A major new health and safety initiative, which has recently been adopted by the leading manufacturers within the food and drink industry, is set to make it impossible for external contractors to work on site unless they hold a 'Safety Passport'.
One company which has implemented the new regulations is Packaging Automation, a Cheshire-based provider of food and drink packaging. In doing so the company has trained 42 members of its staff, who are now qualified to hold a 'Safety Passport'. The company says that the employees involved in the project span all sections of the company including sales, design, project management, service, mechanical and electrical assembly.
The scheme has been initiated by food and drink manufacturers along with contractors working in the food and drinks industries, in a bid to improve safety standards. Nationally backed by the Institution for Occupational Safety & Health and The Safety Pass Alliance, the safety passport training course has been specially designed to meet the requirements of the food and drink sectors.
Packaging Automation says that the implementation of the programme means that it should quickly become a gold standard. The training offers a number of benefits including quicker site mobilisation for contractors, improved employee health and safety awareness along with a better safety culture. Packaging Automation was awarded the 'Investors in People' accolade in 2000.
According to the PPMA, the new scheme took effect from the 1st of January 2003, when the holding of the safety passport became mandatory for all external contractors working on site within the food and drinks industries.
PPMA spokesperson Hannah Saunders who administers the training said: "The safety passport scheme will have a phased introduction. Some of the first companies to insist that all contractors have a safety passport are Nestle and Northern Foods.
Commenting on the safety initiative, Packaging Automation's managing director, Carol Royle said: "Packaging Automation take the safety of our employees and customers extremely seriously. We are pleased we can formally support this with an accreditation such as the Safety Passport. Some 40 per cent of our employees now hold the passport, which demonstrates our commitment to maintaining our reputation as the leading manufacturer and supplier of heat sealing equipment in the UK."