August 30, 2023

Managing Health and Safety in Multisite Operations 

Insights UK Regional Division
Risk Management


The larger an organisation gets, the more sites it may operate, resulting in new challenges managing safety in the workplace, and employee engagement. 

What sort of challenges does a multisite organisation face? 

1. Driving consistent practices across all sites.  
Strong local management requires company-wide policies and arrangements to which they can refer. Clear, consistent procedures and documentation need to be scaled across the organisation, and management must be sure employees understand them. This will, in turn, reduce the risk of the silo syndrome, where each business unit or function interacts within its own “silo” rather than with other locations across the business, leading to a duplication of cost and effort, lack of synergy and little knowledge transfer. 

2. Real-time visibility and reporting. 
Obtaining health and safety performance data is key to establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) across the various locations. Activity and performance can be monitored across many variables, such as: 

  • Risk assessment compliance — Can businesses score individual sites or department’s scores in terms of control measures in risk assessments being in place, and effectiveness? 
  • Audit scores — From general office or warehouse audits to more detailed tracking or electrical safety audits, establishing scores across the whole business will be essential for management to know where to invest resources. 
  • Accident management — Essential to establish trends such as type of accident including location, severity and staff involved. 

3. Accessibility to information. 
A manual, administratively heavy management system will be difficult to keep on top of. From version controlling documents to ensuring all staff have access to the most current versions of policies, risk assessment, safe systems of work and general forms. A scalable, effective health and safety management system requires consistent documentation that is available with the appropriate levels of confidentiality and integrity. 

4. Clarity and awareness of responsibilities. 
An effective health and safety management system will invariably produce numerous outputs as part of its day-to-day operations. Many of these outputs will be tasks that need to be managed and monitored to ensure they are being completed and if not, establishing why not. Managers should have awareness of all tasks in the business (to do, doing, done, overdue). Multiple tasks across sites can quickly become difficult to track and manage, resulting in tasks not being completed. 

5. Consistent and cost-effective training. 
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires businesses to provide whatever information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, the health and safety at work of your employees, so far is a reasonably practical. How training is delivered consistently to the relevant staff across the business with minimal disruption is the challenging part, along with the documentation and any required refresher training.  


  • Having access to the right Health and Safety Management System to tackle these challenges is key to a business’s success. 
  • In multisite operations, this can include development of an implementation plan encompassing management reporting requirements and training webinars for local teams. 
  • Utilising consultants who can provide onsite health and safety support either on ad-hoc, project or annual support contract basis is also beneficial. 
  • Arch Business Protection is able to help with the provision of these solutions. For more information, please speak to your Arch contact.