Sheffield is synonymous with the metal industry and was the home of British Steel. In 1992, British Steel Stainless merged with the Swedish firm, Avesta, which in 2001 merged with Outokumpu, making it the third largest stainless steel producing company in the world at the time. Outokumpu’s has two sites in Sheffield covering more than 50 acres in total, manufacturing stainless steel into wire rod coil, which is used in a diverse range of applications including needles and pins, springs, welding consumables, yacht rigging and medical implant components.
The larger of the Outokumpu sites in Sheffield is the home of the SMACC melting shop and the Sheffield Stainless bar finishing works along with Europe’s largest stainless steel service and distribution centre. The smaller of the two sites accommodates the hot rolling and acid de-scaling sites known as ASR. This site is designated a Tier One location under the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999 (COMAH), due to the degree of hazard posed to people on site and the surrounding area, which includes the Meadowhall shopping centre.
‘This is a massive site and keeping it secure is incredibly important due to the materials kept here and the work that takes place on a daily basis,’ explains John McLean-Searle, security manager at Outokumpu. ‘I was becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the level of service that our previous manned guarding provider was giving us and having previously met with Salman Shamim, Business Development Manager at Corps Security, we invited him to submit a tender proposal to outline how he could improve matters.’
Salman’s recommendations were accepted and the contract was awarded in September 2012. He comments, ‘As the UK’s leading specialist security solutions provider we are renowned for the quality of our services and the expertise of our people. John and his team were pleased to hear that we take the welfare of all of our officers seriously and this was particularly evident during the transfer process.’
To comply with the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 – otherwise known as TUPE – the 15 individuals that worked for the previous manned guarding company had to transfer their employment to Corps Security. While this can be a problematic process if not handled correctly, Corps Security prides itself on its ability to ensure a smooth transition and views legal compliance as a bare minimum requirement. Adopting a policy of inclusivity, consultation and best practice means that it generates a more motivated and engaged workforce – ultimately ensuring that high levels of productivity and service provision are maintained.
To develop the most appropriate and beneficial security operation, Salman recommended the completion of a comprehensive risk and threat assessment. This was undertaken by Corps Security’s director of security consulting, Mike Bluestone, who states, ‘This process involved an analysis of Outokumpu’s activities, premises and facilities, and addressed all the risks posed to staff, visitors and customers. Vandalism, metal theft, the protection of an on-site power plant, and the safety of the company’s train line that connects to the mainline rail network were just a few of the issues that had to be addressed. Once I had finished this process I presented my recommendations, which are now being rolled out.’
Amongst their other duties, Corps Security’s officers are responsible for the radiation scanning of any trucks coming on-site – an important process that can stop harmful contaminants getting into the production chain. The way the site is patrolled has also changed and those who work independently have now been furnished with GPS lone worker protection devices that are tracked by the Corps Monitoring Centre (CMC) in Glasgow.
Corps Security played a major role in a recent event at Outokumpu’s site when the British Stainless Steel Association and Sheffield Metallurgical and Engineering Association hosted an international conference and exhibition which focused on the future for stainless steel. Part of Sheffield’s celebrations to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the discovery of stainless steel, the site was visited by a number of industry VIPs, and Corps Security officers in full commissionaire uniforms were on duty.
Outokumpu is delighted with its new manned guarding operation and the final word goes to John who concludes, ‘I’m incredibly impressed with the improvements we have experienced since Corps Security came on board. It has consistently delivered on its promises and clearly has an unrivalled level of expertise – what’s more, all those who transferred are very pleased to be working for a company that has their best interests at heart.’