sector has one of the highest rates of industrial injuries. Latest figures show that in 2008/09, one person was killed and 1,158 were injured in a sector that employs approximately 143,600 people. Manual handling and slips and trips are responsible for the majority of injuries and illnesses include occupational asthma and dermatitis.

The SIMPL (Safety In Manufacturing Plastics) initiative, supported by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), will run over three years from 2011 to 2014. It brings together all parts of the industry including trade organizations and unions in a bid to stimulate progress on accident and ill-health reduction by helping to embed a health and safety culture within businesses.

The participating organisations are:

British Plastics Federation
Composites UK
GGF
GMB
Plastics Machinery Manufacturers & Distributors Association
Packaging and Films Association
Unite
PTIC, Wolverhampton College

Individual companies are invited to sign a pledge to demonstrate their commitment to improving the health and safety record of the industry as a whole. In return, SIMPL will help employers achieve what they identify as health and safety priorities for their individual business.

The participating employers organisations will create action plans to help their members achieve long-term improvements. An accident reporting format will also be established for each area of industry, against which year on year reduction targets will be set.

Dr Paul Darby, a Director of Composites UK said: 'Composites UK fully endorses the SIMPL initiative. Improving H&S fundamentally makes good business sense. We have worked hard to design a strategy that is appropriate to the SME nature of the composites sector. The first hurdle will be to achieve a high level of buy-in to the programme through sign-up to the pledge.'

Kevin Myers, Deputy Chief Executive for HSE, said: The injury rate in the plastics industry, like the rest of the manufacturing sector, is well above the all industries average. Its essential that senior management recognises the importance of developing a positive health and safety culture, but we also need to draw on the knowledge, skills and enthusiasm of those closest to the risks, the employees. Industrial injuries can not only be devastating to the victims, but can put real strain on small firms. Its good business sense to manage workplace hazards. This is why the SIMPL initiative aims to work with everyone across the industry to really drive change and reduce the number of people being killed, injured or made ill by their work.