Page 1: Introduction
Adding value to a product involves making it more desirable and better for the final consumer. Ways of adding value to a product or service include improved design and functionality. For many products one of the most important ways of adding value is through health and safety (H&S). This is particularly true in the construction industry where customers, employees and the wider public expect buildings to be safe as well as attractive.
Portakabin is part of the Shepherd Group. This is a family company which preserves all the benefits of family values. These benefits include caring for employees, valuing the communities to which it supplies modular buildings, as well as the local community in York where the company is based. The Portakabin brand is the most widely recognised brand in modular construction in the UK. Portakabin modular buildings provide high quality working environments for many other businesses and organisations, for example, office buildings and schools through to hospitals and hospitality suites.
Health and safety policies form a key component of the Portakabin Corporate Social Responsibility document and are an integral part of the business where it is actively promoted through a diverse working culture. Portakabin not only constructs and sells new modular buildings but also hires out buildings, for example, when a school needs interim accommodation quickly. Therefore, health and safety is a key consideration in each of these situations, especially in relation to a safe environment for children to work and play in throughout the school day.
The advantages of modular buildings
Modular building is at least 37.7% safer than traditional construction methods. Modular buildings are produced in a factory and then assembled at the construction site. The materials are relatively safe to transport. They can be assembled quickly using standard procedures and checks, reducing risk at every stage of the process. For example, there are 90% fewer vehicle movements to site in modular construction when compared with traditional construction methods.
The overall responsibility for health and safety in a company rests with the Board of Directors. They ensure that effective H&S policies and practices are in place in the company and that they demonstrate a commitment to health and safety being promoted. However, health and safety is the responsibility of everyone who works for a company. Training is vital to ensure that everyone understands what is expected of them.
Often the importance of health and safety and how it is achieved can be overlooked when analysing business practices. This case study explains in detail how Portakabin implements health and safety policy and highlights the benefits this brings to the business.