Allied Bakeries London named winner of IOSH food and drink awards

05 October 2016

A production site for one of Britain’s leading bread manufacturers has won an international award for putting safety and health at the heart of its operations.

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Allied Bakeries London was named the winner of the International Food and Drink Health and Safety Awards 2016, after staff at its production site in Walthamstow introduced measures to make hazard reporting easier for workers.

The awards were announced during the National Food and Drink Manufacturing Health and Safety Conference, held at Forest Pines Hotel & Golf Resort in Broughton, North Lincolnshire, on 4-5 October.

Delegates today (Wednesday 5 October) heard from the award winners about the positive changes made at Allied Bakeries London over the past year.

The site’s manufacturing frontline manager, Chris Bulgen, said staff acted after noticing an increase in minor accidents in the manufacturing department, due in part to the installation of a new high-speed bread making plant.

“Previous to this installation the manufacturing department had a low accident culture,” he said.

“Analysis showed that the accidents were in the main avoidable cuts from the new equipment, or operators taking shortcuts and displaying poor behaviours. We also noticed a low number of hazards being reported.”

To address the issue, Chris said the site’s manufacturing safety team decided to create a hub to give safety and health a high-profile presence within the manufacturing area.

The project started in March 2015 and resulted in a ‘Safety Matters’ table being installed at a cost of just £250.

It contained hazard reporting books to allow for instant reporting, information boards and a digital clock which reset every time a hazard was reported.

Chris said: “The safety team was on-hand to aid operatives through the reporting process. This helped build confidence around documenting the issue and empowering them to take the initiative and deal with the hazard.

“The idea of the clock was that it should never reach 12 hours as this would signify that we had not reported a hazard for the equivalent of a complete shift. It had an instant impact on hazard reporting and has resulted in a 40% reduction in the department’s accident rate.”

He added: “This was not a cost-saving exercise. This was all about accident reduction and getting back to the low accident culture we had become used to.”

The awards were organised by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) Food and Drink Industries Group, with the support of the Food and Drink Manufacture Health and Safety Forum in the UK.

Entries were open to both individuals and teams of people working in the food or drink manufacturing industry. For winning, Allied Bakeries London received a trophy, certificate and £750.

Two runners-up prizes were also given to G’s head office in Barway, Cambridgeshire, and G’s Fresh Beetroot in March, Cambridgeshire, to recognize improvements to safety around transport operations at both sites.

IOSH Food and Drink Industries Group committee member Doug Russell, who chaired the awards’ judging panel, said: “There were some very good stories to tell through this year’s awards.

“One company had success in eliminating false fire alarms at its site. Another worked with a supplier to design a modified truck to carry two tote bins at a time across the production floor.

“There were new trials to tackle slips, trips and falls, and culture change programmes. Some were very simple and straight forward, others were much bigger undertakings.

“What they all had in common was clear evidence that they were engaging workers in the process. They all used innovation to improve health and safety and the ideas have the potential to be shared and applied in other workplaces.”

Image: Chris Bulgen (far left), manufacturing frontline manager at Allied Bakeries London, with the International Food and Drink Health and Safety Award 2016.