Sustainability report 2019/20

Heightening awareness of occupational health and safety

From instructions and training to OHS software

In a production company like ours occupational health and safety or OHS is extremely important. We constantly monitor and invest in occupational health and safety measures in order to give our workforce the best possible protection against health hazards with the help of training courses and modern technical systems. Even if we have been able to further lower the number of accidents in the past few years, they can never be completely ruled out. We meticulously examine the reasons for any accidents and feel that our motto of “safety at work is a matter of thought” is confirmed in this respect; it is often personnel themselves who are not always aware of a potentially dangerous situation. This is why we focus on continuously strengthening people’s attitudes towards occupational health and safety. The aim here is to change familiar patterns of behavior that can cause mistakes and accidents. 

Our OHS measures are based on Salzgitter AG’s group guidelines on occupational health and safety. The KHS Group’s occupational health and safety management program has been ISO 45001 certified at all German production sites since 2019. Additional internal audits ensure that our group-wide OHS regulations are complied with.

We have assigned a chief safety engineer and, accordingly, have established the position of health and safety officer with the respective responsibilities as required by Germany’s Occupational Safety Act at all of our German factories. Our site managers regularly convene for Salzgitter AG’s group health and safety workgroup, thus ensuring that experience in this field is shared across all of our companies. 

Always up to date

As our executive managers act as role models, how they behave is extremely relevant. They therefore sign what is known as a transfer of duties when they join KHS; this regulates all standard responsibilities with respect to occupational health and safety. This includes, for example, instructing employees and ensuring that first aiders are appointed. Executive managers also draw up risk assessments using the new Quentic OHS software. This was introduced in 2019 and helps us to identify and assess hazards so that we can take suitable measures to minimize these. Here, it is obligatory that accidents, near-accidents and entries in the accident log are reported centrally so that our health and safety officers can follow up any incidents accordingly. Lost-time accidents and accident log entries with a high risk potential are analyzed with the help of a questionnaire. Those responsible then derive measures to prevent such accidents being repeated. The register of hazardous materials is also managed, centrally documented and analyzed in this context.

To this end, all risk/hazard assessments are split into five categories:

  1. Hazards posed by the main activity
  2. All hazards on the plant premises or in the vicinity of the workplace
  3. Organizational hazards resulting from a breach of duties, such as a lack of instruction or failure to appoint a first aider
  4. Hazards for pregnant women and those breastfeeding
  5. Psychological stress from a catalog of 16 hazards.

This allows all health and safety officers to quickly access specific information. Each quarter OHS committee meetings are held at all of our German sites, during which all incidents are recorded and strategies are implemented. Here, the appointed committee members have the chance to examine occupational health and safety at work from various perspectives, optimize processes and develop measures for the implementation of OHS objectives.

We run a travel risk management program specially for installation sites outside Germany and travel to and from the same that enables risks to be assessed for all those concerned. Any measures deemed necessary can then be derived on the basis of this. Further travel risk management measures include our HSE (health, safety and environment) manual for installation sites, HSE audits on installation sites and the provision of support for employees regarding medical issues and travel safety by our external services provider International SOS.

All employees in focus

We implement an extensive range of measures to help sensitize our personnel to issues of occupational health and safety on a continuous basis. These include in particular:

  • Topic of the month: this is a one-pager that centers on various issues of occupational health and safety and environmental and energy management. It is distributed to all executive managers every month and discussed with employees during team meetings. Furthermore, once a year what we call sustainability days are staged at our German production sites where occupational health and safety also plays an important role. This event was not held in 2020 due to the corona pandemic.
  • Training programs for various employee groups in the company: special courses of further training on occupational health and safety during system installation and maintenance have been compiled here, for instance. Our special behavior-based occupational health and safety course is geared towards executive managers and provides information in particular on the legal basics, applied OHS and on executives’ need to set an example with respect to occupational health and safety.
  • In 2019 a communication campaign on occupational health and safety was launched at our German plants. Potential risks of accident are pointed out and awareness of these heightened by posters and signs, etc.

Responsibility for employee health

The corona pandemic has marked a watershed in the company's regular health management program during the reporting period, where the top priority has been to prevent the spread of the virus. As a result, an international crisis management team has been formed for the fast and efficient implementation of the hygiene and protective measures decided on and to document the course of infection within the company.

Regarding general health, we especially motivate our employees to make use of KHS’ in-house fitness and prevention program. One example here is our healthy backs in the workplace program launched in 2019: here, a health manager visits every workplace at KHS and advises employees on ergonomics and the work processes a person executes every day at their workstation. Following this, our health and safety officers receive anonymous evaluations that contain recommended actions. These are then discussed with the respective executive managers and implemented where required.

With all of these measures, our aim is to promote and increase the health of our personnel. In addition to offering seminars on stress management, resilience and mindfulness, employees suffering from psychological stress can also contact our occupational health service. This is responsible for workplace integration management following psychological treatment. We also provide ideas for active lunch breaks to encourage active health care. Moreover, the company health management program steering committee also meets at least once a year to debate new measures and ideas that further foster the occupational health and safety of KHS employees.