Making work safer is a matter of looking ahead and proactively putting the right measures in place. A newly introduced system provides the statistical underpinnings for this at Implenia by systematically recording accident data across the whole Group. This system also captures potential damage and near misses.
Safe workplaces Occupational safety is always an issue, especially on construction sites. As Global Head Safety, Felix Akeret is committed to ensuring that safety regulations are actually implemented in practice and that, for example, when using ladders – where thousands of accidents happen every year – every one is on full alert.
“What excites me about my job is that I can use my experience and expertise to make workplaces safer.”
Global Head Safety and an ambitious advocate of safe construction sites
Promoting employee engagement through recognition: You Matter
Occupational accidents Incidents per 1000 full-time posts Base: All Implenia Group units as at 31.12.2021
Non-occupational accidents Incidents per 1000 full-time posts Base: All units in Switzerland as at 31.12.2021 excluding relapses
Accurate data as a basis for proactive measures
The consistent and continuous efforts Implenia makes to reduce the number of accidents at work continued to pay off in 2021. The accident rate was reduced once again – to 47 accidents per thousand full-time jobs. This puts Implenia on the right path to achieve its ambitious sustainability goal for safety at work: taking the 2020 figure as the baseline, it aims to reduce the accident rate by 50 per cent by 2025. In financial 2021, the Global Safety unit introduced various tools designed to make it easier to move towards the safety target.
Statistical analysis leads to targeted measures
In 2021 Implenia implemented a new system for collecting accident data called Synergi Life, in which all accidents are reported in accordance with the same standard. In addition to information on the type of accident and how it occurred, potential damage is now also recorded. Felix Akeret, Global Head Safety, explains: “This means the system can also answer questions about the consequences an accident could have in the worst case. What would have happened, for example, if the falling pipe had hit the site worker on the head rather than the arm?” Information on near misses – incidents that did not cause damage but could have done – is also collected consistently.
As the system is continuously fed with relevant information, Synergi Life becomes a powerful tool for identifying weaknesses in occupational safety at Implenia, and for deriving measures based on statistical analysis of real-life data. Based on historical information, it enables Implenia to initiate proactive steps that create an even safer working environment and so reduce the number of accidents even further. The introduction of Synergi Life was backed up by a communications campaign involving regular exchanges between the Global Safety unit and the Health & Safety network, as well as help with preparing accident data and estimating potential damage.
Clear responsibilities sharpen awareness of occupational safety
Global Safety also laid foundations at the organisational level in the 2021 financial year: an incident management process now governs roles, responsibilities and tasks when incidents occur. With a structured approach at all levels and in all functions, the process helps to reduce damage – or avoid potential damage. “It also helps sharpen awareness of how destructive incidents can be, which in turn promotes a proactive attitude,”Felix Akeret says. “Especially for managers, because the process ensures they get involved with every incident.”
The importance Implenia attaches to safety at work is also reflected in the fact that the topic is a fixed point on the agenda of Implenia Executive Committee (IEC) meetings: an IEC member prepares a 20–minute safety presentation for every meeting.
Safety walks provide on-the-spot information
Safety walks are another measure aimed at getting managers even more closely involved in the topic of safety at work, while at the same time visibly signalling attention and support to the local workforce. They have been a mandatory task for managers since 2021 and the number of visits to be made is fixed as part of each manager’s annual targets. During the inspections the managers conduct open, direct discussions with personnel on site and assess the site as a whole from the occupational health perspective. Safety walks have the following objectives:
Visibly demonstrating to the workforce that managers are committed to occupational health and safety
Opportunity for managers to talk directly to employees at all levels about safety
Managers get a direct impression of the conditions on the construction site with regard to occupational health and safety
Safety leadership will play a greater role at Implenia in future: managers need to be role models for safety.
Figures from health management
Occupational and non-occupational accidents The number of occupational accidents decreased during the year under review, while there was also a substantial –11.08% fall in non-occupational accidents in Switzerland compared to the previous year (2020: –22.34%). Most non-occupational accidents happened when playing ball sports, on the roads outside work hours, or as a result of slips and trips in the home or garden.
Absence rates In terms of absence rates, the ratio of occupational accidents to non-occupational accidents was virtually the same as in 2020. Around 69% of absences were caused by illness, 20.37% by occupational accidents and 10.3% by non-occupational accidents. A total of 474 employees were off work for more than 30 days as a result of illness or accident in 2021.
Support, reintegration During the year under review, the BGM team in Switzerland looked after 153 people. The team’s mission and aim is to support employees during their recovery and help reintegrate them into working life. Affected employees are put into a special reintegration programme that gradually reintroduces them to an appropriate independent activity, with external experts brought in if needed.
We at Implenia also know that prevention is better than cure, so we offer various preventive measures and training courses to help our employees stay healthy. The focus here is on workplace ergonomics and safety, as well as on cardiovascular disease.
Health & Safety facts
And the “Golden Helmet” goes to ….
Implenia presented its seventh annual Health & Safety Award in 2021 . As well as highlighting the great importance of health and safety at work, the award motivates employees to be even more aware of their responsibilities. In an internal ballot, employees vote for the nominated construction sites, teams or individuals. The 2021 Health & Safety Award went to the DüdingenPlus team from Switzerland. The noise barrier team from Germany came second, and the CERN team from France came third.