After a detailed British Safety Council audit in spring 2014, VGC has been awarded an overall audited score of 82.33%, and a cumulative score of 80.3%, giving an overall grading of three stars.
The audit of VGC’s health and safety management systems included a review of safety management documentation, interviews with managers and staff, and site tours and inspections. The process compared the company to leading organisations in other industries such as aerospace and nuclear, and in some areas rated VGC as leading the way.
The British Safety Council audit process focuses on five sections and two safety management indicators. VGC’s separate section scores were:
- Policy and organisation (85.87%) ‘clear and well communicated’
- Strategy and planning (73%) ‘documents are of a high quality’
- Implementation and operation (84.7%) ‘workplaces are safe places of work’
- Performance measurement (84.41%) ‘sound arrangements’
- Evaluation and review (87.91%) ‘regular and detailed opportunities to consider progress’
- Continuous improvement (79.63%) ‘demonstrated continual improvement’
- Leadership (80.96%) ‘directors are genuinely and actively interested in health and safety’
“We decided to have the audit to see what the experts would say when they compared us to the best of the best. They said that some of our systems were benchmarking absolutely best practice, and we’re very proud of that,” said Terry Dutton-Wells, HSQE Director. “We were particularly pleased that we achieved 100% for some sub-sections, such as work equipment, safe working and operating procedures, competence and capability, and emergency incident management.
“The audit also offers us a structured path for continuous improvement: we gained some very useful suggestions for how we can improve, for example improving the process for consulting and cascading our objectives to all VGC staff.”
The British Safety Council audit noted VGC’s commitment to health and safety. VGC has also recently achieved an ‘outstanding’ rating in its National Skills Academy for Rail Engineering (NSARE) audit and successfully passed the Link-Up audit, with favourable comments including “The company should be commended for the issue of rewards to individuals involved in the implementation of refusing to work on the grounds of health and safety in the event of an unsafe situation.” Future audits planned include the Achilles Building Confidence Audit.
The British Safety Council Five Star audit involves an in-depth examination of an organisation’s entire health and safety management system(s) and associated arrangements, focusing on the key aspects of its approach to managing occupational health and safety in the workplace.
The Five Star Audit process focuses on five sections:
- Policy and organisation
- Strategy and planning
- Implementation and operation
- Performance measurement
- Evaluation and review
and two safety management indicators:
- Continual improvement
‘Implementation and operation’ is the most heavily weighted section, with ‘strategy and planning’ and ‘performance measurement’ being joint second.