2021 Safety award winner

Host Alexander Armstrong (far left), Tim Pearson, national SHEQ manager (holding trophy), and David Cooper, national compliance and training manager (centre) at Wren Kitchens collect the trophy from Steve Cox, marketing manager at Road Transport Expo (second right)

The pandemic disrupted Wren’s plans and tested its resilience. But the kitchen retailer’s business model enabled it to embrace the challenges, introducing Covid-safe procedures and safely delivering 96,296 kitchens by the end of 2020.

From facilities, induction and workplace training to best practice, manual handling, transport and customer service, its operations are all scrutinised for safety.

The company was classified as ‘essential retail’ so continued with a skeleton office staff. Customers were communicated with via the MyAccount App, outlining new Covid-safe processes.

Staff and drivers complete a daily health questionnaire and temperature check before entering its premises. All deliveries are contactless and drivers wear masks, perspex visors, gloves and shoe covers. Vehicles are disinfected daily or on a change of driver.

Workplaces and showrooms were issued with social distancing signage, floor markers and guidance sheets, and workstations were positioned at least 2m apart and fitted with screens.

Wren monitors and reports consistently low workplace accidents with a 56% reduction in RIDDORS, 92% reduced delivery incidents and less than 1% damaged goods for a third consecutive year. There was also a 12% fall in road incident frequency.

The company provides bi-annual CPC training for all managers and drivers and includes specific vulnerable road users and manual handling modules.

Regular Covid, H&S checklist and site audits are undertaken, and drivers have to pass each stage of relevant training before going solo.

Innovative safety equipment has been introduced to reduce physical burden, mitigate personal injury and protect products. Wren also produces quarterly safety campaigns and has mental health first aiders available for all.

Wren has “a really good range of initiatives to create a safety culture”, our judges said. “From driver training to manual handling, it was a case of no stone left unturned with safety,” noted one.

“We are overwhelmed; its brilliant! If it’s not 1,000%, we’re not happy”

David Cooper, national transport compliance and training manager, Wren Kitchens