Best Factory Awards Countdown
Best Factory Awards 2014
Best Factory Awards Gala Lunch Date: 25/09/2015

17 August 2015

Meet the sponsors - IOSH

Shelley Frost, executive director – policy, Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH)

Why is IOSH backing the Best Factory Awards 2015?

Manufacturing represents around 5% of businesses and 10% of employment. It is not surprising, therefore, that manufacturing is one of the largest and most diverse representative sectors in IOSH membership and we are very happy to showcase manufacturers that are getting safety and health right – helping to both share and reward best practice and also, to highlight the value that good safety and health advice, training and management can bring.

Manufacturing is at the forefront of technological innovation which has advanced productivity and efficiency and this has also opened up many opportunities to design out risk and find new ways to ensure the safety and health of those working in the industry.

We're proud to promote efforts like those of last year's award category winner, 3M UK, to engrain a culture of care within their business. Their example and exemplary safety record showed just what can be achieved if forward-thinking manufacturers put safety and health at the heart of their operations.

What is the single biggest challenge for UK manufacturers in the next 12 months?

Securing competitive edge and sustainability in a globalised market by ensuring that safety and health is effectively managed in a rapidly changing world, affected by recovery from recession, new markets, complex supply chains, circular economy, emerging technologies, new materials and greater automation.

This requires strong leadership, worker involvement and good safety and health advice – ensuring competence throughout organisations by upskilling staff from boardroom to shop floor and from artisans to apprentices. More broadly engaging and supporting the 58% share of the industry comprising SMEs which are hard to reach and not always engaged in the supply chain.

What should manufacturers know about IOSH?

IOSH is a global organisation and our members, who work in most of the world's major companies, are dedicated to finding practical solutions to safety and health issues, helping businesses prosper and workforces thrive. IOSH offers a range of free tools and guides on our website and also provides a range of quality training products that can be tailored to each organisation's needs. IOSH supports safety and health professionals worldwide, providing IPD, CPD and networking opportunities.

As well as our UK and international branches, IOSH has a number of sector-specific groups that cover manufacturing activities, such as Food and Drink Group; Aviation and Aerospace Group; Hazardous Industries Group; as well as our Environment and Waste Management Group which covers recycling.

Many of them offer low-cost events that may be of interest to manufacturers and are open to non-members. IOSH was represented on the forum which produced the recently revised version of HSE's A Recipe for Safety guidance for the Food and Drink manufacturing sector.

If you could bestow one gift on UK manufacturing, what would that be?

A well-trained, skilled and resourced workforce, able to design-out safety and health problems and design-in resilience at the inception stage of all projects, and ensure ongoing risk management throughout the organisations operations, providing tremendous benefits to businesses, workers and society.

IOSH has recently produced a paper, in collaboration with many of the leading engineering institutions, titled 'The business case for engineering in health and safety', available at This contains examples of engineering-related design successes. I would also like to see more showcasing and positive stories about UK manufacturing including the innovative and effective health and safety practices of so many of our manufacturing enterprises.

What makes British manufacturing great?

It would have to be the workforce, which most employers agree is their greatest asset. So, as well as the legal and moral imperatives, this underlines why organisations need effective safety and health management – it's good for business and should be viewed as an investment, not a cost.

We know that research has shown a link between positive feelings about work and higher productivity, profitability and customer and worker loyalty. British manufacturing is synonymous with quality and more and more people in Britain are seeking British made goods, understanding its importance in relation to sustainability (including safety and health) and the British economy.

Which was the first factory you ever visited and what impressed you most about it?

I remember watching Blue Peter as a child and being fascinated by some of the footage of how toothbrushes were made. Many years later, I was fortunate enough to be an HSE inspector and this gave me the opportunity to visit many different factories and manufacturing processes.

Every visit was an eye-opener and I learned so much about how things are made. I can remember being amazed at the speed and accuracy of a huge CNC lathe. I also visited a large milk factory and was really impressed by the scale of the operation and complexity of ensuring the milk was kept fresh and delivered to the retailers within tight timescales.

I was also lucky enough to visit the Denby factory and it was great to see the plates and cups we use at home being crafted by the skilled workers.


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