We are continuously improving our safety culture and encourage personal responsibility
Accidents at work
Incidents per 1,000 full-time positions Basis: All Implenia Group units as at 31.12.
Incidents per 1,000 full-time positions Basis: All Implenia Group units as at 31.12., excluding relapses
Further improvement in accident figures
Safety at work is a leadership issue and a responsibility for each individual employee
Health and safety at work is a key leadership issue at Implenia. Our goal: zero accidents. Our approach: improve safety culture. Together, we are working every single day to minimise risks. This work is based on clear rules and a sense of personal responsibility.
Safety affects everyone
Regular inspections help prevent unsafe situations on our construction sites.
Statistics show that the total number of accidents is steadily falling across all industries, and this positive trend has also been evident at Implenia for several years. What has not changed, however, is that construction is a profession with a very high risk of accident. This is mainly due to the constantly changing conditions under which work is carried out.
It is not enough, therefore, to apply one single set of safety standards. All the safety measures we take have to be reviewed and adjusted on a regular basis. This starts with something as basic as escape routes, which can change according to the phase of construction. As a responsible provider of construction services, how should we respond to this dynamic daily risk situation? We have established safety at work as our highest priority, we take a rigorous approach to prevention and we use targeted measures to raise the risk-awareness of each individual employee. Guided by the principle that “safety at work is a leadership issue!”, everyone at Implenia – from project manager to foreman to every individual employee – is called upon to keep making things safer. Safety is a matter of ingrained habit that has to be applied every day anew.
Over the years, Implenia has created effective structures to minimise risks on our construction sites, and these are paying off: safety figures improved once again in 2020. With 53 accidents per 1,000 full-time positions we have achieved our best ever result (2019: 60 accidents per 1,000 full-time positions). However, the company was deeply saddened by five fatal accidents that occurred in the course of the year. Clearly we still have a lot of work to do before we realise our vision of zero accidents.
One of the best ways to identify and avoid risks more quickly in future is to thoroughly analyse the causes of accidents. A new system for recording all accident data and downtime is being introduced in 2021; this will help us apply safety-related insights and solutions across the whole Group. Safety is also a feature of our innovation work: Trials are being conducted into how safety vulnerabilities on construction sites can be identified early through a combination of Reality Capturing and BIM.
Initiatives to strengthen personal responsibility
Prevention depends on rules – and compliance with these rules. But you can only follow the rules if you know what they are and understand them. This is why we make sure that Implenia’s rules are transparent and straightforward, and that steps are taken to actively encourage acceptance of the rules, rather than relying solely on checking for compliance.
We revised our internal “Safety Rules” in 2020 to focus greater attention on workplace risk situations. This resulted in six safety rules that we formulated into the first-person statements and communicated widely across the Group. We thus made it absolutely clear that each individual is responsible for their own safety and that of the people around them. By making workplace safety a matter of both individual responsibility and leadership, we want to ensure that unsafe situations are identified quickly and accidents avoided. In addition, all employees undertake to comply with our safety rules when they sign up to Implenia’s Code of Conduct.
Implenia Safety Rules
Another component of our prevention programme is the monthly “15 Minute Safety” training, which has been introduced across the Group and which has already proved effective on the ground. The sessions are used to deepen engagement with safety themes on construction sites and improve communication between workers. We are also working to establish a positive error culture that allows people to speak openly about mistakes, so they can be avoided in future.
Workshops were also held at management level in 2020 to improve the safety culture and ensure that the whole group continues to learn about safety. Things that work well in one country or division are examined to see whether they can be replicated in other countries and divisions.
The number of occupational accidents decreased during the year under review, while there was also a substantial 22.34% fall in non-occupational accidents (2019: -3.2%). 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.
In terms of absence rates, the ratio of occupational accidents to non-occupational accidents was virtually the same as in 2019. Roughly 68% of total absences were the result of illness, with another 17.05% caused by accidents at work and 15.00% by non-work-related accidents. A total of 471 employees were off work for more than 30 days as a result of illness or accident in 2020.
The job of our internal occupational health management (OHM) team is to support our employees during recovery and as they reintegrate themselves 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. The OHM team in Switzerland supported 189 people in this way during the year under review.
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, and cardiovascular disease.
Professional pandemic management
The event that really preoccupied Implenia and especially its Health & Safety team in 2020 was the COVID-19 pandemic. The biggest challenge in this intense period was to keep all employees updated with the latest information and to ensure their safety. This took up a lot of resources.
During this exceptional situation the whole company, cooperating closely among divisions, functions and countries, worked hard to keep all of its employees safe. Implenia quickly set up a global task force as well as individual country task forces, which held discussions several times a week or whenever needed. This enabled us to respond flexibly to the constantly changing legal restrictions. Most office-based work was switched to home working, while strict safety rules were introduced on construction sites. These rules, which were communicated partly through digital channels and training, were constantly updated. The Swiss-based coronavirus hotline proved to be the central communications tool. Anyone with specific questions could talk directly to occupational health management staff and receive immediate support. Internal feedback about the coronavirus hotline was very positive.
Implenia also used its intranet to communicate all the information about the virus and the latest safety rules across the whole Group, as well as to disseminate posters and leaflets for use on construction sites. An external coronavirus website was set up to ensure the rules really did reach all construction sites. Employees could access the site via a QR code, which also allowed them to report how measures were actually being implemented on site and to suggest improvements.
At peak times, safety talks were held every morning: site management would take five or ten minutes to tell their teams about corona and hygiene.
Each site found its own way to implement the rules sensibly and effectively. We published some examples of best practice on our corona website as inspiration. Different countries found different new and creative ways of managing internal communications. In Germany, for example, the marketing/communications team got together with safety officers to make short coronavirus information videos directly on site.
Overall, Implenia put its crisis management strategy into action professionally. We have learned that we can respond very quickly and flexibly both globally and at the country level, and that we can rely on our organisation and our collaborative structures.
Health & Safety Award recognises commitment
Implenia has presented a Health & Safety Award every year since 2015. As well as highlighting the great importance of health and safety at work, it motivates employees to be even more aware of their responsibilities. All Implenia employees are asked to vote for one of the construction sites, teams or individuals on a short-list of nominees. The 2020 Health & Safety Award was won by a team from Civil Engineering France that is working on the CERN project. Team members were awarded the “Golden Helmet” for the practical, safe system they use for securing loads. The fact that the same team also won the award in 2019 is an impressive testament to their great awareness of safety issues.
The special “Silver Helmet” prize was awarded in 2020 for successful measures taken to protect against the coronavirus. This went to the “Neues Technisches Rathaus Mannheim” project team at Buildings Germany. Thanks to rapid implementation of various precautions, such as additional wash stations and regular cleaning and disinfection, employees were protected to an exemplary degree from the effects of the pandemic.