Employee safety is one of Atria's important strategic goals. The work towards reducing accidents has brought results: From 2017 to 2021, the accident frequency rate in the Atria Group decreased by more than 65%.
A safe work environment is a self-evident goal that needs no justification. The safe work environment is reflected in employees’ well-being as well as in their commitment to maintain a safety culture.
– Atria's goal is to be the winning northern European food company. To do this, we need the best people who are committed and motivated. And we must have a safe workplace. This works in both directions: a safe work environment motivates people to commit and to work safely, says Lars Ohlin, Atria Group's HR Director.
“Atria's goal is to be the winning northern European food company. To do this, we need the best people who are committed and motivated."
Ohlin continues: Every good company needs to have a safe working environment. It’s not acceptable to get injured at work. Accidents affect the entire company, and serious accidents will have effects even years later.
Better safety through concrete actions
Atria Group's occupational safety has been developed since 2016 through the Safely Home from Atria program. The main goal of the program is exhaustive: to come home from work, every day.
– We have rules and requirements for all activities to ensure safety. Risk assessments have been performed on all production lines. Regular safety rounds ensure that everyone knows how to operate safely and that safety stays in people’s minds. Security rounds are also important to detect areas for improvement.
– At Atria, safety is everyone's responsibility. The supervisors’ responsibility is to instruct employees on the safe manner to operate, and everyone has a responsibility to follow the instructions to ensure their own safety and that of their colleagues.
Accident monitoring has also been improved. Even every small close-call situation is recorded so that it can be corrected before something really happens.
Safety is a part of competence
According to Lars Ohlin, the most important factor in reducing accidents is a change in people's behaviour and in their attitudes: people’s commitment to follow the instructions and to operate in a safe manner.
– Safety is part of employees’ competence. For example, if a fault condition occurs in the machine, it won’t be repaired without shutting down the machine. Even though people's intentions are good, taking risks is not acceptable, says Lars Ohlin.
– It is often thought that people hurt themselves with knives or machines, for example. In reality, such accidents rarely happen. Accidents often happen, for example, by falling on a slippery floor or on the stairs. They can be avoided with small changes in one’s own conduct, describes Ohlin.
Of course, employees' sick leave is monitored, but this does not always reflect people’s overall burden, or reveal the stress caused by factors outside work, for example. The only way to identify the employees’ personal workload, is to have a close relationship between the employee and the supervisor, and again, everyone’s own responsibility for safety.
Future goal: zero accidents
Atria's long-term goal is zero accidents throughout the Group. In recent years, accidents have decreased in all business areas. In Estonia and Denmark, the number of accidents in production is already very low. In Denmark, there have been no accidents leading to an absence from work in two years.
– The main reason is that safety is on people’s mind, thinks Ohlin.
Ohlin believes that the number of accidents will be reduced even more in the coming years.
– We have committed people who understand that it’s people who improve safety,” he says.