Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK (NMUK) has been named as the most productive car plant in Europe for seven consecutive years.
It has also been the biggest UK car plant for seven years. Since production began in 1986, NMUK has produced in excess of four million vehicles. Its current production capacity is around 380,000 vehicles per year and employs a workforce of 4125.
High on the list of the factors that maintain NMUK's record productivity is the very strong safety culture that has run through the company since it was first established. Ever since day one, company workers have been issued with strict directives on the wearing of safety gloves, safety glasses and other personal protection equipment (PPE). As a result, safety has become second nature for NMUK workers. Ansell protective gloves have literally become their second skin.
There is an impressive degree of automation and robotisation at the plant. However, to ensure maximum flexibility on the production line, Nissan has retained a greater number of manual tasks than other car manufacturers. Hence the high level of physical risk involved, particularly in the bodywork department
"We are constantly trying to keep cutting down on the number of industrial accidents and the resulting work related lost time absence, as well as the indirect costs that are inevitably involved following a work related injury," explains Mick Morrell, NMUK's Health and Safety Engineer.
"We continually look for improvement with existing tools and PPE, and these include Ansell protective gloves. Thanks to the longer lifecycle of Ansell gloves, we have been able to cut our PPE costs significantly while still maintaining a high degree of protection for our workers," Morrell continued.
Where gloves are concerned, NMUK has been using products made from Kevlar since the outset. Kevlar gloves not only deliver an enhanced level of protection for workers, but also happen to be the most expensive. In 2004, NMUK managed to cut down on its gloves budget by opting for Ansell's 75-110 Neptune Kevlar gloves
"A standard Kevlar glove was lasting for one shift. This one lasts five to seven times longer.
"Better still, as most of the Ansell gloves we use are ambidextrous, we can easily ask the operators to turn them over when they start wearing out so that we can effectively double their lifecycle. And as if that wasn't enough, we are also able to make maximum savings while protecting the environment, because many of our gloves are washed for repeated use and then recycled when they reach the end of their life.
"We see protective gloves as a critical production item. We also view Ansell as a high-quality glove manufacturer that is extremely responsive to our needs," said Mick Morrell.
He said the benefits to Nissan include a strengthened safety culture, higher productivity and lower glove budge; reduced frequency and seriousness of industrial accidents; accomplishment of budget objectives as a result of the much longer lifecycle of Ansell gloves and improved ergonomics, safety, comfort total job/protection suitability, guaranteeing excellent acceptance of the gloves by operators.