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With the support of SONAE’s safety and health at work departments, several initiatives were introduced. There was a programme of awareness presentations for managers aimed at promoting the message that safety requires teamwork and a visible commitment by all. At SONAE, safety is not a project with a beginning, middle and end; it is seen as a daily ‘philosophy’ requiring continuous improvement and involvement by everyone. These awareness presentations, which included the showing of films, helped to emphasise the role of managers and supervisors with regard to safety and health at work and stressed why they are key to motivating their workers to adopt safe behaviours that will help achieve a safety culture. The presentations also looked at the main causes of accidents and managers and supervisors were encouraged to investigate their main characteristics in order to be able to reduce them. One of the innovations introduced by this project was the concept of ‘safety walks’, which involves workers from different managerial grades visiting workplaces and observing work practices first hand. The goals of these visits were to identify safe and unsafe behaviours, motivate workers and gain their commitment to complying with safety rules and safe work practices and, finally, to provide positive or corrective feedback that would help change any unsafe actions. The ultimate aim of ‘safety walks’ is to make safe conduct an instinctive reflex. SONAE also developed a log to record accidents on the company’s intranet which allows access by many users at once. A computer application also made the reporting of accidents more efficient and this allows for quicker intervention in the analysis and investigation of their causes. This new process also notifies senior management immediately of a serious incident by sending a SMS. SONAE made a concerted effort to inform its workforce of risks at work, through company-wide campaigns in April and October 2012. Each week in April had a specific health and safety theme. Chemical and load handling, healthy lifestyles and falls and trips were all given week-long attention. Campaign themes were publicised through films featuring stories of real accidents, hazard hunts, t-shirts and mannequins displaying messages in work areas. The company’s training programme was also revised and includes several compulsory units. In financial terms SONAE spends EUR 2 million on health and safety at work and EUR 1 million on health and safety training. This project was awarded with the Good Practice Award 2013 of The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA).

Level of Education: Continuing vocational education and training

Lead Organisation: SONAE

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