O-I’s all-embracing approach to preventing injury and ill health

Health and safety poster created by an O-I employee's child

Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to health and safety. O-I UK has been making this a central principle of its culture – going beyond the obvious production plant context to include every employee – and their families. This work has won them a medal of excellence as part of the British Glass Health and Safety Forward scheme.

The company has been emphasising the importance of reporting near misses (incidents which could have or almost lead to injury) with training at head office. All head office staff took part in a programme – delivered by O-I UK’s Environment, Health and Safety Leader Alistair Lowe – which gave examples of near miss scenarios and hazards the office staff might encounter, and showed how everyone could contribute to creating a safer working environment across the business

Alistair explained:

“Even the most innocuous things can cause an accident. Creating a safe working environment is about being alert to any potential hazard. Making sure office-based staff understand this just as thoroughly as the people who work with molten glass and machinery helps to create strong shared values around safety.”

Of course, looking after employees goes deeper than protecting them from accidents. As part of its commitment to its workforce, O-I UK provides Lifeworks – a toolkit of personal and professional resources that can be accessed by phone, on-line or through a mobile app. It offers confidential, practical information and advice to everyone in the business – covering everything from conflict resolution to substance misuse or money and legal advice. Alongside the Lifeworks programme, the company also offered all employees at its Harlow site an optional health MOT – which saw all appointments fully booked.

To promote meaningful conversations about safety, health and wellbeing, the company has run a poster competition for young relatives of O-I employees. Staff members’ sons, daughters, nephews, nieces and grandchildren under the age of 14 were invited to design posters around one of four themes:

  • workplace transport and pedestrian safety
  • manual handling
  • slips, trips & falls
  • wearing correct personal protective equipment.

The children who entered all received a thank you gift.

Alistair said:

“Opening up conversations with family about every day health and safety measures was a great way to bring home to staff just why they do these things, and how vital they are. Their families’ happiness and security relies on them, so they must work with us and the systems in place to protect their – and their colleagues’ – health, safety and wellbeing.”

British Glass environment, health and safety adviser Jenni Richards said:

“O-I’s holistic approach to staff engagement and wellbeing is a great example to any business. British Glass is pleased to recognise their achievement with a Health and Safety Forward medal of excellence.”



O-I is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of glass packaging, with 79 plants in 23 countries.

O-I UK is a member of British Glass’ Health and Safety Forward scheme -  the core principle of which is to ensure and demonstrate that the glass sector is forward looking, and thinking, in terms of health and safety.

Please contact information@britglass.co.uk for more information.