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Bunzl Distribution USA, Inc., supplies packaging materials, safety clothing and sanitation products to food processors, supermarkets, and other retail and wholesale operations. Based in St. Louis, Mo., it is the largest division of Bunzl plc, London, an international distribution and outsourcing group.
Bunzl Distribution operates more than 100 warehouses that serve all 50 states and Puerto Rico, as well as Canada, the Caribbean and parts of Mexico. With more than 4,000 employees and 400,000-plus supply items, Bunzl is regarded as a leading supplier in North America.
The company’s long-term focus is on improving productivity, enhancing services and exploring new business opportunities.
Success in commerce depends on the company’s ability to expeditiously and safely distribute material and products regardless of location, traffic patterns, weather or time of day. Consequently, Bunzl is highly motivated to minimize risk and effectively manage workforce health and safety. However, hazards in the external work environment are a challenge to navigate.
Since its employees are a key to its success, Bunzl takes steps to protect them from injury. While much of the operation is automated and goods are transferred with forklifts, it’s still demanding work and fatigue is a risk factor, especially on second shift.
“Our employees have to be able to work productively and safely,” said Denton Bruce, corporate environmental, health and safety (EHS) director.
He noted that it’s essential for Bunzl to consistently provide safety training with course content that engages employees, is easy to retain and presented in their primary language – in this case English, Spanish or French Canadian.
Bunzl is known for revolutionizing its industry by developing sophisticated marketing, procurement and logistics systems designed to lower the delivered cost of supplies. For example, it uses electronic data interchange transmissions and customized order guides to provide state-of-the-art service. In keeping with this trend, it selected UL EHS Sustainability’s PURE Safety Learning Management System (LMS) as its online training and safety management solution.
“We view ourselves as world-class in all respects, including safety,” said Bruce, who joined the company in 2007.
PURE Safety LMS is an integral part of Bunzl’s EHS training and compliance program. For example, Bruce uses the software regularly to assign courses and track completion rates. The company particularly appreciates having access to eLearning content with considerable depth and breadth.
Employees have the option of either completing courses and post-training exams online via a human resources kiosk or other available computer, or watching the course in a classroom with a small group and taking the exam on paper. Most employees are expected to complete at least three to four hours of training a year. Managers who are responsible for the safety of drivers and warehouse employees often are required to take additional courses.
For example, employees hired in 2013 were required to complete the following UL health and safety courses:
Bunzl uses productivity metrics to monitor performance. The company expects – and typically achieves – a 100 percent course completion rate by the end of September each year. The company recognizes individual locations for accident-free years/hours and most-improved safety performance.
The following data illustrate how Bunzl’s use of PURE Safety LMS, in combination with other initiatives, helps make a significant difference. Since 2005, the company’s:
“We want to ensure that our employees can do their jobs productively, without injury risk,” Bruce said. “There are no robots to load, unload and deliver. It’s all about the people. We know they have a life outside of work and loved ones who depend on them, so we want to get them home safely.”