H & S Deal Signed

ST.HELENS Council and Palmer and Harvey, the UK’s Number 1 delivered wholesaler, have signed a landmark agreement as part of the company’s continued improvement of Health and Safety and Food Safety procedures at its distribution centres nationwide.

St Helens Council – who is responsible for advising on and enforcing Health & Safety and Food Safety at P&H’s Haydock Distribution Centre – was chosen from a line-up of five local authorities.

The deal was signed at Langtree Park.

The Primary Authority Partnership allows St Helens Environmental Health Department to review P & H’s national Health and Safety and Food Safety policies and processes, recommend improvements and act as a ‘gate-keeper’
for related queries and inspections from other local authorities at P&H’s thirteen other distribution centres nationwide.

Councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron, Cabinet Member for Environment and Neighbourhoods said: “We are delighted to be such a pro-active partner in this national initiative. Primary Authority was introduced to address businesses’ concerns about how local authorities apply legislation, provide contradictory advice, waste resources and duplicate efforts, thereby creating unnecessary burdens on business. By entering into this partnership, the Council is once again demonstrating its’ commitment to supporting local business by fostering good working relationships”.

The scheme gives businesses the right to form a statutory partnership with one local authority, which then provides robust and reliable advice for other councils to take into account when carrying out inspections or dealing with non-compliance.”

Gary Weatherhead, Palmer and Harvey Group Risk and Safety Manager says: “St Helens Council were chosen because of their professional approach to the partnership process; the warehouse and distribution experience within their team of Environmental Health Officers and, most importantly, their common sense approach to Health and Safety at work and its enforcement fits well with the objectives of the Risk and Safety Department.”

In the past, each distribution centre was inspected and scrutinized by local Environmental Health Officers regardless of whether the centres were part of a network owned by a single company. It often resulted in inconsistency in the requirements for H&S and Food Safety across operations.

The partnership approach is designed to reduce duplication of inspections and paperwork, freeing-up local regulators to direct resources more efficiently and make better use of officers’ time. At the same time, businesses benefit from improved compliance and better relationships with regulators allowing resources to be channelled into business growth.

Work at P&H to prepare for a Primary Authority partnership began in 2012.
P&H restructured its compliance team into the Group Risk and Safety Department with a focus on standardisation and consistency in procedures and processes for Health & Safety and Food Safety across the Group and its
14 distribution centres.

During the past 18 months the team have standardised all health and safety training, risk assessments and accident investigation and placed more emphasis on managers within the business being responsible for H&S within their own areas. This major project was completed in August 2013 and enabled P&H to seek a Primary Authority partner.

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