In this weeks Leading the Way blog, Health & Safety Officer, Debbie Mayneord, explains some of the ways Bristow & Sutor ensure ongoing success as well sharing recent developments in accreditation the business has achieved.
Over to Debbie …
Accreditation and certification show potential and current customers, as well as employees, that best practice is taken seriously. For that reason, we are delighted to reveal that Bristow & Sutor has successfully renewed our CHAS (Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme) accreditation. Achieving CHAS demonstrates that our business maintains high standards of health and safety, has robust related processes and meets the expectations of independent third-party professionals.
Qualified personnel carry out these assessments over 6 to 10 weeks and ensure a company is fulfilling everything that is required by law, as well as requesting evidence of measures and compliance related to health & safety, financial records, GDPR, equality, anti-bribery, modern slavery, environmental considerations and much more. This is not an easy process and committing to the time and transparency required undoubtedly reflects that our quality management systems remain a key strength.
Why is this important in enforcement?
Accreditation shows potential and current customers as well as our own employees that we take best practice seriously and this is especially important in enforcement. Local Authorities often require their prospective partners to demonstrate they are professional and safety conscious, requesting evidence of the commitments a business has made when SLA agreements and contracts are discussed. CHAS accreditation demonstrates we meet these standards and, because this needs to be renewed annually, clients can be confident our approach is applied on an ongoing basis.
Demonstrating you have good Health & Safety provisions is important externally but even more so internally, as this directly impacts the security and happiness of people within the business. All of our Enforcement Agents (EAs) receive conflict management training with useful advice and guidance on how to keep themselves safe out on the road and in the local community. Lone workers are always at risk of encountering difficult situations and we ensure every PDA supplied to EAs includes a panic alarm feature. This sends an alert so that a manager can quickly call to check-in and if they do not receive a response or confirmation of help being required is made, the emergency services can be notified and dispatched. Vehicles and movements are always tracked but there is even an automated notification to the office if an agent is ‘off grid’ for a certain amount of time, so that a supervisor can mitigate perceived danger and ensure safety is confirmed.
Development over time
When I joined the business in October 2000, Health & Safety was already an important consideration of the Bristow & Sutor approach, but we have certainly enhanced our offering in the years that have followed. We have pro-actively increased the amount of Mental Health First-Aid (MHFA) personnel across the entire group, which is significant as this now allows for an employee of Bristow & Sutor, for example, to share their thoughts and feelings with an employee at Credit Style. This can make some people feel more comfortable and likely to take the opportunity to speak to someone as there is less fear of judgement if it is not a conversation with someone in their direct team. We also recognised that the MHFA team themselves would benefit from support and have organised monthly catch-up sessions, establishing a supportive network and forum to share experiences and advice. We also do this with our regular First Aid team and HR members of staff, who join us to offer guidance in both instances.
Company-wide accreditation is not the only way we ensure development either, as we also invest in new employees and the continued growth of all our people. Joshua Hall, for example, joined my team as a Health & Safety/Quality Assistant around 3months ago. He has made a fantastic start, contributed fresh ideas and made a significant impact on our administration and technology proficiency. We are supporting Joshua to take NEBOSH exams this year and recognise expanding his understanding in this way will benefit both his career personally and add even more knowledge and expertise to our department.
To understand more about how Bristow & Sutor employees continue to approach Health & Safety, you can read our blog from last year here.