Health and safety is not just a legal obligation for us here at M247 – it’s a guiding principle for the way we do business and the environment we strive to create for our 300+ colleagues across all of our international sites. Never has this been more prevalent than in recent weeks.

At the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we moved quickly to get our teams working from home wherever possible, securing their safety and ensuring they had everything they needed to carry on doing the work they do so well. They’ll continue working from home for as long as necessary, because we know that a safe, healthy and happy workforce is the key to our success.

Ensuring our teams get home safely to their families every night is a responsibility we take seriously. As well as our office-based teams, we have our own team of field engineers, who undertake customer installations as a key part of M247’s products and services. These installations often require our engineers to undertake high-risk activities, whether being called upon to work at height or in hard-to-reach places, and sometimes through the night to minimise disruption for the businesses we work with. We see the potential dangers our teams face, and we closely and proactively manage the various scenarios our engineers navigate daily, by performing ongoing risk assessments.

Over the past few years, as we have continued to grow as a business and as an employer, we have developed a robust safety-management system that has seen a culture shift among our workforce. Spearheaded in the UK by our Health and Safety manager Paul Bolton, we have built a solid foundation of safety awareness that means our teams are clued into potential issues both in and out of work and can take appropriate action to minimise the possibility of an accident happening. We circulate all important Health and Safety policies, procedures and updates to every member of our team, and require them to acknowledge that they have received and understood them.

This is because we know that the most valuable asset we have in keeping our people safe, is the people themselves. We’ve introduced a near-miss reporting procedure, which enables team members to report potential hazards and ensures they feel a sense of ownership over the safety of themselves and others, and gives them the tools to take a proactive role in the welfare of their colleagues. This system has been adopted across the business and we can proudly say that it has prevented several accidents so far.

We know that a good health and safety environment needs to be driven from the top, and our leadership team is fundamental in ensuring the wellbeing of our teams. We have a policy outlining the roles and responsibilities of the M247 executive team, and issue Health and Safety leadership training through IOSH, so that managers at every level know exactly what they need to be doing to ensure the ongoing safety of their teams. More than that, we have created a H&S management structure that outlines the roles and responsibilities of all team members, highlighting the fact that the welfare of employees is top of the agenda for the M247 executive team.

Of course, communication is every bit as important as the policies themselves, and we ensure every person across the business knows what their role is, as well as who they need to report to with any issues. We have also created a safety audit repository, where fire marshals and first aiders can complete weekly, monthly and annual audits in one system, making it easy to see what’s been done, what still needs doing, and where supplies are running low. A quick click will tell us exactly what stock needs replenishing, whether that’s a full first aid kit or a single plaster.

In our Romanian office, colleagues have  extensive health and safety training to ensure they are able to complete their work in line with industry  safety standards, colleagues are tested on their knowledge annually.  We do this as we know the world of work is dynamic, not only are there new dangers and risks emerging, but the structure and patterns of work are constantly changing due to an increase in flexible working.

Our culture of health and safety ensures we can go above and beyond meeting the bare-minimum requirements. Importantly, we know that wellbeing is not simply about avoiding broken bones and cut fingers. We are aware of the importance of maintaining positive mental health and wellbeing and have invested in creating a safe and supportive environment for all our teams. We know that work can be a massive source of stress for many people, and while we do all we can to reduce stress levels in the first place, we realise the importance of a dedicated resource for identifying and stepping in to help when colleagues need support. To that end, we have built a strong team of mental-health first-aiders, who are on hand to help any of our colleagues who need it. Trained by St John Ambulance, these people are playing a key part in maintaining the mental wellbeing of everyone in the business, no matter their role.

Having a team of mental-health first-aiders is more important than ever right now, while our teams are working from home, often with additional stressors as they try to carry out their jobs. Uncertainty and worry about the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with issues around home-schooling children and being stuck indoors and away from teammates, means we are finding new ways to support our teams. We are keeping in close contact with all our colleagues to ensure everyone is coping with these upheavals. We are also providing practical support, ensuring all our teams have the equipment and hardware they need, and issuing DSE Self-assessment questionnaires to make sure everyone has a suitable workspace and is able to work in comfort. We’re also working hard to monitor our teams in the field – those key worker engineers who are called upon to get out into the community to work with our customers to implement and maintain solutions. We’re making sure they are safe while they go about their work and are adhering to social distancing guidelines and are equipped with hand cleaning wipes and sanitiser to reduce the risk of the spread of the disease.

As our team evolves, our workforce grows and the landscape of our company changes, Health and Safety will continue to underpin everything we do. Because the only way we can grow, and go on to do bigger and better things, is with a strong, healthy and happy team at our side.

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