Goals were achieved in occupational health and safety in 2019: the sickness absence percent of the staff was clearly under three, over 160 safety observations were reported which is more than the target number and accidents were avoided for the fourth year in a row. “More important than reaching a certain target number is what the target numbers actually comprise: to be able to reach the goals, the staff needs to consider occupational health and safety important and participate actively in developing health and safety by making concrete observations about their work environment.” explains Head of Occupational Health and Safety Rauno Tuokkola.
Safety observations lead often into improvements and different modifications.
Preparation is the key in safety. At Westenergy, new safety observations are discussed every day in the morning meeting where also the corrective and preventive actions and their deadlines are outlined. “There is good safety culture at Westenergy. Everyone is committed to the 0 accidents mindset and also the subcontractors report safety observations actively.”, praises Tuokkola. Last year, a new programme for the safety observations was taken into use, and now the safety observations with attached photos can be reported on the spot with a smart phone.
Safety observations often lead into concrete improvements and alterations, so it is no coincidence that at Westenergy, the responsibility of occupational health and safety belongs to Maintenance Manager. “Last year the safety of the employees was improved by, for instance, installing shut-off valves into the bottom slag outlet system and by widening the work floors in the plant. Risk assessment was updated, and psychological risks were mapped out with an e-survey. The key idea is to recognise dangers and risks already before any accidents happen.”, Tuokkola explains.
Staff training and good work atmosphere are being invested in
At Westenergy, safety is promoted in many ways. First aid training and valid Occupational Safety Card are required from the entire staff, and all subcontractors participate in an online safety training in the best case already before arriving at the plant. In this way safety rules can be studied carefully before starting to work. Last year, a safety rehearsal was arranged in co-operation with the local rescue department, and the rehearsal and targets for development were discussed with the entire staff. In addition, safety minutes are held to inform the staff about current safety matters, and safety rounds are carried out in the plant regularly to make sure that the work environment is tidy and safe to work in.
Healthy and motivated staff is central for good work atmosphere and achieving the goals, and the staff’s training and improving the work atmosphere are, therefore, being invested in at Westenergy. Based on the development discussion, a personal training plan is outlined for every employee. In the plan the needs of the company and those areas where the employee would like to develop and learn more, are recognised. To maintain good team spirit, different events are organised for the staff. Last year the staff members competed in eco-shooting and different humorous dexterity tests at Reinon Tupa in Kurikka. There is also a gym at Westenergy’s plant which the staff members can use freely. Last year Westenergy was nominated by the employees for Vaasa’s Employer of the Year 2019 and was selected as one of the finalists.
The Vision Zero Forum has granted Westenergy the highest categorisation of In World’s Forefront of Occupational Safety for the third time in a row. The forum is a network of companies that aims at developing occupational health and safety and shares good practices between the member organisations.