BOC is the largest provider of industrial, medical and special gases in the UK and Ireland. The company has been producing atmospheric gases, including oxygen, nitrogen and argon for over 120 years. Its portfolio today includes thousands of different gases and mixtures, as well as related equipment and services. Internationally BOC is a member of The Linde Group, a world leading gases and engineering company with almost 50,000 employees working in around 100 countries worldwide.
When the company approached the challenge of eliminating all accidents, the Management Team (at the company’s top performing Morden site) agreed that the only solution was the total involvement of all employees. While there was already excellent demonstration of interdependent behaviour, they set about developing a total behavioural programme, to further improve safety performance.
The company identified Lattitude’s Meerkat Safety® philosophy as the ideal approach to work towards their vision of 100% SHEQ, 100% of the time. All For One – The Meerkat Way formed the basis of the programme, with the meerkat becoming a focal point and symbol for all things safety.
“Meerkat’s became the focal point and symbol for all things safety”
BOC’s safety management began Support Groups (made up from people on the shop floor) to engage and understand the workforce. The teams designed campaigns and competitions to spread the message throughout all levels of the site. After receiving additional professional training, the Support Group Leaders help set the safety agenda for their area of operation. They continually develop existing safety materials using the Meerkat Safety® message, specifically targeted to their working area. On a monthly basis the Support Groups deliver presentations to the whole site describing progress, details of campaigns and competition results. Quarterly, The Meerkat Award recognises the best Support Groups. In addition, the introduction of family days has receieved a fantastic response.
This engagement and involvement of BOC’s people has meant that 53% of the Morden site’s staff currently take on additional SHEQ roles. They have seen a 400% rise in the number of suggested improvements and a 30% increase in behavioural observations.
BOC has since been awarded the prestigious European Safety Award. Highlighting the real concern and team ethic of the program Gordon Cribbes, BOC Regional Production Manager, has said: “To be incident-free across all these disciplines for 15 years is a fantastic achievement – and one that the whole team can be very proud of.”
By empowering their people, BOC have successfully changed the way safety is treated in their workplace. Using the Meerkat Safety® philosophy, they have removed the behavioural barriers that were preventing a truly interdependent safety culture. The company is now planning to improve other sites by recreating the same culture again by using the Meerkat Safety® programme.