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Award winning safety initiative cuts injury rate

Author : Paul Gay

10 November 2009

An award winning safety initiative has contributed to a 70% reduction in injury rates during the last six years for an international sugar refiner. The initiative involves a programme of two-way confidential discussions on personal safety matters between line managers and team members. It is conducted through a computer based program where predetermined safety questions, themes and topics are discussed and action plans developed.

Two way discussions
Two way discussions

Called Safety Performance Discussions, the approach has been conceptualised and implemented by British Sugar employees. It gives every employee, including seasonal, temporary and contractual staff, the opportunity for personal one-to-one meetings with their line manager. The initiative has attracted such interest in the international arena that it has won the DuPont Safety Award 2009 in the Innovative Approach category.

Koen van Neyghen, President, DuPont Safety Resources, Europe, Middle East and Africa explained. “British Sugar recognises that a growth-oriented company must not take its focus off of safety or SHE matters – a testament that safety is a business value and catalyst for growth.”

The eighth edition of the award scheme recognises companies and organisations that have undertaken outstanding initiatives towards workplace safety enhancements and accident prevention in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.
Commenting on the award, Gino De Jaegher, managing director of British Sugar UK and Ireland said: “Health and Safety is of critical importance to our business and my vision is to eliminate all injuries. Safety Performance Discussions play a crucial part in this journey by providing a paperless process for feedback on our standards of behaviour. They have reduced our injuries by providing an open and honest forum for improvement,”

Every year DuPont presents the awards to five individuals, companies or organisations selected as the most deserving in one of the following categories: Performance Improvement, Innovative Approach, Visible Management Commitment, Sustainable Business Impact and Cultural Evolution.
Austrian chemicals and plastics company Borealis won this year's Sustainable Business Impact category for the successful implementation of the group-wide safety standards during integration of former Agrolinz Melamine International, which was taken over by Borealis. The company applied an internal programme called Step Change in Safety in 2007 in order that improvements in safety performance be taken into consideration in the integration process. The significant measures in this program included intensive training courses and increased commitment on the part of executives, the setting up of a new organisational structure as well as the introduction of new key figures, measuring instruments and systems. As a result the company was able to achieve almost the same safety performance as the entire Borealis Group by the end of 2008. In addition the executive initiated a second project called the Way Forward Programme, which was intended to anchor the safety philosophy in the consciousness of employees, thereby sustaining the improvement in safety level.
DuPont also presented safety awards to: Danone Waters (France) for Performance Improvement, London Underground Limited (LUL) Nominee (UK) for Visible Management Commitment, and Egyptian LNG (Egypt) for Cultural Evolution. Furthermore DuPont also highlighted an overall outstanding project with Eskom Hendrina Power Station (South Africa). The awards were presented at the A+A International Trade Fair and Congress on Safety, Security and Health at Work in Dusseldorf, Germany. More than 55,000 visitors from 64 countries were expected to attend the four-day fair.

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