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Managing Safety

Our Policy

We are committed to excellence in SHE and believe it is of equal importance to production and quality and that effective management of health & safety is achieved through co-operation and effort at all levels in the organisation. Our guiding principles are contained in the policy statement which has the full commitment of the Vacuum Technique Management (VTM). The general policy statement is also incorporated in our Business Code of Practice. To ensure that all employees are aware of the SHE policy and its requirements, safety forms an integral part of the induction process for all new employees and not just those working at Edwards' facilities. The policy is also posted throughout all Edwards facilities in prominent locations. Edwards’ safety management is enabled through a well developed global intranet-based SHE Management System, which meets the requirements and expectations of its stakeholders. The Management System is certified as complying with the international standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, OHSAS 18001 and working towards transfer to ISO45001 during 2019. It also takes into account the international nature of the business, our customer facing and product focused activities, and our range of sites and service activities. The controls embedded in the policies and procedures are based on both general and specific risks to employees and third parties who could be affected by Edwards’ activities.

Our Organisation

The management system is based on the concept of continuous improvement and includes policy, planning, implementation/operation, measurement and management review. The mandatory standards and procedures which support the general policy are called “Risk Control Elements” (RCE’s). The first of these RCEs – Strategy and Overview - defines the key elements of the SHE Management System along with the organisation, responsibilities and arrangements which make the general policy effective. There are currently 28 RCE's which cover all the key aspects of SHE.


SHE performance is an important part of managers’ performance appraisals. Through the Business Area head of safety, each site is required to establish improvement targets based on both lagging and leading indicators. Performance against these targets is reviewed on a regular basis at local, divisional and Business Area level.

Several key safety measures apply throughout the entire organisation and are reviewed and have been agreed by the Vacuum Technique Mamangement on a quarterly basis:

  • Training - 95% completion of all safety training elements
  • Behavioural observation training- 100% completion for all key staff
  • Behavioural observations - minimum of four per month by trained staff
  • Safety observation tour - monthly by members of the VTM and divisional leadership teams
  • Reduction of Lost Work Accident Case Rate and total recordable case rate

As part of the annual planning process sites measure their progress towards a world class safety operation by means of a comprehensive set of audit questions on a wide range of safety related elements. The completion of this audit results in a number of improvements for the coming year.


A comprehensive behavioural safety program is an important part of the management system and recognises that there is a behavioural element to most accidents. The safety culture of our organisation is constantly being improved by daily discussions between supervisors, employees and peers. Staff are trained to recognise and correct unsafe behaviours and to reinforce safe behaviours through the “Leadsafe” and “Actsafe” programs.

We use a wide range of communication methods to help understanding:

  • Safety committees
  • Safety campaigns
  • Cascade presentations
  • Connected magazine
  • ‘Lessons from Losses’
  • Intranet site
  • Internet site
  • Notice boards
  • Posters


A reduction in accidents and ill health leads to significant benefits for everyone such as reduced absenteeism, improved job satisfaction, increased commitment and co-operation and all round job competence. We recognise that accidents usually have multiple causes, and although the immediate cause may be a human or technical failure, such events can arise from organisational failings which are management’s responsibility. To help promote the prevention of accidents/incidents, an electronic reporting system exists to enable employees to report accidents. The difference between a near miss and an injury or accident is often very small, so all accidents, incidents and near misses are investigated with the data used to establish trends. Any major incidents automatically receive the attention of the VTM which monitors actions through to the close. A summary of what happened and what we learned from the incident/accident (“Lessons from Losses”) is circulated widely. We also document all the information as part of the SHE management system, including the results of investigations, performance evaluations and audits in relation to changes in the regulatory and legislative environment and to complaints, comments and recommendations received from all interested parties.


A full annual audit of each of the Risk Control Elements is carried out by each site. In addition to ensuring we comply with all applicable national regulations, codes of practice etc, regular reviews take place under the direction of the local safety managers.

Management Review

A management review is more strategic in its focus than an audit and is carried out annually by the VTM. Whilst an audit may have concluded that everything is in place to meet the safety policy and objectives, the management review may show that other considerations - internal or external- justify change.

Our Performance

The VTM has decided to focus on workplace safety through the following:

  • A proactive behaviourial safety program
  • Increased awareness through global safety campaigns
  • Global reporting of key leading indicators
  • A structured approach to auditing
  • Visible leadership at all levels of the organisation

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