Developing and nurturing a health and safety culture
The Welch Group/Welch’s Transport – serving the local market
The Welch Group was founded in 1934 by brothers Gordon and Jim Welch with one three-tonne Morris, petrol-driven truck from a small village in South Cambridgeshire.
Today, the Welch Group of Companies employs 165 industry professionals with an annual turnover in excess of £12 million. The company has grown into a nationwide service provider, diversifying into many related industries including transport, warehousing, crane hire and truck centres.
Operating across various locations including Cambridge, Bedfordshire, Witham, Peterborough and St Ives in Cambridgeshire, The Welch Group delivers both nationally and into Europe.
For an overview of its services, please take a look at www.welchgroup.co.uk
Health and Safety principles
Aware of the dangerous environments the company’s team of operators often work within, Welch Group has always taken a very safety-conscious approach. Jim Welch, Managing Director, comments:
“Within our industry, you have to jump through so many hoops in order to gain an operator’s licence. It’s positive to see that the haulage industry – in general – has become a safer one to work in.
“At Welch’s we have always had a very strong safety record because we want to keep our people safe. However, we are determined not to become complacent. We have made a real effort to create a safe working environment, but we know we can always do more in order to minimise potential risks. We saw the need to more deeply embed health and safety into the company culture – across the business.”
Working with Hosking Associates
General Manager Ian Lawton is responsible within The Welch Group for implementing safety standards, and Tony Welch is the board director who oversees standards. They hold quarterly health and safety meetings at each of the depots, and the emphasis has always been on practical implementation from apprentice all the way through the organisation. The company has gained its ISO9001 and ISO14001 standards, but wanted to take it to the next level – and thought the time had come to outsource.
Mike Bentham, sales and marketing director, added: “A business of our size should always look to refine what we do. Hosking Associates was recommended to us, and carried out a detailed review of how we actually manage our safety and health responsibilities. One of the outcomes from this was to coordinate management training programs. We had no hesitation in proceeding with this.
“We employ managers to run the business from each depot, and we are always keen for them to understand the risks and to properly engage staff across the company.
“Hosking Associates worked hard to really understand our business and what we do, and to become part of the company in order for their team to add maximum value.”
The initial review provided observations for The Welch Group to undertake over the first three to six months.
IOSH Managing Safely course
The IOSH Managing Safely Course, which was recommended and delivered by Hosking Associates, ran over four weeks during April and May 2016.
The main content of the course covered risk assessment, along with legal aspects of health and safety. Nine senior managers attended, covering eight modules.
Jim Welch: “The course was well structured and very thought provoking. The most striking thing that came out of the training was the importance placed on responsibility and accountability. You can always delegate responsibility, but as the employer you will be accountable.
“It highlighted the importance placed on current and future directors – stressing the commitment required. We’re enthusiastic about the need to future-proof the business and to make it as safe as possible.”
“The team at Hosking Associates are knowledgeable and experienced. They provide a relaxed and informative approach – always looking to bring it back to the brief,” added Mike Bentham.
“We’re in the early days of cascading the health and safety approach. We have action plans in place for each of our sites, including time frames and responsibilities. And we have very much appreciated Hosking Associates knowledgeable and process-driven approach. We all feel in a better place for the work which has been undertaken so far.”
Louise Hosking said: “The Welch Group has truly embraced the need to embed health and safety into its working culture, and it’s positive to see its importance being filtered across the company – at all levels.
“We’re looking forward to further developing the relationship, and ensuring the company is as best as it can be from a health and safety perspective.”
About Hosking Associates
Established in 2005, Hosking Associates focuses on health and safety and the environment. Its consultants help companies and schools create a healthy and safe environment for their workforce and anyone who comes to the premises.
The company works with organisations as the health, safety and/or environmental manager – either within organisations that prefer to outsource, or where an internal resource is not necessary.
Hosking Associates saves organisations money by helping them comply with the law. The team works in partnership with clients and doesn’t just run risk or impact assessments. Instead, they guide them through the process – giving them the tools, training and confidence to manage all aspects of health, safety and sustainability on their own.
For further information please contact:
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