Playing it safe

Playing it safe

Safety is a top priority for Walki. Not only are safe workplaces better for the wellbeing of the employees, it turns out safety also makes sound business sense. So says Kenneth Granö, Continuous Improvement Manager at Walki, who is responsible for developing measures to ensure that employee health and safety runs at peak efficiency.

“We want our employees to feel confident that they’ll go home to their families and friends and be able to enjoy their spare time after every single shift," says Granö. “From a business point of view, safety, productivity, and quality are all related – our performance in one area is a reflection of how well we’re doing in the others.

Safety has always been a priority for Walki but, in 2014, the company started looking at safety in a more systematic, co-ordinated manner. The work began with a steering committee that analysed the situation and began to collect experience and knowhow. This resulted in a group-wide Safety Policy.

“This was the first time we’d had a clear statement of intent of what we wanted to achieve in our safety work," says Granö.

Safety standards were created and more demanding KPIs were set. The company set up a so-called Safety Alert system, whereby every incident or accident now results in a safety alert that is shared with every plant, in order to create awareness and to prevent reoccurrence. Another measure was increasing the Near Miss Reports, encouraging all employees to recognise risks and report them.

“Every near miss represents a potential hazard in the workplace. It’s not a question of whether or not they exist but whether we’re able to see them. That’s why it’s always better to find and address them before anything serious happens," continues Granö.

Every Walki employee is targeted with making at least two near miss reports or safety observations per year. Safety Walks have also been introduced, involving every level of the organisation – from directors, to managers and supervisors, and workers on the shop floor. The walks help promote dialogue about safety, and are a good way to observe and encourage safe behaviour, and give positive recognition. A template is used and a target for the number of safety walks per year has been set for each person.

The results of Walki’s new safety strategy speak for themselves. The KPI that measures the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR), shows that the number of accidents per million hours worked is down from more than 20 in 2014 to six in 2017. However, Granö maintains that there is still a long way to go.

“We’re headed in the right direction but our target is always going to be zero accidents," he says.

In 2018, all Walki plants will be subject to at least one Safety Audit. Members of the Continuous Development team will visit each site together with external safety auditors to evaluate the safety work and set improvement targets. Meanwhile, Granö admits that the most important objective for the coming years will be to work on the human aspect of safety.

“Being safe isn’t a coincidence, it’s about the choices we make every single day," he continues. “Most accidents that do occur are caused by some kind of human behaviour. This is why we need to focus on building people into our safety journey."

“Our goal for this year is to continue to promote a safety attitude and safety mindset in all our employees. That means creating an environment in which our employees think about what they do and make conscious choices that enable them and their colleagues go home safely at the end of every day," Kenneth Granö concludes.

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