Health & Safety in the modern workplace
A MFI Furniture Group case study

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Page 7: Health and Safety policy

Policies provide working guidelines for employees to follow. MFI's safety policy has been continually updated and developed over time in response to changes in store layouts, distribution arrangements, changes in management structures and changes in legislation.

The most recent major changes occurred in 1992 when some of the responsibilities for Health and Safety were moved from a centralised Health and Safety function to empowered store managers who were made fully responsible for their own Health and Safety standards, supported by good quality safety training for management. At the same time, an auditing system was established which made it possible for stock auditors to check the performance of stores compared to national norms. Cash prizes are awarded to stores which are able to exceed specified targets. These targets are established on the basis of previous performance. Stores are supplied with information on a regular basis on how they are performing compared to the targets set for them (enabling them to try to improve performance). Individual managers who are able to produce excellent Health and Safety results are recognised (named) in a special bulletin at the end of the financial year.

The MFI Safety Policy statement presents an overview of how it shares the task of ensuring good standards of Health and Safety within the business. Detailed policies are primarily contained within risk assessment documents, the safety audit documents and associated guidance documents.

Safety bulletins are issued every one to two weeks which draw attention to specific problems or concerns. Often these involve requests for feedback from retail managers about potential safety problems. Safety policy is implemented through safety training of staff by management. It is also communicated during training of management by the safety advisor team.

Safety bulletins (known as Hotlines) are issued during the year, and risk assessment documents, which contain safety rules, are reviewed and redistributed to keep people up-to-date with changes.

National legislation which is likely to impact on businesses is always published as a 'Consultative Document' before it becomes law. This gives organisations like MFI the opportunity to voice their opinion about anything they are unhappy with. It also helps MFI to anticipate likely new changes. MFI belongs to the British Retail Consortium, which acts as an influential voice for the retail sector. Through membership of the BRC, MFI is given advance warning of new EU directives which impact on working practice.

MFI Furniture Group | Health & Safety in the modern workplace