Safety – the most important issue in a working day
At Lemminkäinen, the theme for 2013 was occupational safety. We are pursuing our zero-accident target through mandatory weekly meetings on construction sites and by paying attention to the use of protective equipment.
In 2013, our site accident frequency rate was 16.3 (22.0). The figure does not include accidents during commuting or occupational diseases. Although we are advancing in the right direction, our long-term target is zero accidents by 2020. Unfortunately, one fatal accident involving an employee of a subcontractor occurred at one of our sites in Finland in 2013.
The business segment management teams and the Group’s Executive Team regularly monitor the development of the accident frequency rate, its causes and the measures we take to improve the occupational safety. The business segment management teams discuss every serious accident at their meetings. We also report on occupational safety to Lemminkäinen’s Board of Directors. In addition, the accident frequency rate is one of the bases for the payment of performance bonuses in our business segments.
In 2013, we harmonised the reporting of the accident frequency rate in all of our operating countries and monitored the classification of accidents more closely. However, we were not able to expand the monitoring of the subcontractors’ accident frequency rate to all of our operations. We started the subcontractors’ accident frequency rate reporting in 2014.
We implemented weekly meetings in every country
We constantly plan and take measures to improve occupational safety. To accelerate this development, we designated occupational safety as the theme for 2013. During the year, occupational safety was brought to centre stage in all of our activities. Supervisors relayed the message in the daily work, and the Group’s and business segments’ management participated in on-site occupational safety reviews.
At the end of 2012, we introduced weekly meetings at our sites in Finland. These meetings are also attended by our subcontractors and their employees. During the reporting year in Finland, the weekly meetings rate was 81 per cent. In early 2013, this practice was also launched in our other operating countries. Our goal is for all of our sites to hold weekly meetings in 2014. Monthly reports on the weekly meetings are submitted to the Group’s Executive Team.
During 2013, we increased the number of site safety audits. The segment safety managers, together with the site manager, are responsible for the safety audits. In 2013, the management participated in the audits, too. Throughout the year, we conducted more than 100 safety audits during which we carefully review the site-specific risks and agree on concrete measures to avoid accidents, such as slipping. We pay particular attention to the construction sites where there is most room for improvement in occupational safety practices.
We collect safety observations in many different ways. In line with our target, we enhanced our electronic safety observation system by introducing a text message application in all of our business segments in Finland. With the application, our personnel can send safety observations as either pictures or text messages. In fact, the number of safety observations in Finland increased by 33 per cent during the reporting year. In our other operating countries, we increased the awareness of the importance of safety observations through safety audits and supervisor communications, among other measures. Consequently, the number of safety observations increased tenfold.
In September 2013, we held the traditional occupational safety week. The activities organised at construction sites during the week included first-aid training, reminders on the appropriate use of protective equipment, rescue drills and employee interviews on occupational safety issues. In addition, the Group’s management conducted on-site safety rounds. In 2014, we will hold the occupational safety week in May together with other companies in the construction industry.
We continuously train our personnel in occupational safety issues. Training helps us to reduce the risk of accidents and ensure that the required protective equipment is used appropriately.
We will standardise protective equipment practices
Personal protective equipment is mandatory at all of our construction sites. The rules also apply to our subcontractors and their employees.
In 2013, we updated our protective equipment catalogue. Ou protective equipment supplier toured our construction sites, providing guidance and assistance in the use of protective equipment in Finland. With these actions, we aim to reduce the accidents caused by inappropriate equipment. For example, many of the accidents that occur at our construction sites are the result of neglecting to use cut-resistant gloves; in most cases, they could have been prevented with the proper protective equipment. We also invest in the development of working methods constantly and pay attention not only to ergonomics but also to the order and phasing of work so that sites do not have areas without the necessary railings, for instance.
During 2014, we will harmonise our protective equipment practices in all of our operating countries.