Safety performance is the most important measurement of whether we are running the business properly. After a massive turnaround operation in the mid-1980s, the trend has been mostly positive even though we have not always reached our ambitious targets.
In 2010, we were not even close to meeting one of our key safety goals when we had a TRI rate (Total Recordable Injuries - number of injuries and incidents requiring medical treatment or relocation per million hours worked) of 3.7. The goal was 2.3 - which would have been an improvement from 2.9 in 2009.
In 2011 the company aims to reduce its TRI rate to 2.7.
South America best
"We were unable to reach our goal and there is nothing good about that," says Jack Simensen in Hydro's Corporate HSE and social responsibility unit. "We had a total of 22 incidents in two units - one of which is new to the company." This accounted for 17 percent of all incidents.
The only sector that did better than Hydro's goal in 2010 was Extrusion in South America - the operations in Argentina and Brazil.
Seen what it takes
Simensen leads the jury that selects the winners of the company's annual Safety Award. Over the years he has visited the plants in some of the Hydro units that are strongest in health, safety and environment.
There are certain characteristics that distinguish the best:
- Very dedicated and enthusiastic managers and staff
- Visible leadership with good communication and involvement
- Extensive training for all employees
- Proactive approach to HSE coupled with management who devote considerable attention to understanding and reducing risk factors
Do as the boss does
"It is also important that managers receive safety training," he says. "They can be positive and visible, but if they do not see the risk factors, they will send the wrong signals." When all is said and done, we are regular folks. We see what the boss does, and do the same.