In addition to compliance with legally prescribed safety measures, occupational safety management concentrates on raising awareness of occupational safety and healthcare among employees. Villeroy & Boch not only meets important statutory thresholds, in some cases it is significantly below these upper limits. One important aspect is defining and complying with safety standards which are linked to strict criteria. Occupational safety processes are being successively harmonised throughout the group. Measurable indicators for accidents are also subject to a uniform evaluation in order to identify the results achieved and areas for improvement.
In view of factors such as demographic change and the need to create age-appropriate workstations, our aim is to continuously improve our employees' working conditions and health.
In 2014, Villeroy & Boch in Fulda received the VBG occupational safety award. A jury of representatives from the statutory accident insurance company VBG, as well as personalities from science and business, recognised Villeroy & Boch's commitment to reducing physical strain on employees at the Mettlach sanitary plant. The company was awarded the special prize in the category "Think about me. Your back" in recognition of a project aimed at relieving manual handling of sanitary components in the Mettlach sanitary plant. The use of lifting aids to transfer ceramic products weighing up to 30 kilograms from the kiln car to the sorting belt, for example, has significantly reduced the individual burden placed on employees by lifting and carrying operations.
Since the introduction of our campaign, we have observed increased awareness of occupational safety among all employees.
"Bewust Ongevalvrij Blijven" (BOB) – Consciously staying accident-free: BOB is the name of a drink-driving awareness campaign by the Belgian government. The Roeselare plant has taken up this theme and introduced the plant's own BOB campaign for employees, aimed at preventing accidents and ensuring safe working conditions by voluntary employees looking out for safety. Villeroy & Boch Wellness NV in Roeselare, Belgium is known for its wellness products. This is the production site for acrylic bathtubs and showertrays. Every day, employees operate heavy and highly technical equipment. Potential risks cannot be excluded. This makes it even more important to make employees aware of possible dangers to further increase the site's occupational safety. The majority of all accidents in the workplace are caused by unsafe behaviour.
Over the last few years, QHSE Manager (Quality, Health, Safety, Environment) Cornelia Bogaerts has been working with management to improve the safety culture as well as increasing awareness of health issues among employees using a so-called "bottom-up" model. Healthy eating and exercise are given the same emphasis as a safety-conscious attitude. And it's working: In 2016, the plant celebrated, with healthy smoothies for employees, the 800th accident-free day, making it "best in class" among Villeroy & Boch plants worldwide – a best practice example of a "zero-accidents philosophy" which can inspire other sites.