CSR in Practice: Health and Safety – Top priority for Devro

Health & Safety Policy

In the last 10 years, we have focused on safety in the genuine belief that all accidents in the workplace are preventable. 2016 was a disappointing year, and we know that we must refocus our efforts in 2017 and beyond in order to regain momentum in this area.

It was a tragedy for all colleagues that there was a fatal accident at our Czech plant on 30 March 2016, involving a forklift truck. We co-operated closely with the relevant authorities in the investigation process and launched our own in-depth internal investigations to learn from this distressing incident.

Effective from January 2017, a new role has been established to ensure total consistency in the management of safety at all sites, with direct responsibility for group-wide standards and their implementation.

Safety underpins all our operational procedures with accountability for safety at every level of the organisation.

We are committed to guaranteeing the physical and psychological integrity of our employees as we recognise that our employees are our greatest advocates and assets.
We believe that all work-related injuries and work-related ill health cases can be prevented. Our aim is to provide a safe and healthy working environment for all colleagues, contractors and visitors and ensure that everyone returns home safely when they finish their work.

We ensure that robust incident investigations are carried out to determine the root cause, prevent recurrence and continually improve day-to-day safety behaviours and performance. We share the findings from the investigations amongst the regions to ensure we learn from them. 

The Chief Executive meets personally with every colleague who has been involved in an LWDI. Each of the regions communicates the policy to the employees and uses the policy when setting objectives. In addition, the policy is used during the visitor and contractor induction process. 

Policies are reviewed annually in conjunction with teams in each of the regions and the latest versions were fully updated and endorsed by the Board at the end of 2017. They are available to read on our website

Board Commitment 

The Health and Safety is a Committee of the Board of the Company. The primary purpose of the Committee is to assist the Board to fulfil its responsibilities in relation to Health and Safety matters, including Occupational Health, arising out of the activities of the Company. 

The Board Health and Safety Committee reviews and monitors safety performance in each of the regions. The Committee convened six times in 2016 (either by video, telephone or in person) with representatives of the safety committee of one of the group’s main manufacturing facilities. The terms of reference can be found on our website here

Safety Management

Safety underpins all our operational procedures with accountability for safety at every level of the organisation. In 2016 we established core safety teams across the business in the following disciplines:

  • Chemical Safety
  • Electrical Safety
  • Maintenance Safety
  • Mechanical Safety
  • Process Safety 
  • Safety Best Practice

We created a global health and safety strategy pyramid which clearly defines our vision, purpose, principles, aims and objectives. We review this annually and update the objectives for the year ahead. The strategy pyramid is communicated across the business and we update our employees on progress throughout the year.

Global Health & Safety Strategy Pyramid

Each of the regions has a comprehensive risk assessment programme in place for both new and existing operations.

Our sites all have a safety management system that conforms to their country requirements. In addition, our sites in the Czech Republic has OSHAS 18001 accreditation. The sites are all subject to both internal and external audits by regulatory bodies and our company insurers to ensure compliance.

All sites have an annual safety and training plan in place. These are submitted to the Board Safety Committee at the start of the year for review.

Safety Committees and Employee Consultation

The best way to make our workplaces safe is to encourage everyone to take ownership of safe practice. Within Devro, the approach varies from country to country to fit in with the local culture but the principle is the same: safety is a matter of behaviour and behaviour can be changed.

Behavioural auditing is becoming more and more popular amongst manufacturing organisations. It differs from traditional safety inspections that look for unsafe conditions, and focuses instead on the way people approach their tasks and interact with the working environment. The goal is to encourage people to take personal responsibility for creating a safer workplace.

There were 1,885 behavioural audits conducted in 2016, lasting over 700 hours. These identified and prompted action to eliminate over 1,500 unsafe acts and conditions.

Each of the regions has a safety committee with representatives from across the business, including Trade Union representatives. The committees meet monthly and minutes are shared with the workforce.

Performance Monitoring

Devro monitors performance using a number of leading and lagging indicators and we bench mark our performance against other sector peers. We share our performance statistics internally and capture them in our annual and corporate social responsibility reports that are available on the website.