Health and Safety at Coats

At Coats we value our workforce highly and employ over 19,000 people in around 50 countries worldwide. The health and safety (H&S) of our employees is our number one priority in everything we do.

Every year we monitor H&S within our Employee Engagement Survey and our results for 2017 have a “favorable” response of 90%, an increase of 9% since we started the survey in 2011 and very close to the top 10% threshold for the global IBM/Kenexa survey of 91%.

Health and Safety at Coats

We are committed to maintaining high standards of employee safety and engaging with our workforce on issues that matter to them. We have a comprehensive global H&S management system in place which is used in all our sites. Our global H&S manager and our five regional H&S managers have regular calls and/or face to face meetings to discuss any arising issues and progress made. The regional H&S managers interact on a regular basis with their respective regional operation managers as well.

During 2017, we reviewed our policy and improved our H&S reporting and investigation procedures. As a result, we have prepared a set of ‘lagging’ and ‘leading’ H&S indicators as well as targets against each of these indicators. The indicators include: work related incident rates, commuting incidents, close out of corrective actions, near-miss reporting, hazard reporting, improvement actions and training hours. The data against each indicator is collected and published on a monthly basis, which helps us track performance and action any arising concerns. Furthermore, we are also monitoring site performance through self-assessment questionnaires, reviews and audits.

Strong engagement with our employees

A global safety campaign

To reinforce our commitment to H&S, we ran a global safety campaign, ‘Be the One’, to stress the importance that we place on keeping our people safe and to encourage our teams to improve their own performance. In July 2017, we launched our new See and Fix Hazard Report (SFHR) asking employees to ‘Be the One’ to prevent incidents, report all incidents immediately and intervene when they see an at-risk act or unsafe condition.


The SFHR process:

  • Employee fills in a SFHR card if they see a near-miss, at-risk act or unsafe condition and places the card where the condition was found
  • Shift supervisor or H&S team coordinates corrective actions
  • Supervisor or H&S team logs the cards, tracks actions to completion
  • Supervisor or H&S team feed back to the employee.


This campaign was rolled out globally. Each country prepared kick-off meetings and invited their employees to take a photograph of themselves or their team holding up one finger to show their commitment to the new SFHR process and ‘Being the one’ to prevent, report and intervene.

The campaign was very successful with the number of hazards reported increasing by 47.7% compared to previous years.

Global training programs

In 2017, we continued to roll out our safety leadership program and launched a new program (IOSH – Institution of Occupational Safety and Health) for supervisors and line managers. The latter is a 3-day training course. The main objectives are to give managers and supervisors an understanding of everyone’s H&S responsibility in the workplace and to enable managers and supervisors to recognize how they can influence, control and monitor risk to improve H&S issues in the workplace. Our aim is to have trained all supervisors and line managers by the end of March 2018.

In support of our continual learning imperative, 2017 also saw the launch of Minerva, our new online digital platform which provides over 700 resources, including online learning tools, videos and tip sheets. Minerva is available to everyone who uses Perform (our internal system) enabling them to access content on many aspects of the business and professional excellence including H&S.

Local rewards and initiatives

Beyond our global campaign and training program, we also have various recognition programs and initiatives at site level. For example, after initial development in India, vacuum knife tools have been installed at all spinning locations to reduce the risk of hand injuries. The vacuum knife tool helps employees to cut tangled thread without their hands getting too close to the spinning system. The design and operational specifications were available at all spinning sites by mid-August 2017.

In our EMEA region, we’ve had a number of local initiatives to raise awareness around H&S issues, targeting both our employees and our local communities. Coats Estonia has been working with schools in the Viimsi municipality to create reflectors that are hung on trees around the schools to provide a source of light for passers-by, ensuring their safety in the dark. Coats Turkey has initiated a couple of campaigns, including ‘Safety Angel’ (see picture below) which encourages people to use handrails to avoid slips and falls. Coats Poland ran a number of campaigns and training to promote health and wellbeing to their employees. They have sent over 20 safety letters to their employees, ran first aid training, organized meetings with nurses and other health professionals, and delivered fire training and various other safety meetings. The team at Coats Poland also organised and delivered a program called “Safe back from school” to improve the safety of local primary school children on their way back home from school.

Lights at dusk

Coats office


Similarly, in the rest of the world, we have multiple initiatives to show our commitment to provide a safe and healthy environment for our employees and the local community.

Coats Mexico launched a health program for employees to increase their physical and psychological well being and employee engagement. The program includes activities such as fitness and massage sessions, bowling, nutrition and health matters. Coats Colombia launched a Mindfulness program, in June 2017, to help employees manage stress and improve their health, productivity and performance.

A number of initiatives have taken place in Sri Lanka to increase safety awareness, including training sessions on how to handle chemicals for those who work with dyes and chemicals. The team in Bangladesh marked World Health Day, themed ‘Depression, let’s talk!’, with a one-hour interactive session. The event included a discussion with an external professor, who gave tips about stress management, coping with depression and the impact of social media on mental health.

Coats teams in the United States (US), Tunisia and Indonesia have reached key H&S milestones. The team in Toccoa (US) achieved seven years without any recordable incidents, Indonesia celebrated seven million accident free working hours since 2013 and Tunisia achieved 439 days without recordable incidents in October 2017.

What next for 2018?

For 2018, we are releasing our second installment of the H&S Climate Survey. The first one took place in 2015/16. The aim of the Survey is to review the organization’s existing level of safety culture, identify perception gaps, determine positive and negative aspects of our current arrangements and help identify opportunities for improving how we work.

We will also launch a new software tool in 2018 to track H&S deployment plans progress at site level.

Finally, a global manufacturing workshop will take place in early 2018 to define the key priorities for the year. The aim is to focus on reducing the likelihood of an incident that has high potential for a serious injury or fatality.


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