Health and safety first
With a focus on preventative safety through model behaviors and the promotion of mental health, a number of new initiatives strengthened our health and safety efforts in 2021.
GRI 403-9, 403-10
At the start of the year, we appointed a dedicated Global Health & Safety Director and divided Health & Safety and Environment into two areas from the formerly combined EHS organization. An Environment & Energy Manager was hired as well.
In the area of health, we continued to promote our COVID-19 hygiene routines and expanded our work in supporting mental health, a topic that is very important to us. Currently, we are piloting measures at our site in Malaysia to learn more about how we can help support the mental health of our employees.
Regarding safety, we put new emphasis on best practices in the workplace and implemented behavior-based safety trainings. We also educated our employees in a broader set of reporting principles, putting new quantitative and qualitative safety indicators in place. In France, where we have faced safety challenges since the beginning of 2020, we are setting up an extensive, dedicated action plan with new safety measures.
Accident rate setback in 2021
In 2021, we had a setback in the accident rate. Our accidents went up from 5 LTIs in 2020 to 10 in 2021. We conducted a thorough analysis and put measures in place to counter this development. The main issue was accidents with less severe consequences such as slips, trips or falls that did not occur at the workstation, but rather when colleagues were in motion. The most common factors were lack of attention, taking shortcuts, inadequate work methods or workplace arrangement and management. All accidents have been analyzed carefully and, in addition to the programs already in place (
See also Behavior-based safety), three specific actions were taken immediately:
- We assessed all sites with a special focus on slip, trip and fall risks
- We conducted a quality assessment of hand tools at all sites
- We did a forklift safety risk assessment regarding operation and collision of forklifts and personnel
All sites conducted assessments, completed a unified checklist and developed action plans.
Behavior-based safety is in the center of our actions to prevent accidents.
A comprehensive action plan to improve safety at Beckers France aims to address concerns after a number of accidents. Between January 2020 and December 2021, there were 12 accidents, resulting in a total of 123 days of sick leave. Accidents with no sick leave totaled 33. The repercussions of such accidents are felt not only at work, but also in family life, where they cause suffering and disruption.
Our ambition is to ensure the highest level of safety in our working environment for every colleague. By 2030, we want to have a record of zero accidents.
“Everyone who works in our company must be able to go home at the end of their day or shift in the same state of health as when they arrived.”
Christophe Sabas | CEO
“There are no priorities that take precedence over safety. Our aim is to protect Beckers France employees, temporary workers and contractors both physically and in terms of morale,” says Eric Fouissac, President, Southern Europe & Africa.
Our five priorities to implement this approach and to achieve our objectives are:
- Safety leadership: Managers will lead and help create a safety culture by communicating, being visible in the field, leading by example, encouraging employee involvement and developing their teams’ skills.
- Employee participation: We acquire a lot of knowledge and experience from our everyday work. We will all use this knowledge by taking part in and contributing to the development and upholding of a safety culture.
- Operational compliance: This involves defining safety standards for our everyday work and making sure we all consistenly work according to these agreed standards and that we all refuse to accept departures from these standards.
- Risk control: The company’s safety management rules require that managers reduce risk to as low a level as reasonably practicable and that employees and subcontractors apply the controls that the above process has identified.
- Continuous learning: We must all maintain a high level of knowledge about good safety practices, learn from each other about safe behavior, and learn from near misses to reduce exposure to injury.
A mental health pilot project in Malaysia
Ensuring the physical health and safety of our employees is of utmost importance to Beckers, but we are also concerned about the mental well-being of our workers. In 2022, we hope to expand our mental health programs. A pilot project in Malaysia determined what our employees need to maintain good mental health. This proactive initiative offered colleagues coaching and psychological support to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. We offered psychosocial risk assessments followed by counseling, resilience or mindfulness training or similar actions to employees who wanted help.
Workshops, site tours highlight EHS Day in Vietnam
At Beckers Vietnam, we sprang into action on the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, answering the call of the United Nations to promote this international campaign on April 28.
The two-part event included a workshop, at which we reviewed common workplace accidents, and a tour of our sites in Ho Chi Minh City and Nghe An to look for electrical hazards.
In 2021, we continued our pandemic hygiene measures with the aim of keeping our community safe and ensuring operations ran smoothly at all locations. As a result, the number of COVID-19 cases throughout Beckers was relatively low. We provided protective equipment for people working on site and continued measures such as taking employees’ temperature before work and maintaining separate shifts without overlap.
Working remotely has become standard at Beckers wherever possible, and a longer-term plan to enable remote work will begin in 2022. We have strengthened our internal communications channels to keep teams united and to stay aligned in our common goals. At Beckers, like most companies around the world, addressing the future of work means balancing increased flexibility with a globally shared sense of belonging. New IT tools such as MS365 and SharePoint have played a role in moving towards these new ways of working.
Beckers Germany, Dormagen – Strong demand for on site vaccinations
Beckers in Dormagen offered several opportunities for employees and their friends and relatives to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Company physicians first offered vaccinations for employees in June, with an overwhelming response.
In the first round, 77 vaccinations were carried out for employees, family members and friends in a single afternoon. Demand for a third date – primarily for second vaccinations – was also very high, with 82 vaccinations. Our employee vaccination rate at the site reached 65 percent in August 2021.
Beckers UK, Liverpool – COVID-19 and flu vaccine clinics
Local staff with support from Operations Director Amanda Hoskins introduced a flu vaccination clinic on site in 2021, providing further protection for staff who took part in the successful COVID-19 vaccination clinic earlier in the year. The response to both initiatives was very positive.