CORPORATE & STRATEGY
Occupational health and safety is always a team effort
Safety within the company is a top priority for Symrise. A team of eight people uses its expertise to support each specialist area of occupational safety so that all employees can work in ways that are safe and protected and can stay healthy.
Using the telephone while climbing stairs, cleaning a machine with unprotected hands, or experimenting in the laboratory without safety goggles. This might go well for a while but will eventually go wrong: 90 percent of accidents are behaviorrelated and caused by humans. This means that the topic is of enormous importance in the workplace, and safety and health at work play a crucial role. “Employees must be safe and protected while at the company so that they remain healthy from the time they enter the workforce until they leave,” says Jennifer Hasslinger, an occupational safety specialist. Legal requirements guide and regulate occupational safety in Germany. At Symrise, Tesium carries the primary responsibility for the area of safety, with eight occupational safety specialists. “We see ourselves as helpers who support the employer in meeting these legal requirements and offering advice in addition to implementing practical measures,” says Jennifer.
A WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE The specific qualifications required for this position, and which training allows them to carry out this function, are regulated by the German Occupational Safety Act. The act also requires regular training courses. Each of these eight experts also has an additional specialist area in which they provide support. “So each of us must possess the overall technical knowledge of this field and an additional area of expertise,” explains Bernd Zeißler, an occupational safety specialist. He is also the contact person for hazardous substances. And for this responsibility, he must be perfectly familiar with the laws and background relating to this issue. The same is true for Peter Asche, who is responsible for factory security, as it is for Ralf Galonska, who is a specialist in explosion protection. Or for Benjamin Mewes, the expert for fire protection. Hans Dick has specialized in machine safety and Holger Paetz in occupational health management. Oliver Düker takes care of the environmental, safety and health software “sam” from Secova. Jennifer also has an area of specialization: She is responsible for certifications in occupational safety.
Each of the eight occupational safety specialists has an additional area of expertise:
Peter Asche, Area of responsibility: Chemical Production Supply Chain – contact person (CP) for machine safety BASA 3
Hans Dick, Area of responsibility: Office areas – CP for PSA against falling, machine safety, ASA, BASA5 and Secova
Oliver Düker, Area of responsibility: FLA supply chain – CP for BASA2 and Secova
Ralf Galonska, Area of responsibility: Symotion – CP for vibration, explosion protection, PAS against danger of falling, BASA1 and PAAG
Jennifer Hasslinger, Area of responsibility: FRA supply chain – CP for certification, audits, “Drive to 100 % Safety” and REACh
Benjamin Mewes, Area of responsibility: CI, Symrise Braunschweig – CP for fire protection topics, aerial work platforms, cranes systems including slings
Holger Paetz, Area of responsibility: Hamburg – CP for protective clothing, occupational medicine, occupational health management
Bernd Zeißler, Area of responsibility: Laboratory and application technology areas, Tesium – CP for safety offices, BG contact, hazardous substances, BASA4 and initial training
FINDING SOLUTIONS TOGETHER Occupational safety should always be proactive. This means not waiting for something to happen for someone to deal with the topic. “This makes workplace design also a core element of our activities,” says Peter. And it’s complex. In this context, risk assessment is used as a tool. The risk factors include mechanical hazards, electrical hazards, psychological hazards, biological hazards, physical hazards, organizational deficiencies, hazards due to workplace design, hazards due to ergonomic factors, electrical hazards, hazards due to substances, hazards due to fires and explosions, hazards due to special physical agents and other hazard and stress factors.
As part of risk assessment, the occupational safety specialists advise managers and point out possible solutions. Because there is never just one, but many solutions for a situation. As part of the safety work at Symrise, Tesium and Symotion, company-specific and legal requirements are taken into account. For example, the occupational safety specialists try to find the best possible solution in discussions with those involved on-site. The result of this risk assessment is then entered into “sam,” a modular software from Secova, among other things. “This makes it possible for us to guarantee via the system that the agreed measures are carried out,” says Oliver. This is done through automatic reminders to the managers. Incident management has also been running via this software since the beginning of 2020 (Secova handbook). “This guarantees holistic accident tracking at Symrise,” says Oliver.
You can’t talk about safety often enough.
Jessica Hildebrandt, Director Corporate Communication
Safe with factory security
The factory entrance is the calling card of a company. It’s where employees, guests and suppliers first meet factory security employees. “In addition to their traditional activities, the 20 security employees have a demanding and continuously changing working environment – 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” explains Peter Asche from Tesium. He is the head of factory security in Holzminden. In addition to door and gate service, some of security’s diverse tasks include visitor management, regulation of some inbound and outbound deliveries, surveillance services, first aid services, monitoring of internal traffic flows and the various facilities, and special patrol duties on the factory premises. The neighborhood telephone is also at security so residents can share their concerns. Before technical innovations are introduced in the company, factory security is brought in. According to Asche, learning to understand new technologies and to derive a course of action is an ongoing learning experience.
Operations never cease. The various alarms and alarm systems that are triggered at central factory security are monitored around the clock. If an error is found, the 20 employees must decide on the proper measures and take action as quickly as possible. Around 400 alarms on average per year require measures to be taken. In addition, in non-pandemic times, there are around 150 visitors and 60 key handovers per day that need to be documented and monitored.
Jessica Hildebrandt is responsible for communication on the subject of occupational safety.
Handling fire extinguishers is part of the routine of Benjamin Mewes. Because emergency situations always arise unexpectedly, he is not wearing gloves or a helmet and safety goggles.
Workplace design is also a core element of our activities.
Peter Asche, Occupational Safety Specialist
COLLEAGUES PROVIDE EXAMPLES Occupational safety is an essential element of the sustainability and corporate strategy at Symrise. Alongside all employees, the occupational safety specialists want to establish a safety culture that is shared by everyone and that should create a uniform understanding of occupational safety and health. Because safety begins in the mind. Only with the necessary awareness can accidents at work be prevented. It is important that all colleagues and especially the trainees understand what safety means and how it can be implemented in any workplace. It is important that each employee serves as an example for others. The project “Drive to 100 % Safety” will be implemented first at Tesium. It is being supported by a comprehensive communications campaign. A new, very important point here is that occupational safety will be promoted more intensively in the future with its own logo. The campaign is being strengthened by the slogan “Don’t go too far. Play it safe.” The new visual language consists of several layers: 15 dummies together with photos and occupational safety specialists. Each occupational safety specialist is also a mentor for one dummy. Some of those can already be seen here. More will be introduced in the coming months. The communications campaign will accompany employees for quite some time. A continuous flow of information will serve as a constant reminder of occupational health and safety. There will be a new SymPortal community, regular contributions to Team Spirit and various brochures.
Work safety must become routine for every employee. “The communications campaign is intended to support the creation of a new safety culture,” says Jessica Hildebrandt. After a positive pilot start at Tesium, the project will be rolled out successively at the Holzminden site next year. COMMON SENSE In order to achieve a high level of safety in each respective area, everyone needs to cooperate. This can only succeed in a team, starting with the manager and ending with the employee, and with the support of the safety officer and the occupational safety specialist. The teams get help by using digital systems like “sam” from Secova. But teamwork in this context also means that the employees adhere to the safety regulations, and that the managers in each situation adhere to the prescribed documentation – and that they also enter these processes in the incident management module of “sam.” “The departments are supposed to enter accidents into the system. And we then support the follow-up,” says Oliver. The documentation, however, concerns not only industrial accidents but risk assessment, too. The processes are completely tracked – that is, from initial entry through all changes until all tasks are completed and the process is finished. “We must get to the point where we all work in the same way with this system,” reiterates Oliver. Occupational safety must be as normal as brushing your teeth. And it can only work if each individual employee looks after their own safety while also keeping an eye out for their colleagues. Safety must become an everyday practice.
You can find all the UN Sustainability Objectives in the SymPortal: https://t1p.de/SYM-SDG
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