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An interview with Bruce Munroe, Antalis – Why health and safety should always be paramount

19th June 2018

What do you feel should be the priority when it comes to safety for a paper merchant?

As with any organisation the priority must be to look after the safety and wellbeing of its employees. Creating an environment which minimises risk and ensures that employees come into work and complete their duties free from harm is at the heart of everything we do. We do this by:

  • Ensuring Senior Leaders are actively engaged in safety
  • Ensuring our employees receive regular information about safety and are actively involved in our safety agenda
  • Giving our employees knowledge and skills so that they can act safely in any circumstance
  • Encouraging and recognising safe behaviour so that health and safety becomes automatic

Safety first, and all the time is the Antalis motto for safety. How do you ensure that employees understand and work to that ethos?

For Antalis, instilling safety starts as soon as an employee joins our organisation. Introducing our approach to safety and its importance takes place during the company induction. We then continue to implement regular training so that our employees understand our commitment to safety and why.

Our meetings always start with a Health & Safety update, where we communicate results so that every employee across the organisation knows how we are performing. We also have a simple set of golden rules so that they understand the part they play.

We saw in 2017 that Antalis had been named as a winner at the RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents), Health and Safety Awards, for the sixth consecutive year. How much work goes in to winning this kind of accolade?

We are very proud of this achievement and it does take lots of hard work to achieve this standard. RoSPA review all of our systems and processes in relation to safety, they look at our results and the culture within the organisation before presenting such an award. Each year we need to show that we take our approach to safety to the next level and so it is very much about continuous improvement in relation to Health and Safety.

We have a commitment to work towards “Zero accidents” in all areas, which is a very similar ethos to International Paper.

If you had one piece of advice on how a business could improve their safety standards, what would it be?

It’s vital to involve your people in the Health and Safety agenda – so that they can take ownership. If they feel they can share ideas, be involved in initiatives and challenge unsafe behaviour at any level of the organisation you will have more engagement in this area, which in itself, will drive better safety standards.

Also, don’t forget about “health” – it’s also important that we talk about issues that can affect employee health. We provide access to information and advice through our Occupational Health and Employee Assistance programme specifically in relation to this topic.