Reducing the risks

Safegard’s services help create a safer working environment

Increasing government and EU legislation and regulations have made environmental health and safety a critical issue for every organisation, and a vital responsibility of management. As political pressures mount, it is business that will bear the brunt of environmental legislation. In the UK, for health and safety alone, there are more than 40,000 pages of legislation, codes of practice, best practice and general advice.

Risk assessment is now key to health and safety in organisations. Safety issues warrant no compromise and must be addressed. One of the leading organisations in this complex field is Safegard, a specialist division of Sodexho that operates as an autonomous consultancy.

Safegard offers expertise in the following areas:

  • Food safety – this is at the foundation of Safegard’s activities. The company looks after over 2500 catering operations in the UK and Eire for Sodexho and over 200 hotels and other high profile catering and leisure industry businesses.
  • Health & safety – Safegard has developed a wide-ranging, cost-effective health and safety management system that is applicable to almost all business sectors. It also has meticulously prepared specialist versions for schools, universities, hotels and restaurants. Safegard’s approach is designed to provide simple, straightforward practical assistance. It is based on ‘how to do’ rather than ‘what to do’, whether this be risk assessment, safe systems of work or the inspection of a workplace.
  • Environmental issues – Green issues are becoming prominent in business activity, and it is Safegard’s contention that good ‘green’ policies and benefits to a company’s bottom-line are synonymous. It is for this reason that Safegard are developing environmental management policies and strategies fit for today.

Although the majority of its work is for its parent company, Sodexho, Safegard now works with a growing number of external clients such as niche hotel chain Malmaison and Conran restaurants. Today over a third of Safegard’s income is from clients outside of Sodexho, which reflects its reputation as a leading authority on health and safety issues.

Safegard on the web

Over the last few years Safegard has recognised the benefits the Internet can offer it and now has Safegard-Online an internet-based health and safety management system which offers organisations of all sizes a comprehensive guide to health and safety.

The system is incredibly flexible and can be tailored to the needs of organisations large and small. One long-standing client, The British Red Cross, has used Safegard to provide its health and safety manual for over ten years. Mike Green, health and safety director at British Red Cross said of the new internet-based system: “Over the last ten years we have moved from a hard copy manual to CD, then to the Safegard Online service on our own intranet. Now management, staff and any of our 35,000 dedicated volunteers can access our safety management system instantly at home or work.”

The system allows the user to not only find out what must be done to comply with health and safety requirements but more importantly how to do it. Essential documents, forms and checklists can be downloaded and then personalised to suit individual requirements.

Nick Warwick, director at Safegard says: “The beauty of a web-based system is that we can update the information as it happens. Our technical team is constantly reviewing all new and pending legislation to ensure that the practical guidance given is always up to date. The system covers everything from risk assessments to policy statements, manual handling to fire safety and first aid.”

The cost of poor health and safety management is rising all the time, including prosecutions, fines and insurance liability claims against employers. The government is also committed to the introduction of corporate manslaughter as a criminal offence.

As a result, health and safety has become a key issue in corporate governance. Nick concludes: “Although everyone in an organisation has an individual responsibility for health and safety, the law is clear – legal responsibility lies at the top. We work closely with all our clients to provide a complete health and safety culture.”