Innovative training course conquers the world

A team of behavioural safety experts from Cheshire have travelled an amazing 52,000 miles – and visited six continents – in just 40 days to satisfy the phenomenal international demand for a pioneering UK-based training package.

The six trainers from Runcorn-based SOG Ltd jetted from Texas to Hong Kong and from Melbourne to Nairobi after being hired by oil giant Shell to pass on their expertise on the Deal With It behavioural training programme.

With stop-offs that also included Amsterdam and Rio de Janeiro, the team – Greg Watson, Hugh Dorans, Helen Schoelzel, Julie Postlethwaite, Neil Lomas and Clive Waring – chalked up an impressive itinerary that is enabling the oil company’s Shell Distribution division to train 5,000 of its global workforce in vital health and safety techniques.

The contract has also seen Shell follow in the footsteps of other major organisations including Cadbury Schweppes, Warburtons, Avecia and ICI Dulux in signing up to the Deal With It programme.

The training package – provided by SOG’s safety, health and environment consultancy SHE Group – has proved so successful by encouraging participants to look at the risks they take in day-to-day life and to consider the potentially serious consequences. Its behavioural approach to health and safety – which focuses as much on actions in the home or garden as at the office or factory – has been credited with achieving dramatic reductions in the number of workplace accidents at a broad range of companies.

With much of the training focused on an initial half-day workshop, the package uses a variety of techniques including group exercises, a video and even a board game that offers participants the chance to assess the merits – and pitfalls – of taking risks.

Alan Houghton, SOG’s Specialist Services Director, said: “Deal With It had already proved itself a tremendous success throughout the UK. But through our agreement with Shell, we’ve been able to export the health and safety message across the world – with the programme now being used in 27 different countries. This has been a great example of Britain exporting its expertise around the globe.”

He added: “One of the great things about Deal With It is that it offers training for life not just for work. People learn to deal with health and safety issues whether they impact on the factory floor, on an office environment or even on a day’s gardening or DIY at the weekend. We’re also aware that training needs to be colourful, fun, interactive and memorable.”

As part of a licensing agreement to use Deal With It, Shell Distribution contracted SOG’s team to pass on their expertise to 114 trainers at locations across the globe. These 114 Shell trainers have subsequently been delivering the course to participants within their regions – covering no fewer than 2,500 employees and contractors within the first month alone.

The agreement has seen the package being offered to people across the world – in countries as diverse as Finland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Fiji, Russia, the Philippines, Turkey and Papua New Guinea. It has even involved Shell translating the training programme into 25 foreign languages, whether for speakers of Greek, Arabic, Swedish, Hungarian, Cantonese, Bahasa, Polish or Urdu.

But Shell is just the latest company to sign up to Deal With It. The programme’s previous clients include major international businesses such as Cadbury Schweppes, which offered the training package to thousands of its staff after initial results two years ago showed that the course had helped achieve a 45% cut in workplace accidents.

Speaking at the time, Kevin Averill, Cadbury Schweppes’ Safety Manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said: “We had reached the stage where we were effectively best in class and we were searching for a couple of years for a behavioural programme that would develop our health and safety objectives even further.”

He added: “The strength of the Deal With It programme is basically about encouraging the teams to look after one another and ensure each other’s safety. This is the first bespoke programme we have bought that has had a direct impact on the people who were most at risk.”

Other delighted customers have included Distrupol, a market-leading, Europe-wide distributor of thermoplastics. The company initially piloted the training programme at its Midlands-based manufacturing and warehousing unit but was so pleased with the results that it subsequently introduced Deal With It into its head office in Surrey.

“We like the fact that it isn’t focused so much on work; it’s lifestyle-based,” Mike Jones, Distrupol’s SHE & Quality Manager, explained. “It has been very successful for us. We are very pleased with the whole package, and the comments we are getting back from people who have participated is very positive.”

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