Companies that work with union representatives to overcome safety issues at work can cut accident rates by up to 50 per cent, the GMB has claimed.
The union has been working with companies such as British Gas Transco, GKN Wheels, Nestle and William Baird at management and factory-floor levels in an attempt to coordinate safety improvements, bringing down the number of accidents at each.
Improvements made at textile company William Baird – where a new needle guard recommended by the scheme totally eradicated hand-needle injuries – are now to become standard practice throughout the EU.
Cuts from sewing machines had previously been the biggest cause of work lost through injury.
A spokesman said, “The needle guards have now become standard on all new sewing machines throughout the European Union.
“Employees who had cut themselves would previously have had to visit the first aid post and have the injury inspected – by preventing this from happening, companies can save time and money.”
The union also claimed to have reduced accidents at GKN by 38 per cent and Nestle by 40 per cent with a special training programme for managers and the workforce.
Nigel Bryson, GMB director of Health and Environment, said, “Partnership at work and reducing accidents are popular theories – we are putting these into practice.”