GlaxoSmithKline safety record falls below industry average

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has set a number of targets to improve its health and safety record, according to its 2007 Corporate Responsibility report.

The move comes in the wake of 1,278 illness or injury incidents reported last year by the company, taking GSK’s health and safety performance below the industry average.

Many of the incidents were to do with chemical exposure, driving accidents and process safety, and the total included three separate incidents of employees losing fingertips while using machinery.

During annual inspections, auditors also identified nine separate occasions where there was a high probability of incidents with potentially serious consequences.

This included inadequate control of flammable substances and risk of chemical exposure.

Plans for improvement include making 80% of operations which involve the handling of chemical compounds ‘respirator free’ by 2010. This means that it will be safe for employees to handle hazardous chemicals without protective respiratory equipment.

Following the explosion at GSK’s Irvine-based factory in March 2006, when two people were injured, a new safety management system has been developed for all sites and will be implemented later this year.

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