Healthy and safe working conditions as a basis for the future: sustainable employability of our employees

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Healthy and safe working conditions as a basis for the future: sustainable employability of our employees

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Healthy and safe working conditions as a basis for the future: sustainable employability of our employees

SABIC Innovative Plastics
Bergen op Zoom

P. Tock: Environmental, Health & Safety Manager Boz site

H. Hendrickx: Medical Doctor Boz site


From early 2000, the medical department and the Environment, Health and Safety Department, together with the site management team, are on the journey to substantially improve the EHS performance of the site. The basis for this performance are presented in two programs called "GEZONDER" (dutch for healthier) and "KLEMVAST" (dutch for locktight, like a goalkeeper). The concept is relatively simple: passionate leaders and high employee engagement with creativity and teamwork. This has resulted in a very practical program in the workplace, where employees can identify themselves and feel involved in the improvements.

Realized improvements:
- ~ 95% reduction in injuries
- ~ 90% reduction of serious incidents
- Low absenteeism (3%) despite increased age distribution
- No occupational diseases
- 460 employees active in Fitness program

- 75 % of smokers, participating in program, stopped smoking

- 75 % of people with snoring problems have significant improved sleeping performance

- Sleeping problems under shift duty operators under discussion

The improvements are not only reflected in the EHS area, but are also visible in all other metrics.

In 2003 we started to introduce a robust EHS management system with clearly defined EHS work processes, procedures and responsibilities. A system with 21 elements (behavioral observation as an extra bonus) are defined, each part of the overall EHS management plan. It has created a lot of support and involvement through participation of management, shop floor leaders and employees (21 managers site element, element 21 site owners, 11 sections with each element 21 owners, and several teams as part of the daily execution of the elements.

The medical department and the EHS department are fully integrated in the management system. We have SABIC Innovative Plastics internal certified health and safety service (ISO 9001:2008), now called "Arbo department" (labor circumstances department). In this department work: an Occupational physician, a Work and Organization specialist, a Senior safety expert, an Occupational hygienist, Occupational nurses, a Social worker, a Physiotherapist and Fitness instructors. Within the arbo department also knowledge of ergonomics, stress management and toxicology is available. The manager of the arbo department is also the health program coordinator for Europe. Besides the basic health and safety tasks (absenteeism, tests, RAE, vaccinations, first aid etc) we are working on groundbreaking work based on the customer requirements and developments in the Netherlands. The participation of our employees in occupational health-related tasks is very high (a team of 120 people, 75 first aid specialists, and 45 First Responders can provide aid to 7x24).

Promotion, mindset, participation and training for the EHS management system resulted in a large support base for safety. People at work were intensively interviewed by the auditors, and a 99% score was required for certification, what we have achieved. This rigorous approach changed the path we underwent for structured continuous improvement in EHS. The road to a workflow driven organization was started.

Our Bergen op Zoom management team was not satisfied. "What comes next?" was a frequently heard question. A 2-day workshop in 2005 with help from the former site manager at DuPont Dordrecht, Karel de Mooij, was the introduction to our new vision, which included all EHS aspects (environmental, working conditions and human welfare):

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