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DHL Supply Chain and Don-Bur commercial vehicle manufacturer win health and safety award

The world’s largest logistics provider and a commercial vehicle manufacturer proved to be the perfect pair after their articulated lorry coupling innovation won a national safety and health award.

A multi-national delivery company and commercial vehicle manufacturers proved to be the perfect pair after their articulated lorry coupling innovation won a national safety and health award last night (20 October).

Safe Suzie – the joint brainchild of DHL Supply Chain and Don-Bur – won ‘Innovation of the Year’ Award at the SHP IOSH Awards in London. Their collaborative efforts netted them the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) Conference and Exhibition-sponsored award.

The product was designed as part of DHL’s accident reduction strategy to prevent lorry drivers from becoming literally, ‘fall guys’. It does so by removing any need to climb up onto the catwalk behind a tractor unit to couple up the air and electrical lines.

Safety and Health Executive Director for UK and Ireland, Russell Clark said: "For the transport industry, getting drivers off the catwalk makes it a safer environment, which is obviously a fantastic thing as it helps to avoid a lot of accidents.

"We are delighted to have worked with Don-Bur to come up with this initiative."

DHL Supply Chain has now made the Safe Suzie standard specification on dry freight trailers, and is working with Don-Bur to develop further versions for tankers and temperature controlled vehicles.

Don-Bur Managing Director, David Burton said: "We are absolutely delighted to have won the award."

"Obviously, IOSH brings with it the kudos in health and safety in the UK and we believe that this award entry, brought jointly between DHL and Don-Bur, has introduced real innovation to the industry, allowing coupling at ground level."

To add to that, the company’s Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate – which records the amount of time and number of incidents where employees are off sick with work-related injuries – has recently recorded a 40 per cent year-on-year drop. DHL hopes that the addition of the Safe Suzie will reduce it by a further 30 per cent this year.

Rob Strange, IOSH Chief Executive, said: "These awards are a great way of recognising people who have developed innovative ways of assuring or improving the wellbeing of a company’s workforce.

"It is not every day that you get a brainwave like the Safe Suzie, so it is right that we pay tribute to the time, effort and eureka thinking that has gone into this.

"Innovations like these play an integral role in improving the reputation of safety and health, as they show it as forward-thinking and helpful. DHL and Don-Bur are showing that it is an essential and enabling, rather than a restrictive part of working life."

DHL and Don-Bur beat off stiff competition for the award, including a rain cover for concrete mixer hoppers on trucks by Alliance Construction Materials Ltd, an automated pouring ladle for molten metal by Balfour Beatty Rail Ltd and a cab roof harness from Carrier Transicold. Ryedale Energy Ltd’s lifting aid was also another contender at the awards last night.

Organised by Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP), IOSH’s magazine for professionals in the industry, the SHP IOSH Awards are now in their fourth year and last night were held at Park Lane Hilton in London.

The Innovation Award was sponsored by IOSH 2011 Conference and Exhibition – the largest and most comprehensive health and safety conference in the UK. Next year, the event will run on 15 and 16 March at London’s ExCel.

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