The group-wide accident rate has fallen on average across the Group by around 18 % over the past eight years. This is significantly lower than the sector average. We were able to achieve this positive development through the consistent implementation of our health and safety pro-gramme ‘sicher voRWEg’ (The Energy to Lead Safely) by including our own employees and colleagues from partner companies in the programme.
Despite all the improvements that have already been achieved in safety at work, four fatal industrial accidents occurred in 2012. Three fatal accidents occurred in 2011 and one fatality in 2010. No specific black spots could be identified among the circumstances surrounding the fatal accidents. The industrial accidents occurred while the employees were carrying out different activities and in different countries. However, it is conspicuous that three of the four fatalities related to employees from partner companies. This highlights the necessity to work at continuously improving safety at work and the occupational safety culture. It is also essential to include partner companies throughout the Group in occupational safety.
Improving occupational safety
Careful and ongoing accident analysis creates the fundamental platform for developing Occupational Safety Management at RWE. During the year under review in 2012, we progressed our methodology for accident analysis and provided a more streamlined structure with five process stages. The objective of every accident analysis is to identify the precise causes of accidents with the aim of being able to define specific countermeasures. In 2013, we want to deploy this tool throughout the Group.
The focus of the measures is improving occupational safety in partner companies. We continued to improve the partner company management that we introduced in 2010 and we use this system in our selection of partner companies. In March 2012, Group Purchasing informed 7,000 partner companies in Germany about the requirement to obtain certification in conformity with their individual Occupational Safety Management System. Since August 2012, all partner companies of RWE must make a commitment to comply with the ‘Allgemeine Zusatzbedingungen Arbeitssicherheit’ (AZB-AS, General Supplementary Conditions on Occupational Safety). This requirement standardised the conditions and requirements for occupational health and safety throughout the Group.
We are continuing to raise the awareness of partner companies and their employees. Since partner company management was launched in 2010, we have held 66 occupational safety workshops with more than 900 managers of subcontractors including behaviour-oriented tours of inspection. We use ‘easyInstruct’ to provide information to subcontractors’ employees in their own language. These terminals give information about the principles of occupational health and safety at RWE. During the year under review, RWE Technology has also introduced “easyInstruct” at the Denizli (Turkey) and Enna (Sicily) power stations currently under construction.
Strengthening occupational safety culture
The level of safety engineering and the standards for occupational safety at RWE are high. Technical and organisational protective measures have attained a level such that no further significant contribution to accident avoidance can be expected. The promotion of an occupational safety culture and raising the awareness of occupational safety by managers are therefore the key factors driving the ongoing development of occupational safety. We use the programme ‘sicher voRWEg’ (The Energy to Lead Safely) to support our managers in creating clearly defined framework conditions at all levels when dealing with inappropriate behaviour. This includes an explanation of the role played by managers in occupational safety and the functions they carry out. It also involves advising employees about the practical application of occupational safety tools.
During the year 2012, we continued to develop behaviour-oriented tours of inspection, for example through personal coaching, workshops for employee representatives and follow-up work in process organisation. We want our employees to be more intensively integrated in the ongoing development of our occupational safety culture. A working group addressed this issue and developed more extensive measures, such as regular communication on occupational safety at the executive board level, development of joint targets with members of the co-determination committees and joint safety circles with partner companies. In 2013, we are planning a group-wide safety day with participation of the safety managers from all the Group companies. The launch of the RWE Occupational Safety Partner Company Awards is intended to salute contributions made by our subcontractors to improving occupational safety at work.
We want to make occupational safety culture quantifiable. The working group ‘Indicators and Parameters for Occupational Safety Culture Development’ is currently developing appropriate parameters for identifying an indicator which executives and managers can use to assess and manage the status of occupational safety culture in their specific area of responsibility. The aim is to conclude the development in the years 2013/14, including testing and optimisation.