Two of the longest-serving employees at Newton Aycliffe firm Stiller Warehousing and Distribution have bagged an important health and safety hat-trick.
Office manager Julie Gilpin and fleet and facilities manager Herbie Blaser – who have amassed more than 45 years’ service between them for the family business – have helped Stiller to gain one of the highest industry-recognised standard safety accreditations.
The pair worked with quality standards consultant Billy Naisbett, of Newton Aycliffe-based ISO Systems, over a seven-month period to attain ISO 18001 certification.
The achievement follows the firm’s longstanding accreditations for ISO 9001, which relates to quality management framework, as well as ISO 14001, for environmental management practises.
Stiller, which employs 138 people across a huge 20-acre site on Aycliffe Business Park, says it’s another important feather in the cap.
Managing Director Paul Stiller said: “We’ve wanted to do this for a long time so we’re delighted to have it – it’s a big deal for the company.
“We’re a growing business, so there’s an ever-growing duty of care to our workforce to make sure we’re operating as safely as we possibly can be.
“To be able to do that effectively, when the business passes a certain size in terms of footprint and employee numbers, you need a recognised management framework in place for health and safety, and that’s what we’ve chosen to do.
“It’s also a benefit to be able to reassure our customers that they’re dealing with a responsible, professional and reliable partner.
“Julie and Herbie have done a fantastic job gaining this accreditation for the company.”
Julie has worked for Stiller for 15 years, but previously worked for the company on the same site before Stiller’s arrival in Aycliffe.
“I’ve been on the site more 25 years in total so I’ve seen huge changes here,” said Julie.
“But the changes and improvements since Stiller moved here have been huge. These accreditations are very important. We work on a principle called ATLAS, which stands for always thinking, looking and acting safely, and relates to behavioural safety, but that starts from the top down, and it’s being led by the managing director.
“Each manager completes a regular safety touch audit. They walk the floor, talk to other staff about safety, any subject which is relevant to that area of the business and get the views from the floor, so everyone has been involved in it.
“We have buy-in from all our staff, and we’ve put new practises in place. Staff now have access to hazard cards and regular team meetings focused solely on safety.”
“It helps ensure that our workforce is safe and that any practises that we carry out for our clients will be done in a formalised and recognised way.”
As part of the accreditation Stiller has to take part in routine inspections and annual audits.
Julie added: “We don’t just to it because we have to. We do it because we want to do it and do it properly, rather than just ticking a box.
“And we don’t just hit the requirements, we exceed them, which is why we’re able to gain 18001.”
Stiller provides cost-effective warehousing and distribution services to businesses in the North-East region as well as commercial property lettings and is also a member and major shareholder in Palletline, a national co-operative network of 70 companies.
More about Stiller can be found at www.stiller.co.uk