Employee health and safety first and foremost

Employee absences due to workplace accidents entail pain and grief for the injured and their families and considerable costs for the company. At SFS, workplace safety and protection of employee health rank foremost. The company is always mindful of its duty of care and responsibility, and consequently has set a goal of reducing the number of work-related accidents at its sites around the world to zero.

Added Value

  • SFS aims to reduce occupational accidents to zero worldwide
  • Development and implementation of the 10 SFS safety rules
  • Introduction of various prevention programs
  • Global roll-out of the pilot project "Integrated Safety”

From current status analysis to 10 SFS Safety Rules

SFS initiated a pilot project called “Integrated Safety” in close collaboration with the Swiss National Accident Insurance Agency (Suva) in May 2017. The objective of the project was to reduce work-related illness and injuries at SFS’s largest manufacturing site, in Heerbrugg (Switzerland), to zero. Suva’s consultant Erwin Krummenacher supported SFS throughout the duration of the project to help it achieve this ambitious goal. After a detailed examination of the “as-is” situation, attention turned to development of safety awareness training measures. Guided by the basic principle of “Employee health comes first and foremost”, numerous workshops were organized. Potential workplace hazards and risks at the manufacturing units were examined with appropriate safety measures drawn up and workplace modifications introduced. Various prevention programs were also introduced, 10 SFS Safety Rules were formulated and a systematic method for analyzing workplace accidents was conceived.

The number of work-related accidents at the Heerbrugg site has declined significantly over the past two years

Reduction in workplace accidents achieved

Initial progress has already been achieved: the number of work-related accidents documented by Suva resulting in lost work time at the Heerbrugg site has declined significantly from 34 to 19 over the past two years. The “Integrated Safety” pilot project was successfully completed in the summer of 2019 and will now be successively rolled out at SFS’s other sites.

Interview with Suva expert Erwin Krummenacher on workplace safety and employee health:

"What changes have you observed at Swiss manufacturing companies in terms of workplace safety over the past five to ten years?"

"Cost pressures have increased: more and more manufacturing companies are no longer willing to tolerate the extra costs caused by workplace accidents. In addition, comparisons with other countries revealed that Switzerland is not a leader when it comes to prevention, so there’s growing pressure from abroad on this front too."

"What additional changes can be expected with respect to workplace safety and health promotion?"

"Workplace environments are changing: automation and robotization are creating new challenges. Changing employee values are leading to greater acceptance of prevention efforts; people want to be healthy and stay healthy."

"How would you describe your collaboration with SFS?"

"Our collaboration with SFS was very open and forthright. The training activities were an important part of the project and quite effective in raising employee awareness. Intensive risk assessment is the basis of workplace safety programs and practices, and therefore decisive in a successful outcome. Another success factor was the tremendous commitment and dedication of the commission members, the “Integrated Safety” project team, the safety officers, and the managers and employees."

"Where do you still see room for improvement at SFS in terms of workplace safety and employee health protection?"

"After this big initial effort, the good work has to be kept up. Employee and management behavior must be further optimized through various awareness campaigns. A Group-wide perspective will be needed too, of course, to ensure the pilot project’s effective roll-out at the company’s sites outside Switzerland, with the necessary modifications. This is the best path to comprehensive and sustainable success for SFS."

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