For Keith Powney, Health & Safety Manager at Goff Petroleum, the importance of managing site safety cannot be underestimated. Operating a business designated a top-tier COMAH (Control of Major Accident Hazards) site imposes stringent health and safety requirements to protect staff and the surrounding community. This is just one of the reasons why Keith turns to Alan Boswell Group for his statutory engineering inspections and insurance requirements.
Goff Petroleum was founded over 100 years ago and has grown to become one of the largest heating oil distributors in the UK. The family-owned and managed company has five depots and operates out of three terminals, covering much of the East of England. While global climate change continues to make an impact, Goff is making substantial changes to improve its impact on the environment and provide sustainable products. Some of these changes include a carbon offset scheme run through local farms, the supply of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) and Bio Fuels, and the development of a new Energy Innovation Park at its head office in Norfolk. More details on Goff’s sustainability plans can be found here.
We catch up with Keith on how he manages risk and ensures Goff is adequately protected, with the assistance of Alan Boswell Group.
“I’ve worked for Goff for six years and in Health and Safety for about 20 years. I started when I was an offshore supervisor. I’ve seen a lot of changes over the last 15 to 20 years; compliance requirements are a lot stricter nowadays, but it can only be a good thing to improve safety and reduce incidents.
“Goff operate out of five depots and three terminals, covering from south Lincolnshire, across to Cambridgeshire, down to Kent, and the Reading area. We have a fleet of around 150 vehicles, which includes arctics [lorries] and redelivery vehicles [tankers]. As well as domestic heating oil, we also deliver industrial heating oil, red diesel, and, following legislation changes last year, white diesel to building contractors.
“Most of our business is through the residential heating oil side, and that’s generally to houses that weren’t hooked up to the gas line supply when it was installed in their area. A lot of the time this will be the more rural areas.
“Our relationship [with Alan Boswell Group] started before I worked for Goff. ABG has been our broker since 2015, and that started with the Group looking after all our insurances for our different sites, the fleet, and our staff.”
With a complex, high-risk, multi-site business, there are numerous factors that insurers will consider when choosing whether to provide cover. This will include the competency of management, what risk plans are in place, and the claims history. As Goff’s insurance broker, we take on the responsibility of managing their insurance programme, ensuring that their liabilities are covered should an incident occur, and providing advice on how to mitigate their risks.
“Every year Mike [Young, Account Executive] and Julie [Ambrose, Account Handler] will visit us, and we’ll sit down and run through our insurance. If I have any questions throughout the year, I know I can pick up the phone and speak to Mike or Julie and get an answer straight away. Louise [Turner, Senior Claims Handler] manages the claims process for us, which has been a big support over the years .”
Taking out insurance is an important part of protecting your business from its risks, but managing the challenges you face and meeting your legal responsibilities are equally important. It’s a legal requirement for certain types of plant and machinery to be inspected regularly, and insurers will also make it an obligation of the cover they provide that this is complied with.
“This is where ABRM got involved. We have always had an external company complete our inspections – we only have two engineers who could be at any one of our five sites on any given day, so outsourcing inspections is a necessity for us. But we weren’t happy with the service we were getting from our previous inspection contractor, and in 2020 Julie put us in contact with Simon [Wyeld, Engineer Surveyor at Alan Boswell Risk Management]; we got a quote, and that was it – we’ve been happy ever since!
“Alan Boswell Risk Management have been fantastic – if I want something done, they’ll give me a date or ask Simon to pop by; nothing’s ever a problem. The best thing for us is that you’re local, our previous contractor was national, and you just don’t get the same level of service. Managing all the risks is challenging across our different sites, so ABRM’s proactivity in reminding us when machinery is due to be inspected is a massive help.”
ABRM inspect all of Goff’s lifting equipment, pressure equipment and LEV (local exhaust ventilation) systems, which includes a lot of the equipment used in the workshop necessary for maintaining their fleet of vehicles.
“Driving and the use of equipment are some of the biggest risk factors for the company. We always have to make sure everything is tip-top. Because we’re a top-tier COMAH site, our risk management must be above and beyond what a normal garage, for example, has to be. We always need to be that bit above the legal standard. If the HSE [Health & Safety Executive] or Environment Agency visited us and found that we weren’t complying, they could shut us down.
“Using ABRM gives us peace of mind that when it’s done, it’s done. And we know your guys are also trained to do these inspections. I like the flexibility, too; I’ve got Simon’s mobile number, so I can ask him if he’s in the area to check something for us. It’s a service that I can rely on, which is brilliant.”
As Goff looks to continue to deliver on its sustainability mission while also supplying the homes and businesses in the East of England with the fuel they need, they can be confident that they have a partner in Alan Boswell Group who provide complementary services across their risk management and insurance. By using one provider for insurance and risk management, we can really understand Goff’s risks and provide the services and products needed to mitigate them. To find out more about our insurance and engineering inspection services, contact us at 01603 218000.