Working top down and bottom up to improve safety all over the NSG Group

Glass manufacturers have achieved a 50% decrease in workplace accidents over the past 10 years. As safety culture matures, the industry is shifting focus to ensure that trend continues. Pilkington United Kingdom Ltd (part of NSG Group), a member of the British Glass Health and Safety Forward scheme, shared some of the practical measures it has put in place to make sure everyone is involved and accountable. 

Management accountability for near misses
All safety incidents in the NSG Group are assessed for likelihood of reoccurring, and severity of potential injuries – and safety warnings are sent to all sites globally where appropriate. The one-page notice provides a brief incident description, photographs and three or four suggested measures to minimise future risk.

But to ensure learning is applied, two further steps have recently been introduced. For incidents with a very high potential of harm the senior leadership team now receives:
•    a root cause analysis, presented by the site manager where the incident happened 
•    feedback, within four weeks, on progress toward the measures and actions advised from the site manager of each site where an incident of this nature could occur. 

The Greengate site Environment, Health and Safety Manager Nick Wilson said: 

“The H&S manager alone can’t make a site safe. Everyone has to take responsibility. Making sure that near misses get communicated and sites are accountable at the highest level is vital to drive change – and this system is achieving that.”
Shaping every day behavioural norms 
Responsibility for health and safety is also being systematically incorporated into everyone’s roles in Pilkington from the bottom up as well. For example, to make sure that improvement plans reflect the reality in specific parts of the business, each department shapes its own – with input from team members at every level. Each department also has its own safety meeting, and while the site health and safety manager attends, team managers are tasked with chairing the meetings.

Nick says:

“All of this is important in creating a culture where safety is central to everyone’s job. It encourages the guys to look after their own team. We want each of them to notice anything that isn’t safe and have the confidence to say something to a colleague or manager. That way everyone is buddy checking each other all of the time – not just when there’s a supervisor nearby!”

Prominently positioned safety boards in every department communicate key information from across the global group on to each shop floor. At any time these will display a selection of the recent safety warnings and required action notices most relevant to that site, as well as a copy of the departmental safety plan.

Nick says:

“We’re not there yet. Occasionally someone will say ‘This is a health and safety meeting – why aren’t you chairing it?’ But more and more we’re seeing the whole business recognise it’s not just up to a supervisor, or H&S managers like me to keep them safe – it’s up to every one of them to look after themselves and their colleagues – right across the world!” 


Pilkington United Kingdom Ltd is a member of British Glass’ Health and Safety Forward scheme – which ensures and demonstrates that the glass sector is forward looking, and thinking, in terms of health and safety. 

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Find out more about Pilkington United Kingdom Ltd.