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Tim Proctor, Director of Health, Safety, Environment, Quality and Corporate Responsibility at ISS UK Limited discusses their latest injury prevention scheme and how it is helping to reduce risks in the workplace.

ISS, the global facilities management company has a clear vision of the future; it is, “we are going to be the World’s greatest service organisation”. There is clear recognition that this can only happen in an arena of trust between clients, employees, contractors and the service provider. Part of that trust is that we will act in a safe and assured way; so how is this achieved? One clear way of demonstrating this goal is by having an effective health and safety system backed by continual performance improvement.

Since joining ISS UK in 2012, I have worked with our teams on a range of effective safety concepts and campaigns resulting in a marked improvement on our safety performance and the perception of safety, both inside and outside the company. These campaigns work best together and here we will look at one in particular; our award winning ‘Near Hit’ campaign.

The theory behind it is that by reporting and doing something about the events that might have resulted in an injury but didn’t - isn’t a new one. Frank E. Bird Jnr studied industrial accidents in 1969 inspired by the book ‘Industrial Accident Prevention’ by W. M. Heinrich, which itself was first published in 1931. Both books highlighted the marked relationship between the number of accidents resulting in serious injuries, minor injuries and the incidents that do not result in injuries - but could have.

These developments are well founded

in health and safety practice and the ideas form part of the thinking behind


the occupational health and safety standard - BS OHSAS 18001:2007. I think of this as taking action the right side of the pain barrier.

Theory is fine but it is practice that gets the results and it is teamwork that makes things happen. At our first internal HSE Conference at ISS in 2012 which brought together representatives of the various business units, we looked at how we could create and promote a near miss campaign and what that should consist of.

‘Near Hit’ rather than ‘Near Miss’ was decided upon on as the title as it forces people to think differently. The group, drawing on their expertise developed a range of mutually supporting materials; specifically a series of posters, promotional films and a stand-alone booklet used to record incidents and give brief reminders on Near Hits.



The films were produced in association with Envision, a noted communications company. Robert James, Envision’s Creative Director, had worked with us on a previous series of four high quality safety films called “Stop + Think”. For our Near Hit films, Robert worked with a mix of hard-hitting storylines,

real-life locations and convincing scenarios that emotionally attach the viewer to the idea that reporting Near Hits is the way of avoiding the pain and hurt of such incidents.

The success of the formula is proven by various measures; it was universally well received within the company, by client organisations and, ultimately, by winning a prestigious Telly award in April 2014 in the Non-Broadcast Productions – safety category. The Telly awards attracted over 12,000 entries from five continents, providing stiff competition.

Neil Jones, a Specialist Services Manager on a client site probably summed up the real world impact best, commenting: “Since introducing the Near Hit campaign we have seen a reduction in accidents on-site, and our employees are much more vigilant in reporting issues than they were before”.

When in 2012 I was first tasked with leading ISS’s improvement in health and safety our record was 145 RIDDORS [Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013]; we have now reduced this to 69. The Near Hit campaign didn’t do this alone; it works alongside our “3es” concept (Health & Safety and how it applies to ‘everyone/ everything/every time’) and our CAUSE (Creative Actions Underpinning Sustainable Excellence’) behavioural safety programme, which is designed to highlight environmental awareness and actions that take place throughout our daily activities. Through this integrated strategy, we are aiming at better and better performance.

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