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Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK

Dramatically reducing the cost of PPE while enhancing quality of protection.

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Mick Morrell, Health and Safety Engineer, Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK: "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."

Customer company profile

Established in Sunderland in the North-East of England back in 1984, Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK (NMUK) has been named as the most productive car plant in Europe for 7 consecutive years. It has also been the biggest UK car plant for 7 years. Since production began in 1986, NMUK has produced in excess of 4 million vehicles at the Sunderland Plant where the current capacity is in the region of 380,000 vehicles per year. 75% of all the models that roll off the production line today - Nissan Micra, Primera and Almera - are exported to 45 countries around the world. And 60% of Nissan sales in Europe are vehicles built in Sunderland by the well-trained workforce of some 4125.

Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd is successfully protecting its title as Europe's most productive car factory.

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. And Ansell protective gloves have literally become their second skin.

The challenge: to keep on achieving greater safety with excellent cost-effectiveness

After going through a period of major financial uncertainty and a continued alliance with Renault, Nissan has today re-established itself as a profitable company with no debt. The high level of productivity achieved at the Sunderland factory is part and parcel of this renewed corporate vigour. 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." NMUK is currently looking for other ways to improve, both in terms of safety itself and the amount of money spent on it. 

The solution: to work on the way workers think and behave, as well as the cost/lifecycle of the PPE used

In 2004, making NMUK a safer place to work was enshrined as an important on-going company objective. This programme has seen excellent improvements in Health and Safety, with a number of major H&S initiatives implemented in most departments. 2005 is now seeing the launch of an ambitious 3-year plan focusing on how workers think and interact with one another at work and concentrating on the kind of behaviour that avoids accidents and helps others to work in safety. This new initiative aims to achieve a 30% reduction in accidents at the NMUK plant over the next three years.

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 5 to 7 times longer," smiles Mick Morrell. "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."

The benefits: strengthened safety culture, higher productivity and lower glove budget

Mick Morrell: "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."

NMUK enjoys a number of benefits:

  • Reduced frequency and seriousness of industrial accidents and the accomplishment of budget objectives as a result of the much longer lifecycle of Ansell gloves
  • Inside and expert  knowledge of NMUK's needs by the glove manufacturer: every request is handled quickly and efficiently.
  • The development of customised PPE to meet NMUK's specific requirements (for example: in under 2 weeks, Ansell produced a new glove specially for NMUK in line with a design used at Nissan US, with excellent results in terms of cutting down on accidents).
  • Ergonomics, safety, comfort total job/protection suitability, guaranteeing excellent acceptance of the gloves by operators.

Ansell Products and Services used

  • 75-110 Neptune® Kevlar® Gloves, for the bodywork department (40,000 pairs per year)

  • 78-406 Eliminator™ Anti Static Gloves, for anti-static painting work (20,000 pairs per year)

  • 11-625 HyFlex®, for engine assembly (5,000 pairs per year)

  • 70-205 Neptune® Kevlar® Gloves, for low cut resistance applications (70,000 pairs per year)

  •  70-215 Neptune® Kevlar® Gloves, for medium cut resistance applications (40,000 pairs per year)

  •  70-225 Neptune® Kevlar® Gloves, for high cut resistant applications (20,000 pairs per year)

  •  37-675 Sol-Vex®, for solvent handling in paint plant (23,000 pairs per year)

  • 76-160 and 76-301Stringknits™ gloves, for general assembly (150,000 pairs per year)

  • Audits of several areas and their respective workstations in the body shop, paint plant and engine assembly resulting in the introduction of new products.

Benefits for the customer

  • Ansell's expertise/advice and willingness to change for greater protection while spending less
  • Higher productivity generated by better performance and good acceptance of protective gloves
  • Tangible reduction in the direct and indirect costs associated with safety


  • Ansell:  Wouter Piepers, Director Communications EMEA - Tel.: + 32 (0)2 528 75 68, e-mail:

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