DS Smith’s journey to Vision Zero
The safety of all people – employees, agency workers, contractors and visitors – is absolutely paramount. It is our number one priority, every day.
At DS Smith, we recognise that having a healthy and safe workplace is the cornerstone of being a sustainable, responsible and profitable business. So, incorporated in our set of nine new sustainability targets, we have redefined our target for health and safety which includes two clear goals:
- Zero accidents
- Vision Zero Harm
These goals have always been a top priority for DS Smith. In our recently published Sustainability Review 2018, we were pleased to report that our performance has been positive. The number of lost time accidents (LTAs) in the 2017/18 financial year reduced from 2016/17, and a grand total of 239 of our sites achieved zero LTAs for the entire year – a great success for those involved! These sites have received certificates and we hope to recognise this achievement at even more sites in 2019.
However, we recognise that we must not become complacent as we still have a long way to go to achieve Vision Zero.
Vision Zero is our newly launched health and safety strategy. It aims to provide a culture where both health and safety are an integral part of our business activities and where we strive to ensure people are not harmed. Vision Zero encompasses both of our health and safety goals.
We continuously update and maintain our processes and systems so we can make vital progress against our zero accidents target and move towards our vision of Zero Harm. This is important not just for our existing sites but also for sites that we integrate into the Group following acquisitions.
Setting high expectations and the foundation of a healthy and safe culture right at the start of our integration process is vital, and our strategy has proven to be highly effective. We have seen vast improvements in our European sites that have integrated into the business over the last few years, and we are now seeing exceptional progress in our North America Packaging and Paper division.
The challenge is to continuously raise our standards and maintain focus, throughout all of our sites and over the years.
We are committed to our Vision Zero strategy and are confident that our focus on challenging and raising our standards, in addition to ensuring we are engaging our employees in H&S, will result in a zero harm culture within our sites — Julie Westcott, Group Health and Safety Director
Going above and beyond
At DS Smith, we are committed to continuously pushing ourselves to improve and exceed minimum standards to be a sustainable, responsible and profitable business. For example, leading the way in zero harm initiatives is our UK Recycling division. All large goods vehicle (LGV) drivers have been equipped with a ‘lone worker risk management device’ which acts as an SOS fob with inbuilt fall detector, tilt alarm and GPS to alert a team of specialist support staff in the event of an accident. Whether the drivers are on-site or off-site, on the road networks or at a third party facility, the device significantly improves speed of emergency response.
And of course, zero harm is not just about safety. Health and wellbeing is becoming an area of increasing focus, particularly relating to mental health – research suggests that one in four people will experience a mental health issue every year and recent research estimates that each year, mental health accounts for almost 70 million sick days in the UK alone. In response, our Fordham site in the UK has delivered Mental Health First Aid training to employees and further training is planned for other UK sites within the next year.
People are at the heart of our business so we, as well as every other business in the industry, are responsible for protecting, supporting and engaging them in an ever changing world. The business thrives when people are able to thrive.