Posted on Tue 18th Feb 2020 at 7:46pm
It’s a privilege to work with supply chain businesses in the events industry. I’ve been supporting suppliers and contractors of various types for over ten years as an independent quality, safety, sustainability and general “process” adviser, and in other forms for long before that. This has kept me close and, in a way, protective of the part of the industry that carries the lion’s share of operational risk and liability. Collaborating with suppliers that are always under pressure with complex practical, budgetary and logistical challenges to help them build and maintain processes ensuring safety, efficiency and great customer experience can be exhausting for both them and me, but it's always rewarding.
ESSA’s launch of its new accreditation for contractors was intriguing when I first met Andrew Harrison to chat about it in 2019. I’ve helped clients achieve similar CHAS and SafeContractor schemes for many years as well as ISO standards for safety, environment, quality and information security so a “new scheme on the block” was of great interest to me and to clients who were also ESSA members.
I’ve worked with Showlite for five years now and its been particularly enjoyable. I love working with the wide array of different, colourful characters. Many laugh out loud moments with Rob, Paul, Roger and Ross, I particularly remember Roger’s “manual handling” text - I wonder if he does?
One thing everyone has in common though in the business is modesty, a desire to do a good job, maintain high standards, but to do so quietly without making a fuss or banging their own drum.
So when the business achieved CHAS a few years ago - the Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme - it didn’t shout from rooftops. When Ross achieved his NEBOSH certificate, the business celebrated internally but played it down externally. Likewise when it launched its Showlite Licence - providing free health and safety training to its subcontractors, an industry first that others have followed, it didn’t broadcast loudly.
So, when Showlite is awarded the new ESSA Accreditation (application being processed as you read this) it will be another humble achievement that you’ll probably not hear about unless you ask, but the thought and effort that has gone into achieving this standard of working over recent years is worth every bit of recognition it grudgingly gets.
Don’t just think about on-site safety practices, working on steps, ensuring electrics are safe and so on. What’s great about the ESSA scheme is that it recognises what Showlite has achieved at its production premises, including workshop equipment and plant training, inspection and monitoring regimes, COSHH control, facilities management…
I won’t go into more detail other than to say Rob, Roger - you both know the effort you and your teams have put into this (not forgetting many others at Showlite who have also contributed).
But if you’re an event organiser client or prospect of Showlite and understand your legal duty to vet your suppliers against health and safety criteria, then I’m hoping all of this is good, relevant news to your ears. Contracting businesses are hard to run and it’s notoriously difficult to maintain high, consistent standards but - much as the team will resist telling you how well they actually do this - somehow Showlite has and does, and I’m sure the business will (quietly) enjoy being amongst the first exhibition sector safety accreditation holders.