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GKN is an engineering global group and has registered to ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001. This company has 48,000 people worldwide, with 250 years of heritage in 32 countries. It has four divisions: Automotive (driveline-systems and solutions), Powder Metallurgy (world's largest manufacturer of sintered components), Aerospace (first-tier supplier to the global aviation industry), and Land Systems (leading supplier of power management solutions and services).

Its commitment in health and safety and environment starts with its values and the GKN Code: “We will provide employees with a healthy and safe working environment. We will play our part in the protection of the environment in both the operation of our facilities and the design of our products" Its OH&S policy statement outlines its commitment to legislation in each jurisdiction it is in and its pursuit of “zero accidents"

One of its key principles is that health and safety considerations are intrinsic to the adoption and introduction of any new technique or process. Another is that new hires receive training and appropriate refresher training; that commitment to ongoing training ensures that workers are able to undertake the work safely from the outset and throughout their GKN career.

Its policy statement outlines its principles, practice, measures, and metrics and includes a statement on assurance, which is to have regular reviews of health and safety arrangements and performance and external audit of its procedures to ensure compliance with policy and relevant legislation.[1]

Companies can try many innovative ways to lead, by having each board director become a champion or mentor in one aspect related to occupational health and safety, or having senior management do safety tours and interact with workers, or rebranding their corporate image to include occupational health and safety. Companies can work together with their industry associations and insurance companies to implement programs to improve health and safety and reduce claims.

An important function of leadership is to ensure that the values of the organization relating to policy, risk management, and internal control are communicated from the top. A code of conduct can support the types of behaviors the organization wants and outline the consequences of not following it. Management then needs to follow up with applicable actions regarding the violations.

Awards and recognition of positive performance also helps improve morale. Has any company offered an award for “bad practice”? That might be a new spin on presenting awards. Individual personal performance reviews tied to key objectives and targets and maintaining operational controls would assist in business success by making individuals accountable.


Focus: Health and Safety – Prevention of Injury and Ill Health

1 As a leader, what questions do you ask your people in order to look at new opportunities, new solutions, and profitability/ performance/productivity?

2 As a leader, do you ask “what is missing” from your occupational health and safety management system in order to improve it? Do you humbly ask your management team for input to your biggest challenges? Do you stand up for what is best for your employees? Are you unafraid to put your job on the line when the board of directors is of the opposite mindset?

3 What is your reputation for leading your organization? Are you a good champion or leader? Why do you think you are?

4 What did the results of your organization's baseline risk assessment show about your organization?

5 Have you changed any processes and programs or do you have any new projects going on within your organization? Did you review the risks tied to these areas? Have they been added to your baseline risk assessment?

6 Do investors trust your reporting? Do you have transparency in your reporting?

7 To be a great leader you need to remain competitive. How do you do this within your industry?

8 What innovations have you put in place to lead your organization in occupational health and safety? What are your priorities?

9 What objectives and targets do you presently have in place to improve occupational health and safety? What is your focus for this area? What are your possibilities?

10 As a leader, have you set out for the organization what is essential versus what is important at the time?

11 I s transparency part of your leadership principles? How do you share what your organization knows publicly? Do you encourage and reward sharing by managers, employees, and customers? Do you treat managers and workers with respect?

  • [1] GKN website ( -and-safety.aspx) indicated that it had 92 sites registered to OHSAS 18001 and the remaining sites are working toward it.
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