More than rules or slogans – safety is a continuous and common effort

Safety comes first in everything we do at Outotec. We are very proud of the extraordinary safety figures we have been able to achieve. The results are no stroke of luck.

Safety is important to any company. The reasons range from the societal and ethical responsibilities of the company towards their employees to the economic benefits that are realized as a result of good safety performance. The overriding goal is that all employees return home at the end of the
day in the same physical condition as they arrived in the morning.
Our goal at Outotec is to continually improve workplace health and safety of all our employees, contractors, and clients until the goal of zero harm is reached. We had only eight lost time incidents in the whole global organization in 2019.

The positive results did not happen by chance, as we have systematically developed our safety culture, processes, competencies, and performance with our personnel.

Workplace wellbeing and engagement with safety

Numerous studies demonstrate that having a strong health and safety program and culture within a company significantly elevates the morale, productivity, and engagement of the employees.

“This translates into reduced injury numbers, higher productivity, lower turnover, improved customer relations, and ultimately higher NPS scores both internally and externally,”

says Kevin Solski, Director of Quality, Environment, Health & Safety for the Services Business Unit at Outotec.

Much the same as any other workplace initiative, health and safety must be developed and implemented from the top levels of the organization all the way through to the field level worker.

“The commitment to the health and safety of the employees cannot be reduced only to common slogans such as ‘safety first’ or ‘safety starts with me’. There must be a tangible concerted effort put forth by the management of the company to show that the safety of employees is a top priority,” Solski says. “Once this has been established a true culture of safety begins to develop.”

Focus on travel and hand safety

In 2019, Outotec safety campaigns have taken the important step of identifying areas for improvement and bringing them into focus. We have established methods or new procedures to mitigate the hazards and communicated the advancements throughout the organization in a
manner that is both informative and fun.

“The idea behind the safety campaigns was to focus on, and bring attention to, areas where we could improve as a company. We want to make sure that employees return home at the end of the day safe and healthy and therefore strive to develop the overall safety culture within Outotec,” Solski says.

Two of the main safety campaigns in 2019 were about hand and driving safety. Over the 4-week driving safety campaign, Outotec employees explored topics ranging from general rules to unsafe driving practices to new Outotec requirements and finally external factors that lead to hazards while driving.

The hand safety campaign focused on another serious issue.

“Globally it is estimated that between 50% and 80% of all recordable workplace injuries in the industrial sector involve the hands. In the past two years, hand injuries accounted for 42% of all recorded injuries at Outotec,” Solski says.

Hand safety awareness was highlighted through a series of focused safety messages, which culminated in the “Hands Up for Safety” day. The aim was to bring attention to the things we use our hands for and how we can keep them safe and free from harm.

“Our hand campaign also brought to light that hand injuries are not isolated to the job site, as musculoskeletal injuries are also very common in office settings,” Solski says.

The ongoing establishment and elevation of the safety culture will continue to show positive gains in all areas that are influenced by improved health and safety performance. These include improved employee morale and engagement, increased productivity, strengthened customer relations, and higher retention rates of our world-class personnel.