Universal Sodexho

A safe bet

For more than 25 years, Sodexho has supplied a full range of services for people living in extreme conditions on onshore and offshore sites around the world through its Universal Sodexho subsidiary

Today, Universal Sodexho is one of the world leaders in remote site management services, which it provides in a wide array of markets, such as oil and gas, mining, construction, forestry and major industrial projects.

Universal Sodexho organises and manages the services that thousands of people living together in remote settings need to work and live in the best possible conditions. Each contract requires a purpose-designed package of services, which may include anything from the installation of a laundry or a bakery to the management of a water treatment plant. In fact, Universal Sodexho offers a range of services that support remote projects over their complete lifecycle, including maintenance, vehicle maintenance, transportation management, security, logistics and waste management.

As a provider of quality outsourcing services, Universal Sodexho has to fulfil all its client’s requirements, which can be demanding. When a company chooses to turn to an outsourcing provider they are looking to gain substantial economies of scale by reducing the number of their subcontractors. So when clients turn to Sodexho as a single-source provider, they need to benefit from a very high service quality, even in the most remote regions. They are also looking to satisfy another potential challenge – ensuring that their people enjoy the best quality of life possible, everywhere in the world.

Ensuring that ‘quality of life’ is maintained means that health and safety has to be at the top of the agenda, especially in high-risk industries such as oil and gas. In fact, Universal Sodexho has been focusing on this area for some time and has been recognised a number of times by the industry for its outstanding HSE performance.

In 2006, for the fifth consecutive year, Universal Sodexho in the UK was recognised by the prestigious Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), and awarded the 2006 Gold Medal Award for Occupational Health and Safety. The company’s HSE manager for Scotland, John Fraser commented: “To deliver on such a consistent basis, in a business arena of constant change, calls for an enormous amount of effort, focus and commitment. This award further demonstrates that an external professional body realises that our people are the reason for our success.”

From the other side of the Atlantic, Marathon Oil Company bestowed the HSE Large Contractor of the Year Award to Universal Sodexho’s UK team. The president of Marathon Oil UK Ltd commented: “2005 was an exceptional year for Universal Sodexho, with a Brae field recordable incidence rate of zero.”

Based on these criteria, Universal Sodexho in the UK was not only awarded the Marathon European Business Unit (EBU) Award for 2005, but went on to receive Marathon’s overall HSE Large Contractor of the Year Award in a recent ceremony in Houston. The company’s dedication to the highest standards of health and safety has already resulted in further recognition in 2007: “This year we won the British Safety Council International Safety Award for the seventh consecutive year,” John commented.

He went onto explain that the focus on health and safety was the result of a complete culture change programme called ‘Service Excellence’, which was instigated a number of years ago. “We were so impressed by the changing attitudes and practices of the business and itsemployees as they went through this process, that we decided to implement further standards. Originally we didn’t set out to specifically change people’s attitudes on health and safety, but we were so satisfied with the positive attitudes that we chose to develop a relentless commitment to this area,” he said.

“We put a specific team together to create the health and safety standards, which then became an important part of each person’s quarterly review,” John continued. “The response has been good, and it is now the standard that everyone in the business strives for. I am particularly happy that everyone’s attitudes to health and safety have entirely changed and that it has had a positive effect on our clients.”

Looking at the industry as a whole, John explained that health and safety is a vitally important consideration, and something that Universal Sodexho looks at continually: “It is the number one priority among all of the oil and gas companies, and through close cooperation with our customers it is the key focus within our organisation. Our health and safety policy recognises the importance of the involvement and commitment from the senior managers and the workforce, and we have established safety tools in place to ensure that all risks have been factored and taken into consideration,” John explained. “No activity in the business is more important than having practical measures in place, but the only way that we can achieve this is by having the correct working conditions and maintaining the highest standards. Our main challenge is to continue to stay ahead of the competition, whilst developing new services for on and offshore customers.”

Universal Sodexho

Industry: Facilities management