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Health & Safety

Health and Safety Objectives / Responsibility

Continuous improvement of health and safety performance is essential for Link 51. The health and well being of its employees, contractors and any person affected by its activities is of paramount importance to the company in the way it conducts its business.

Link 51 specific Health and Safety objectives are outlined below:

  • To ensure that due care and attention is paid to the health and safety of employees, sub-contractors, persons visiting company premises, customers and the general public
  • To ensure that all legal requirements are satisfied
  • To identify, evaluate and minimise the risks associated with its operations
  • To make available to employees and others with legitimate interest, information relating to health and safety
  • To ensure that when new production processes or other facilities are being considered, health and safety aspects are taken into account and Employees are consulted at an early stage
  • To ensure that Company products can be manufactured, used, handled, stored installed, distributed and disposed of safely so that, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of employees, customers and the general public are not put at risk
  • To ensure that products supplied by third parties can be used, handled, stored installed, distributed and disposed of safely so that, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of employees, customers and the general public are not put at risk
  • To require that contractors working on Company premises, or under the operational control of the Company, comply with this policy
  • To establish facilities for employees to make a contribution towards the achievement of the Company’s health and safety objectives
  • To review at least annually the application of the Health and Safety Policy and, if appropriate, to implement remedial action

Responsibilities of Directors, Manager and team Leaders

The Management Board will ensure that an effective Health and Safety Policy exists for all Company locations.

The Health and Safety Executive Committee will meet at least quarterly to consider, among other matters, the relevance of the policy and, if necessary, to recommend changes.

At least once a year the Board of Directors will consider whether the policy requires amendment.

The Board member with overall responsibility for the Health and Safety Policy is the Chief Executive.

The responsibility for implementing the policy rests with the Members of the Board of Directors who, together with their Managers and Team Leaders, are responsible for ensuring the observance of the policy and for communicating the policy to each and every employee.

Duties of employees

Whilst the implementation of the policy is a management responsibility, the full co-operation of all employees is essential to its success. It is the duty of employees to act responsibly and to do everything possible to prevent injury to themselves, colleagues, visitors and the general public. In particular, employees have a duty to:

  • Work safely and responsibly.
  • Report incidents and circumstances that could create unsafe or unhealthy conditions.
  • Observe Company requirements on health and safety.
  • Comply with statutory obligations.

Communication, Safe Systems of Work and Training

The format of the Link 51 Health and Safety Executive Committee is split between ‘Operations’ and ‘Installation’.

Membership of the Health and Safety Executive Committee comprises of Location Managers, H R Manager, Safety, Training and Development Manager, Safety Officer and any other persons appointed by the Chief Executive. The Chief Executive will appoint the Chairman. The Chairman will nominate the secretary.

The Committee will meet at least four times a year to:

  • Review Company Policy and ensure that it remains relevant to the needs of the business
  • Receive and review reports from the Location Managers on the previous quarter’s health and safety matters
  • Consider recommendations made by the Safety Consultants
  • Report to the Chief Executive and Location Directors any significant deficiencies in health and safety practices and procedures

Safety Bulletins

Link 51 provides regular safety bulletins for all staff to help overall health and safety performance across the business. These often provide practical advice on how to prevent ill health and injuries through hazard identification, risk assessment and control. These communications encourage a culture in which employees should take ownership and priority of their own personal health and safety as well as others.

Safe Systems of Work

In view of the fact that Link 51 is a high volume processor of steel products there are certain production, installation and ancillary activities which are potentially hazardous. These activities are the subject of written documents referred to as “Safe Systems of Work”. The activities requiring such documentation are identified by the Location Manager and the “Safe Systems of Work” are written and agreed by Line Management or Team Leader.

Copies of the “Safe Systems of Work” are issued to appropriate Line Managers, Team Leaders and through briefings to Employees. In addition these are displayed on health & safety notice boards.

The Location Manager will review the coverage of “Safe Systems Of Work” documentation at least once a year to ensure that it remains comprehensive and relevant.

It is the responsibility of Line Management to ensure that new employees and employees who may be permanently or temporarily transferred into an area are briefed appropriately on the relevant “Safe Systems Of Work” document.

Where an activity is identified as high risk, the work will be carried out to previously agreed safety procedures and a formal Permit to Work issued for control of the task


The company has a responsibility to ensure that employees are properly trained and instructed on health and safety matters relating to their employment. To this end:

  • New employees will be given appropriate induction and safety training (through the Human Resource Department and/or the Team Leader concerned) so that they are adequately trained to perform their work safely
  • Directors, Managers, and Team Leaders will be kept aware of their health and safety responsibilities and will undertake any relevant training.
  • Employees will be given appropriate training in the event of transfer to other work or the introduction of new plant and equipment
  • Managers and Team Leaders will give special attention to the training requirements of certain categories of employees, e.g. Power Press Setters, Young Persons, Fork Lift Truck Drivers and Engineering Managers (or their subordinates) in relation to current statutory requirements
  • Location Managers, in conjunction with the Human Resource Department, will prepare a plan each year to identify health and safety training requirements for each location

Accident Reporting & Link 51 Safety Awards

The key performance indicator for Link 51 is reportable accidents to the HSE. Link is fully committed to improving the health and safety performance and to reduce accident rates across all of its business units in the UK.

The reportable accidents for Link 51 are significantly below average for all of its operating business units in the UK. This has meant that Link 51 has won the prestigious safety award from the British Safety Council for 3 consecutive years (including 2008).

Link 51 Safety Awards

Following gruelling tests by a strict independent adjudicating panel, Link 51 was given the latest esteemed International Safety Award by the British Safety Council in May 2008.

Only companies with below average accident rates are eligible to apply and winners must also have good safety policies, plans and commitment to health and safety at the highest level. They must detail their health and safety officers’ qualifications and provide information about significant advances they have made in health and safety for the year.

Mr David Ballard, Chief Executive of the British Safety Council, says: “Now in our fiftieth year, we have led the way in promoting heath, safety and environmental best practice is society. In the 21st century, many organisations worldwide are now making health and safety a top priority. Through achieving an International Safety Award, Link 51 is helping to make their vision of a safe working environment a reality.

Link 51 are extremely proud to have achieved these awards as it reflects the approach that the organisation takes to an extremely important issue. As the UK’s largest manufacturer in the field, Link 51 are extremely aware of the full range of health and safety issues that apply to both the manufacturing and administrative environments. Recognition of this type reflects not just on the company itself but is a credit to every member of the workforce whose responsibility it is to meet these exacting standards.

Safety Standards / Best Practice

SEIRS registered InstallersLink 51 places great emphasis on the safe design, installation and technical performance of all of the company’s storage products. To this end, Link 51 was one of the founder member companies of the Storage Equipment Manufacturer’s Association (SEMA), the national trade association for the storage equipment industry in the UK.

Wherever possible Link 51 conforms to SEMA’s industry standard codes of practice which cover aspects of design, installation and health and safety practice relating to the supply of shelving, racking and other storage equipment.

Link 51’s own method statements and procedures are based on the published SEMA guidelines.

Approved Installation Companies

Link 51 recommends that the installation of shelving, racking and storage equipment is only undertaken by experienced and trained personnel and preferably by installers who are SEIRS (Storage Equipment Installers Registration Scheme) registered. SEIRS is a qualification for individual installers who themselves undergo industry-specific training in best practice, legislation and safe working practice”

As from 1 March 2008, installation companies will be able to apply to become a SEMA Approved Installation Company (SAIC) to demonstrate their professionalism and dedication to safe working practices. All SEMA Approved Installation Companies must be following the SEIRS programme.

Chris Humphreys, SEMA President, states, “SEMA is constantly seeing to improve standards in all sectors of the storage industry. The SAIC initiative is a natural progression of our activities and has been introduced to recognise those installation companies who are committed to ‘raising the bar’”.

“As you can expect,” continues Chris Humphreys, “companies applying for SAIC status must meet the criteria and these criteria have their foundations in safe working practice”.

The SEMA President goes onto say, “installation companies will understand that they have a duty to their employees, their customers and indeed themselves. The industry has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. Many installation companies are now smaller, independent organisations. They are no longer tied to a particular manufacturer. They typically employ a core installation team or teams and many utilise temporary staff to supplement their teams for work which is essentially labour intensive”.

“Accordingly regulation is a necessity. This helps to ensure that standards are being met and also helps to meet the requirements of customers who are becoming increasingly demanding, particularly where safety is concerned”.

“The SAIC initiative ‘ticks all the boxes’ in this regard without being over bureaucratic as far as the company is concerned. It greatly assists in looking after the interests of employers, the employing company and their customers helping all to meet their duties.

Policing Storage Safety on Construction Sites

Link 51 is giving its full support to the latest step designed to maximise health and safety performance during installation of its products. The joint initiative between SEMA, the Storage Equipment Manufacturers Association (of which Link 51 are a founding member), and the CSCS, the Construction Skills Certification Scheme, will focus on improving safety standards on major construction sites.

Under this joint initiative, installers of storage equipment who need to carry out work on sites controlled by the MCG (Major Contractors Group), will have to demonstrate that they are operating to the Storage Equipment industry codes and guidelines, in addition to a knowledge of general site Health and Safety

This now means that installation team members will need to be in possession of a valid SEIRS qualification prior to applying for the relevant CSCS ID card.

“The SEIRS ID card, which must be renewed every three years, demonstrates a level of knowledge and a commitment on behalf of individuals operating in this labour intensive sector. SEIRS is both a training and an individual installers’ registration scheme which was first introduced in 2000 at the request of and in consultation with, the HSE”, and has been developing and improving ever since.

The training involves providing a clear understanding and the importance of working to industry best practice including safe system of work which are based on the SEMA Codes of Practice. These deal with the array of applicable legislation such as the Work at Height Regulations and correct use of appropriate PPE, but specifically focused on the installation of storage equipment. “Essentially”, continues Mike Tucker, “SEIRS is now a very comprehensive programme.

In parallel the CSCS have developed a system for the construction industry whereby site workers must be qualified in traditional construction industry skills.

However, when contractors from other industries work on construction sites they must now demonstrate relevant industry specific qualifications related to their own industry to supplement the general health and safety requirements of the CSCS in order to ensure that safety levels are maximised on site.

“Accordingly”, comments Gordon Jenkins of the CSCS, “it is now a pre-requisite that installers of storage equipment seeking to work on an MCG site must be in possession of a valid SEIRS ID card”.

Gordon Jenkins, goes on to say, “we are delighted to be working with SEMA and the SEIRS initiative to promote safe practice on our construction sites where storage equipment is being installed. SEMA is the organisation representing the interests of the UK storage equipment industry and, as a safety initiative regulating the installation process, all installers must now be in possession of a valid SEIRS ID card before being allowed to work on a MCG Site”.

“This system will be policed on MCG sites thus ensuring that subcontractors to the construction industry are appropriately qualified”.

Link 51, SEMA and the CSCS are jointly delighted to now see this initiative in place and are confident it will further improve safe systems of working on all sites.

Link 51 places great emphasis on the safe design, installation and technical performance of all company products.

As a founder member of the Storage Equipment manufactures’ Association (SEMA), the national trade association for storage equipment in the UK, Link 51 ensure that, wherever possible they conform to all applicable industry standards covering installation, including installation health and safety practice.

Link 51’s method statements and procedures are based on published SEMA guidelines, and Link 51 fully supports the Storage Equipment Installers Registration Scheme (SEIRS) operated by SEMA. This is a recent initiative endorsed by the HSE to promote and develop nationally recognised health and safety standards and training in the storage equipment installation industry.Link 51 also supports the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS). This scheme covers 220 occupations including trades, technical, supervisory and management.

The CSCS card lists the holder’s qualifications and is valid for either three or five years. It also demonstrates that they have health and safety awareness as all cardholders have to pass the appropriate CITB-Construction Skills Health and Safety Test.

Finally, Link 51’s quality assurance systems, assessed to ISO 9001:2008 cover not only manufacturing, but also installation, ensuring that all processes are formalised and regularly audited.

In practice, installation is undertaken towards the end of a structured “inception to completion” process, which ensures that all of the aspects of the project are in place to ensure successful completion.

Under the control of the Contracts Manager, the (3) Installation Co-ordinators arrange and confirm the various elements which need to come together, including the contracted Installation Team, materials (to the agreed programme) and hire equipment.

A skills matrix ensures that only suitably trained and qualified Installation Teams are selected for specific installation types, and a system of toolbox talks and on site quality auditing by Link 51’s Installation Quality Manager ensures that all training is up to date, and that Link 51’s high standards are always maintained on site.

It is also Link 51 policy to ensure that all installations are carried out under the supervision of a SEIRS registered installer.

The Installation Co-ordinators work closely with the client and all internal departments, including a dedicated and experienced team of 6 Project Managers and 4 Installation Supervisors (under the control of a Field Manager) to ensure that customer expectations are maintained, and that Link 51 are able to operate within site constraints and with other trades where required.

Monitoring performance

External Consultants are brought in to conduct an audit survey every twelve months for Link 51. These audits result in a report to the Location Director, Location Manager and Chief Executive, commenting on the general state of health and safety at a location and identifying arrangements in need of improvement.

In addition to comprehensive health and safety audits, other monitoring activities will take place. Including noise surveys regular reports from Location Managers to the appropriate Directors, quarterly meeting to the Company’s Health and Safety Executive Committee and regular briefing of the Chief Executive and Location Directors by the Chairman of the Health & Safety Executive Committee.

Lockers Health and Safety Requirements

  • Link 51 recommends lockers are fully installed to ensure maximum stability of product and reduce the opportunity for potential hazards.
  • Lockers should be fixed together using fixings supplied by Link 51.
  • Lockers should never be used for climbing to avoid the danger of personnel falling or lockers falling if not installed.
  • Manual handling recommendations and shelf load capacity should be followed if heavy items are to be placed in locker compartments.
  • Locker doors should be kept closed at all times apart from when being accessed to remove or insert property to avoid the danger of accidental collision with open doors.
  • Locker compartments should not be overfilled as this can prevent the door closing correctly and may obstruct the lock and prevent it from opening under correct operation.
  • Locks are to be operated with care. Forcing a lock may damage the mechanism. If a lock is reluctant to operate, contact the site manager.
  • Locker compartments should be set at the relevant height and size to suit users. Consideration should be given to the additional height of any frames or frame/seats supplied.
  • Locker doors should not be forced closed or open. In the former case, the compartment is potentially overfilled and should be repacked.
  • Link 51 recommends sloping tops are fitted to prevent collection of litter on top of lockers.
  • Link 51 recommends lockers are installed on frames to raise lockers from the floor and prevent potential damage during room cleaning. This is of particular importance in areas that are mopped down on a regular basis.
  • Lockers should be transported using suitable handling equipment (trolleys or trucks).
  • If lockers are installed in continuous runs, care should be taken when accessing an individual compartment to avoid contact with potentially open adjacent compartment doors.
  • Lockers should be checked for signs of wear and damage (security of wall / floor fixings if fitted) and cleaned on a regular basis appropriate to usage.
  • Damaged doors and locks should be replaced as soon as possible as the security of the locker may otherwise be compromised.
  • Lockers should be cleaned regularly. The use of liquids such as bleach, pine oil or solvents for cleaning is not recommend as these are likely to cause deterioration in the level of protection afforded by the surface finish and reduce the effectiveness of the BioCote® anti-microbial protection.
  • Abrasive cleaning agents should not be used under any circumstances as they will damage the surface finish and reduce the effectiveness of the BioCote® anti-microbial protection.
  • Locks and hinges are to be lubricated with recommended lubricant on a regular basis to ensure correct operation and extend product life.
  • Good all-round pedestrian access to, from and around the lockers should be maintained.
  • Lockers that are to be installed face to face should be positioned at a minimum recommended distance apart. The recommended distance may vary depending on door size. This is taken into consideration on layout drawings provided by Link 51. Contact Link 51 for full details.
  • Locker facilities should be designed with due consideration to the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

View our health and safety policy here.

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