Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Nifco employees overcome the fear of learning
Article Type: Notes and news From: Industrial and Commercial Training, Volume 40, Issue 3.
A company that faced closure in August 2003 following a visit by the Health and Safety Executive turned to training for survival and earned itself a North-east Award in the UK National Training Awards.
Nifco UK Ltd, a Japanese-owned specialist in making injection molding and assembled plastic parts for Nissan, Ford and Toyota, had lost money in the previous two years. The directors developed a plan to return to profit, with health and safety as a key issue.
Frances Hoy, Nifco Human Resources Manager, said there were 17 accidents a month in 2004. “The main objective for individuals was to manage health and safety better in their respective areas. We as a company believe strongly that if you cannot manage health and safety, then quite simply you cannot manage”.
Staff, whose average age was 38 and the majority of whom had done little or no further education, needed to be able to conduct risk assessments, redesign the workplace to remove hazards, improve housekeeping and reduce the rate of production rejects.
Nifco chose Century 21 Projects to deliver the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Managing Safely course to 72 people managers, team leaders, technical staff, union workers and health and safety committee members. All 72 gained the qualification. The benefits of the training, which represented an investment of £27,000, were enormous.
Accidents were reduced to four a month, reject rates fell, staff turnover and absence were reduced, overall equipment efficiency improved and the company made a seven-figure saving on costs, including insurance. The company achieved a four-star British Safety Council health and safety rating and won the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development’s 2005 Tees Valley Best Practice Award.
Frances Hoy said the program overcame the fear of learning among the workforce. “The improved performance of people and teams following the training far exceeded the company’s expectations, because we believed people would be reluctant to take responsibility. It shows that once you give people ownership of tasks they will strive to achieve excellent performance. These outstanding results have given individuals a great sense of pride and the belief that they can achieve excellence in performance and that the company can go from strength to strength”.