Stephen Stroud, Group Health & Safety Director at Volvo Group, says that the key to improving health and safety in the workplace it that it has to be prioritised.
“Health and safety are integral to the business,” he says. “It’s not a separate issue, so it needs to be managed like everything else in the business. It can’t be discussed once a month at the safety committee meeting, it needs to be the first thing on the agenda in the morning meeting. And that’s true in plants with strong safety records like Hallsberg and Ageo.”
Safety first in Ageo
The issue of safety is ever present at the truck plant in Ageo. In the middle of the factory floor where all paths intersect, there is a bulletin board for Health and Safety Management, which displays updates on accident analysis. There is also an Accident and Injury Map, which outlines when and where injuries have occurred and a calendar with green stickers indicating days without accidents. Employees must pass these displays every time they go to another part of the plant.
Many new employees at the Ageo plant are on short-term contracts, so training needs to occur with regular frequency. New employees are trained for about 2.5 days – split between learning the assembly line and safety training.
The high level of safety standards has even been recognised by the Ministry of Health and Welfare in Japan which awarded the Ageo plant a merit certificate in 2014.
543 accident-free days in a row
Improving workplace safety has helped transform both the physical environment and the working culture at the Volvo Construction Equipment cab plant in Hallsberg. Better safety is one of the factors making the employees at the plant happier to come to work every day.
Over the past two years, Volvo CE’s plant in Hallsberg has had an impressive safety record, tallying up 543 days in a row without a lost-time accident. Today, safety checks start every morning at 7.20 with incident reports and safety rounds. Safety is also integral to all planning. A cornerstone to this effort at the plant is the Volvo CE Hallsberg culture book, which details expected behaviour.