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About us

SHIFT - What is it?

The SHIFT initiative is designed, implemented and run by the foundry industry with a dedicated focus for improving safety & health for all employees within the foundry industry within the UK.

Current statistics show that at least 23 employees in every 1,000 within the foundry industry suffer an injury, which prevents them from working for at least three days. This rate is typically three times the average for the overall manufacturing sector and four times that of the UK workforce as a whole.  As with any other major industry, occupational health conditions also adds to the risks for the workforce.

By reducing the accident rate in line with similar sectors, SHIFT aims to reduce the huge personal suffering and financial burden this places on the UK foundry industry.

Within the foundry industry there is well established evidence that individual companies are able to control the risks to their employees. Therefore SHIFT targets  help to spread best practice throughout the industry, and, by focusing on significant areas of concern, the initiative will enable all companies to benefit from good health and safety practice.

SHIFT- A potted history

The foundry industry suffers an accident rate significantly higher than other sectors, so in 2003 the Foundry Industry Advisory Committee (FIAC), Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Cast Metals Federation (CMF) launched an initiative to tackle this in a targeted way. Its goal was to reduce accident rates within the sector by 30% by the end of 2008 (see statistics page for details). Given the hard work and efforts made by all contributing parties and businesses, this target was not only achieved but surpassed by a wide margin.

However accidents still occurred in the workplace and the work of the member companies continued unabated.  It was clear however, that a push still needed to be made to focus efforts to improve safety and health as work and reduce accident numbers further.

As a result, In March 2012, a second phase of the initiative was launched, again with the full support of FIAC (now rebranded CHASAC, Castings Health And Safety Advisory Committee) and the HSE.  This time a new target of a further 25% reduction in accidents across the sector by the end of 2017 was determined. Once again the industry met and surpassed this target.

Other sectors have made advances in reducing their accident numbers.  There is also a greater awareness of other health risks including mental ill-health, HAV’s, MSD’s and other conditions that have dramatic and crippling effects on individuals and their families.  UK foundries must therefore strive to improve the working environment to reduce occupational ill-health from occurring and continue to make changes to their workplace and practices in order to prevent and/or reduce accidents.

Now in 2018, phase three of the initiative has been launched, targeting a further 25% reduction in reportable accidents and ill-health and with a secondary target to halve the overall number of accidents reported.  Using the results from 2017 as its starting point, this phase aims to meet these challenges by the end of 2022.

SHIFT- How does it work?

The SHIFT Initiative is designed, implemented and run by the foundry industry through CHASAC.  The Initiative takes the existing knowledge of health and safety within the foundries industry and from interested third parties (such as the Health and Safety Executive, Trade Unions etc.) and presents it in a user-friendly form that can be used by any business within the industry, focusing on the major causes of accidents and ill health. With SHIFT concentrating on those health and safety issues which cause the greatest numbers of incidents in the industry, and, working with CHASAC & the HSE to produce industry specific guidance, best practices, control systems, monitoring etc., it supports companies in managing their health and safety risks.

A large and significant part of the SHIFT Initiative is that companies commit themselves to controlling their health and safety hazards and to reduce their risks.  Foundries signing up to SHIFT demonstrate to their employees, customers and other interested parties such as shareholders or the HSE, that they are committed to providing a healthy and safe workplace for their employees, contractors and visitors.  That commitment involves senior management pledging to follow the initiative through the submission of accident statistics, participating in regular SHIFT health and safety forums and exchanging ideas on best practice with other members.  The sequence of topics covered by the initiative can provide companies with a pathway to address the various industry specific issues.

SHIFT - Benefits of Taking Part

Companies signing up to the Initiative will be demonstrating to their employees, shareholders and customers alike, they are serious about caring for their workforce in addition to their profitability and reputation.

The scheme provides companies with a means of measuring performance, along with a pathway to achieving best practices and goals with regard to employee workplace health as well as for safety management and accident prevention. Industry specific guidelines, audits, bulletins and best practice will be produced in a style that builds up over time into a supporting manual for health and safety management in foundries. As a member of the scheme, companies will have access to industry specific advice through the administrator’s office and this website.

The initiative regularly holds a forum three times per year in Wednesbury which is attended on average by more than 85 delegates, usually representing at least half the total number of member foundries . These events offer the chance to hear first-hand, the latest developments within the industry and to hear expert speakers on topics which have been raised by members as being significant, therefore helping make improvements to their understanding, and, as a result, their management of health and safety within their businesses. Minutes and presentation data are sent out to members after each forum.  These events are supported by the HSE who attend every one.

Safety and Health Awareness Days (SHAD’s) are an opportunity to visit other members, where the HSE and suppliers are on site presenting training and advisory sessions on a variety of topics at the time such as personal protective equipment (PPE), respiratory protective equipment (RPE), noise, manual handling etc.

In addition, members can raise questions anonymously through the administrator for circulation amongst other members to get advice or opinions on matters that are concerning them. The administrator can also contact external partners in confidence on behalf of the initiative to obtain help and guidance where additional expertise is required.  As knowledge is learnt within the initiative, it will be added to this dedicated website for anyone within the industry to be able to access at any time.

SHIFT - Requirements to Join the Scheme

By joining SHIFT, Individual companies or organisations must commit themselves to the Initiative.

Accident and ill health data must be returned to the Initiative administrator upon joining the scheme and thereafter monthly. The information will never be used in any way that will identify the company to an outside party, only to gather and produce reports on how the initiative as a whole is progressing.

Members will be expected to exchange ideas and best practice on a number of topics on an on-going basis.

Commitment to the SHIFT Initiative must be provided by a director or senior manager.  They will be responsible for ensuring compliance with any established safety improvement plan.

There is a modest annual fee to join and participate in the SHIFT Initiative, but by the greatest margin, the main contribution is company time and commitment.