DS Smith is a leading packaging company providing corrugated packaging solutions throughout Europe as well as plastic packaging solutions worldwide. Their story can be traced back to the hand-made rigid box making business started in 1940 by the Smith brothers in East London. Since then, the company has grown continuously through a series of acquisitions. In the UK, operations comprise 31 packaging manufacturing sites, two paper mills and 13 recycling depots.
Health and safety is a top priority and is a key focus across all senior operational meetings and this shows in the group’s health and safety record:
• Lost Time Accidents (LTAs) down 23 per cent in legacy DS Smith, up 29 per cent with Group (including SCA Packaging) with a 48 per cent increase in the hours worked.
• Accident Frequency Rates (AFR) down 22 per cent in legacy DS Smith, down 13 per cent with Group (including SCA Packaging) .
• Accident severity rate down 8 per cent
SG World also share a long business lineage, celebrating their 45 year anniversary in 2014. They have worked with DS Smith for over 10 years across the Packaging and Recycling parts of the business, initially working with local sites by introducing visitor pass, permits to work and safety inspection solutions. SG World’s paper based visitor pass product allows organisations to issue all visitors and contractors with a visitor pass branded in the corporate colours and logo incorporating their own Health & Safety rules, thus supporting compliance with Regulation 3 of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974. At the same time as completing the visitor details on the pass, the Emergency Evacuation Register is automatically completed and Reception has an accurate record of all visitors on site.
Safe INSPECT is also an SG World paper-based solution. It’s a multi-part system incorporating a handy cheque book sized pad of inspection checklists tailored to the specific piece of equipment and its governing safety regulations. Completing a slip creates a carbon copy for records as well as a complete local inspection history that stays with manual handling equipment such as fork lift trucks. The reverse of the slip is a Pass/Fail notice which is displayed in a Hi-Vis , hardwearing status indicator wallet which affixes to the truck giving operators an instant flag if the vehicle is unsafe. It also provides a quick spot check for the Health and Safety Manager to ensure inspection processes are being followed. Although on the face of it these are two very different products, they both help companies protect their people and premises by complying with best practice health and safety guidance.
As SG World gradually built up local contacts, they began to be invited to DS Smith internal Health and Safety Forums so the rest of the Group H&S community could see how SG World’s products were being used. This was an opportunity to develop a real partnership, coming together to identify better ways of working.
DS Smith have completed a number of key acquisitions including SCA Packaging and doubled in size to cement their position as a leading packaging player in Europe. SG World were able to support a subsequent rebrand exercise, creating one visitor management and pre-inspection process for use across all sites. This process created a consistent way of working, a standardised package of materials tailored and branded to DS Smith and volume discounting for the group. Prior to the introduction of Safe INSPECT, DS Smith used an A4 piece of paper. In the words of Keith Appleby, HSE Manager at the Louth Depot, “it’s so much quicker and easier, I used to spend a lot of time just collecting and filing A4 pieces of paper.”
SG World design and print in-house so it’s very easy to design a product which perfectly meets the particular requirements of a customer. They work with a lot of big name players and appreciate the importance of brand integrity; the design team are very experienced in working to brand guidelines and supporting a design through the approval process involving several stakeholders.
In addition to any external H&S audits, DS Smith also has a comprehensive internal audit regime. With Safe-INSPECT the Health and Safety team enjoy the dual benefits of overseeing one single companywide inspection process and an in-built auditing mechanism. You can see at a glance whether it’s being used on the day and the record keeping captures all the key information on dates, inspection results and the person completing the checklist.
“We chose SG World for a great product and the service behind it. They will regularly communicate out information to all of the H&S representatives across the company, helping roll out new processes, providing on-site product training if needed and generally pro-actively checking users are having no problems,” said Samantha Kevis, DS Smith Divisional Purchasing Manager.
“We’ve had no problem at all with the new system – it’s very easy to use and flexible. We recently updated our pre-inspection process, drawing the operator’s attention to the forklift engine compartment where we were finding dust ignition issues. The updates were turned around very promptly and we got a next day turnaround on the delivery of new documentation.” said Keith Appleby.
“We take the time to understand our customers’ business, inviting them to our offices to see the supply chain in action and meet the account team. We even host divisional H&S meetings on behalf of the customer so they can take advantage of our central Crewe location. Another aspect of this value-added approach is the provision of a customer order portal – a website dedicated to DS Smith where staff can order their visitor pass and inspection documentation from stock with a next day delivery. We try to be an extra team member for the DS Smith Health & Safety team.” commented Dave Mounsey, SG World Major Divisions Account Manager.
DS Smith now have an inspection process in place for their Manual Handling Equipment and are looking to introduce a standard inspection system covering equipment where the user will be Working at Height - an activity under close scrutiny from the HSE.
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