Last Word - CPI

1 July 2014

CPI, the Confederation of the Paper Industries, represents recovered paper merchants, paper and board manufacturers and converters, corrugated packaging producers and makers of soft tissue papers. Here the organisation reports on the vital issue of Health and Safety practices in the industry.

The economic price that all companies in the UK paid for injuries and common ill-health complaints at work, was a staggering £13.8 billion in 2010/11 (source: Health and Safety Executive). Good H&S practices can reduce these costs, through lower employee absence and turnover, lessened threat of legal action and increased productivity because employees are healthier, happier and better motivated.

CPI has seen a dramatic reduction in recorded accidents (RIDDOR) for Members from 80% above the average for the UKmanufacturing sector in 2005, to five percent lower by September 2013, with the best performing large companies 30% below equivalent manufacturers in other sectors.

A detailed analysis of where accidents were taking place has allowed for focused programmes of activity. For example, actions to achieve a reduction in machinery accidents, which at the worst level accounted for almost 50% of all incidents, have brought the level down to around 17% - comparable with all manufacturing industries and similar process sectors.

This downward trend is no accident, but the result of an effective framework put in place by CPI in 2005 to improve work practices within the industry and greatly reduce the number of potential H&S incidents occurring at its members' sites.

Driving the ongoing improvement is the strategic delivery programmes jointly run by CPI and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) under the Paper and Board Industry Advisory Committee (PABIAC) Strategy. Since its implementation, 93% of CPI's members have signed up. Examples of how CPI Members have embraced good working practice include:

¦ Structured management systems regularly audited

¦ Annual action plans published and monitored

¦ Safety promotion campaigns

¦ Toolbox talks and training

¦ Near miss reporting and safety observation programmes

¦ Sharing and learning good practice through CPI events

¦ Investment in equipment to reduce manual handling injuries

¦ Senior management commitment and responsibility to PABIAC pledge

Many CPI Members run 'Culture Climate' surveys, adopt behavioural safety programmes and participate in near miss and safety observation initiatives. Since 2012, companies committing to the PABIAC initiative have signed SeniorExecutive and Union Representative pledges; a collaboration between management and staff to cut accident figures.

CPI's director of packaging affairs, Andy Barnetson, says: "People must not see Health and Safety as a burden on business, but as a mechanism for engagement and improvement. There are huge cost benefits to be gained for companies that effectively manage Health and Safety in tandem with all the other aspects of running a business.

"Health and Safety should be at the heart of our industry but there is always more to be done, such as improvement in the
management and delivery of occupational health provision, and the quality of risk assessments. We can increase the response rates of near miss reporting and improve the effectiveness of accident investigation and remedial action. I believe these are applicable to all manufacturing sectors and not unique to corrugated," he says.

Corrugated packaging is over 130 years old, protects more than 75% of Europe's goods in transit, and is rightly proud of its
environmental record - every year, more than 80% of the material is recycled, equivalent to an area three times the size of Greater London.

The author's views on this page may not be shared by this publication.

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