No severe accidents! This is the stated goal of GF at all its sites. To achieve this, the company relies on the support of all its employees. And in order to raise safety awareness at work, GF Automotive has initiated the campaign "Zero Risk". Posters, films, and exciting activity days draw staff attention to potential sources of danger at the workplace.
Fewer accidents thanks to “Zero Risk”
Draw attention to potential dangers //
Where liquid metal is cast into molds and heavy machinery is moved, there is a particularly high risk of accidents occurring. As the Team Leader in the core shop of the GF Automotive foundry in Singen in Southwest Germany, Martin Neubert is well-aware of this fact. "The risk of burns or bruises is very high here in Singen, of course", he says. For this reason he discusses with his team once a week where potential dangers lie and how accidents can be avoided.
Since October 2015, Neubert has been supported in his work by the campaign “Zero Risk” that uses posters, videos, and exciting events at the GF Automotive sites to raise staff awareness of potential risks at the workplace. The activities are geared towards key topics that are important to occupational safety. The first such topic was eye injuries. Activities were organized in Singen which allowed staff to try out special glasses so they could experience how certain eye injuries and diseases affect vision. In addition, a large walk-in model of an eye was set up and staff members were able to have an eye test and have their intraocular pressure measured.
“Our events go down very well with the staff”, says Martin Neubert. Great interest was also shown in activities on the subject of hand injuries, such as exercises with a Parkinson glove, measurements of muscle strength, and touch exercises in a feeling box. This summer there will be further activities on the subject of trip-up hazards at the workplace. “I’m always pleased to see how many colleagues join in the activities”, says Neubert. An additional source of motivation in Singen is the accident clock. Every team that remains accident-free for 365 days receives the reward of a small party financed by the company. “We weren’t expecting the huge incentive impact this idea would have”, says Neubert. Staff teams are now much more careful to point out potential sources of danger to each other in order to avoid accidents. The success of these activities in Singen is also reflected in the accident statistics. In 2015, the accident rate dropped by as much as 59% as compared to previous years.
Central management and local activities //
The campaign “Zero Risk” was started simultaneously at all GF Automotive production sites in Europe: in addition to Singen these are Mettmann, Werdohl, and Leipzig in Germany, along with Altenmarkt and Herzogenburg in Austria. The two Chinese sites Suzhou and Kunshan have also been involved in the initiative since January 2016. This means that “Zero Risk” is reaching more than 5 000 staff members at all GF Automotive production sites and is successful – worldwide: in the first quarter of 2016, there were 26% fewer work accidents in the division than during the equivalent period of the previous year.
The “Zero Risk” campaign was developed and organized centrally by an interdisciplinary team led by Tina Köhler, Head of PR and Internal Communication at GF Automotive. In addition to communication experts, all safety coordinators at the various sites were involved. The campaign launch received strong support from the division management under Josef Edbauer and the site managing directors.
“The title ‘Zero Risk’ reflects our vision of no accidents and also calls upon staff not to take risks at work”, explains Tina Köhler. The various topics of the campaign were determined in collaboration with the occupationalsafety specialists. There is a focus on each individual topic for two to three months. Striking posters are put up at the sites to draw attention to the current topic. To launch the campaign, employees were shown a film in which all managing directors explain just how important the subject of occupational safety is.
Meanwhile, the various activities such as the life-size eye model in Singen are organized individually at the sites. Activities were of course held there previous to this on the subject of safety. But “Zero Risk” supports existing activities, supplements them and gives them a uniform motto. What’s more, there is now a lively exchange of ideas between safety coordinators on the “Zero Risk” team. Tina Köhler’s team will be meeting again this summer to decide on the next “Zero Risk” topics. One aspect about the campaign is especially important to Tina Köhler: “This is not just about individual activities”, she says. “Our aim is to change the GF Automotive safety culture on a lasting basis.”
Within the campaign interesting events have been organized at all GF Automotive facilities. In Singen (Germany), for example, employees could participate in activities on the subject of “hand injuries”.
Interview with Josef Edbauer, Head of GF Automotive
Mr. Edbauer, occupational safety has always been a high-profile issue at GF. How does the campaign “Zero Risk” differ from existing activities?
We’ve always been very active in the area of occupational safety. But “Zero Risk” is the first time we’ve adopted an integrated approach. We can convey safety-related topics in a more concentrated form by closely dovetailing communication, activities and workshops. The visual style of the campaign is also new: our aim is to attract interest – we want to provoke people without shocking them. I believe we’ve managed to achieve this very successfully.
How is the GF Automotive division management supporting the campaign?
The division management has provided strong support for the safety campaign from the outset. We wanted our staff to realize that this issue has top priority. We’ve emphasized this with a video clip in which all members of the division management and the managing directors at the sites give their own personal statement on occupational safety at GF.
Where will the campaign go from here?
We’re very proud of the fact that accident figures have developed so positively. The challenge now will be to maintain this excellent level and ensure that employee awareness remains high on a lasting basis. With this in mind, we are working on a continuation of the campaign and on rewards for achievements at the facilities.
Accident-free for more than 1 000 days
Occupational safety enjoys top priority not just at GF Automotive but also in the other divisions GF Piping Systems and GF Machining Solutions. The GF Piping Systems production and sales company in Malaysia was particularly successful in 2015: they managed to stay accident-free for 1 000 days! This achievement was celebrated in a big way by the 42 staff members at the site on 29 September 2015.
This success was the result of ongoing awareness-raising and regular training sessions: once a month, all employees at the site near Kuala Lumpur take part in a so-called “Toolbox” meeting on the subject of safety. Here, employees have the opportunity to contribute their ideas towards improving work safety. Training sessions on lift truck safety, first aid and firefighting exercises are also held at least twice a year. There is an Emergency Response Team consisting of 15 staff members who are trained in the areas of firefighting, handling accidents with chemicals, and first aid. The preventive work pays off: in the first half of the year, not a single accident occurred at GF Piping Systems in Malaysia!