Mikkel Steffensen

Roust Element cracks the code to minimize workplace accidents

Employee involvement, risk matrix, structured workflows and daily discussions of the working environment are among the reasons why element manufacturer Roust Element, which is part of Nordic Wood Industries, can celebrate an accident-free year in its production. The company thus breaks the trend in a time with a record number of work accidents – and according to Roust Element’s managing director, this must continue.

Accidents at work are a costly affair, both humanly and financially. According to a new analysis from the Ministry of Employment, approximately 90,300 occupational accidents were reported to the Norwegian Working Environment Authority last year alone, which is the highest number ever.

But at element manufacturer Roust Element, which is based in the south-west Jutland city of Årre, they have cracked the code for a safe working environment. The company has not had a single industrial accident in production in the past year. According to the managing director at Roust Element, Mikkel N. Steffensen, the positive development is due to a number of diverse initiatives, all of which aim to secure the employees:

Among other things, we have prepared a risk matrix that scores the probability and consequence of a risk. From here we started to remove the highest scoring risks first, and just as quietly we have worked our way through the identified risks. We have allocated more resources in the maintenance department to carry out the proposals and made the necessary investments, says Mikkel N. Steffensen and adds:

In short, we have initiated several different measures which complement each other, and it has paid off. In the past year, we have not had a single accident in production – this is historically unusual, but we will do everything to ensure that it does not become unusual in the future. We want to ensure that our employees can be confident in their work.

Employee involvement and standardization

One of the measures that Roust Element has also introduced is daily board meetings. Here, everything from small observations to major initiatives is discussed, and it has been very well received by the employees. Among more than 260 employee proposals from the board meetings, 60 of them have been aimed at safety – and according to Mikkel N. Steffensen, there is not a matter that is too small to be discussed:

Our management takes all suggestions from the board meetings very seriously, and we deal with every topic. Among other things, we have worked to standardize the work processes in production by having a number of job instructors who, together with the employees, have worked out the safest and best method, and this has then been retrained with both new and old employees, he says.

Remembers the colleague on security

One of the employees who experience the increased safety focus on a daily basis is Kim Barslund Nielsen, production employee and occupational health and safety representative at Roust Element.

In the past, we might have gone and put our ideas away, but now there is a structure with the regular board meetings, so that everyone can contribute ideas and proposals, which go directly to the management. This means that we now look at the workflows with many more eyes, says Kim Barslund Nielsen and adds:

The increased focus on the working environment has also meant that we have become much better at reminding each other of the safety measures and getting things cleaned up so that there are no materials that disturb the work processes. It has actually also contributed to us being able to work even more efficiently and systematised.

Roust Element recently celebrated the company’s accident-free production with roast pork sandwiches to all employees as a thank you for their great commitment.

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