Informa Markets

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March 22, 2010

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Well done – Shape up to slim down assessments

Chris Jerman, health and safety manager at John Lewis plc, has won recognition for his Shape initiative, which has reduced the burden of manual-handling assessments across the business, which has more than 300,000 product lines.

Using a new ‘virtual shape concept’, Chris’s idea was to condense these assessments down to a manageable number, so that effective training and instruction can be delivered to partners. Initial assessments for particularly large and heavy items have resulted in a comprehensive national training programme, train-the-trainer, video assessments, and a dedicated ‘mock-up’ house for training.

The next part of the initiative, which has already achieved a dramatic reduction in back injuries, will focus on the smaller – but nonetheless significant – items handled within John Lewis branches.

On the back of his achievements, Chris was presented with the Frank Smith Award 2010, which rewards creativity and innovation in health and safety. This award commemorates Frank Smith, past chair of the Sheffield Occupational Health and Safety Association (SOHSA), who was a strong believer in sharing and communicating information between organisations.

Said Chris: “I am delighted to receive this prestigious award from SOHSA and for recognition of the amount of work put into this new initiative by all our staff [at John Lewis], and hope that in sharing details of this initiative we can help other organisations with their own manual-handling issues.”

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