Heraeus is bringing occupational health and safety into even sharper focus.

Health Source: plainpicture

Extreme temperatures, corrosive chemicals, razor-sharp quartz glass— depending on the business area, Heraeus employees must deal with very different safety requirements. And not all the dangers are as obvious as the familiar white shark. This scourge of the deep is just one of several motifs in a campaign which the company created to put more teeth into the pursuit of occupational health and safety around the world.

Certain topics do not require a lengthy discussion about goals. Occupational health and safety is one of them. “We want to bring the number of workplace accidents to zero,” explains Dr. Uwe Endruschat. “Occupational safety is inextricably bound with our pursuit of excellence and with all programs derived from that objective. It is part of the Heraeus corporate culture.” With the support of international occupational safety experts, Dr. Endruschat and his team are developing ways to incorporate this culture even more. To that end, they analyzed accidents that occured at Heraeus and identified four areas for action: Strengthen knowledge, set standards, create awareness and foster a culture of safety.

Building on this foundation, in 2018 the team introduced a large-scale communications campaign, training sessions and regular workshops at all locations. One particular challenge: Each business area has a different risk profile.

No routines

“The crucial factor is that employees do not fall back into routines,” explains Nicolle Nyzio, who is responsible for Environment, Health and Safety in North and South America. “We cannot afford to be complacent when things are going well. We must always stay alert and carefully consider each work situation.” Managers play a special role here, because they are expected to exemplify the new safety culture. “We are well aware that this is a long-term project. Ultimately, the goal is for employees to follow the safety instructions because these are personally important to them, not because they are required,” Endruschat explains.

The initiative is already showing results around the globe. Employees and managers are already talking more about occupational safety, and the number of related incidents has already declined in 2018. This is also true for the locations in North and South America, where Nyzio is very satisfied with the results: “This initiative is another step forward on the path to a proactive culture of safety.”

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Source: Herbert Naujoks, Stuttgart

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