As zero-harm officers Pascalle, Vikneswaran and Raluca contribute to a safer work environment

At Unilin a safe work environment for all is a must. We strive for zero harm by placing maximum focus on machine safety, training, initiatives on well-being and much more. 

21 February 2024

But if we want to create a safe work environment, the right behaviour is at least as important. Everyone must take care of themselves, each other and the work environment. The zero-harm officers are there to support our teams in this endeavour.

What is zero harm?

Zero harm represents Unilin’s safety vision and approach. We aim to be a zero-harm company characterised by a positive and caring culture and where safety is ingrained in all of our activities. To anchor this vision in the everyday operations of our staff and to detect areas for improvement, we have embarked on a path of cultural and behavioural change. Amongst others our zero-harm officers play a crucial role in this process.

In the spotlight:

  • Safety Lead Vikneswaran Eiamurgu has worked for Unilin Flooring in Malaysia for two years.
  • Raluca Stoian has been a Safety Manager at Unilin Flooring in Romania for close to three years.
  • Pascalle van Broekhoven is a QHSE & Facility Officer and Operational Safety Expert at Unilin Insulation in Oisterwijk (the Netherlands).

Coaching, advising and improving

For Vikneswaran, Raluca and Pascalle safety was already part of their job so their training as zero-harm officers was a logical next step. Pascalle: “The training deepened my knowledge of the zero-harm vision, the safety culture and safety behaviour. Now I can coach and advise my colleagues in an even more targeted way to help them progress from safe to even safer behaviour.

Getting everyone on the same page

Vikneswaran primarily wants to improve the safety culture by changing the behaviour of all colleagues. In a positive way. “I make sure everyone is on the same page and acknowledges the importance of our zero-harm vision.”

Pascalle agrees. “The most important thing for a zero-harm officer is to create an open safety culture that boosts awareness of why and how we want to adopt safer work methods. Greater collective awareness ensures that everyone pays more attention to prevention and that the number of accidents or near-accidents goes down.”

First action as zero-harm officer

After their training they took immediate action. Vikneswaran by assembling a governance team for his production site that helps with the introduction of all zero-harm related practices. Raluca started by looking for existing good practices on the work floor. Because we can also learn from our colleagues within our own company!

Clear and transparent communication on what zero harm really means is a major concern for Pascalle. “One of the things I did was create an intranet page on zero harm with a transparent overview of the guidelines and procedures, such as the Life-Saving Rules, and the legislation and regulations.” As zero-harm officer she has already set out a timeline to continue the zero harm journey and she organised an info session for all her colleagues to discuss what has been realised so far, to look ahead to future actions and identify areas for improvement.  

From sceptic to all-in

It’s not always easy to uproot work processes that have been in place for years in order to improve safety. Still, they can already see a positive change of mentality on the work floor.

Raluca: “The employees pay more attention to safe work methods. Of course, it takes time to get used to the adjustments. That’s why we give each other positive feedback when we see good behaviour. And the occasional pat on the back is really satisfying.” Pascalle explains how the wait-and-see attitude of her colleagues has made way for greater awareness and personal initiative. “My colleagues are more vocal about safe and unsafe behaviour. Now they actively suggest areas for improvement and are quicker to report unsafe situations. Those reports make dangerous situations and bottlenecks visible.”

More safety is a team effort

The zero-harm process is one of continuous improvement. That means a zero-harm officer keeps his finger on the pulse and everyone on their toes. Vikneswaran, Raluca and Pascalle all have concrete ambitions they still want to achieve. Pascalle wants to further develop and expand the internal risk analyses and set up more management measures. Raluca concludes: “To correct unsafe behaviour and accept relevant feedback it is also important to appreciate positive behaviour. Naturally there’s always room for improvement but our efforts will be rewarded, of that I am convinced.”

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