We Work Safely or Not at All
B&W Vølund’s job site at Maabjergværket (MEC Bioheat & Power) in Holstebro, has recently been a busy and active workplace for more than 60 workers from the company’s various subcontractors who are inspecting one of the three B&W Vølund boilers in operation. The plant was originally commissioned in 1993. Safety is essential for a successful inspection.
Therefore, each morning, a daily security meeting begins with 10 foremen gathering to receive a briefing by Erik Jeppesen, the Health, Safety & Environmental (HSE) coordinator on the project for Maabjerg Energy Center who runs the plant. Eric discusses observations made during the weekend's safety inspection and the foremen plan how to best address issues of concern before work can begin.
The dialogue is constructive and informative. Erik commends the team for a good safety evaluation of a work area. He, in turn, is praised for a plan to equip all the plant’s trucks with blue signal lights that makes the trucks more visible to workers — a clever solution to reduce the risk of accidents.
"We are very aware of encouraging constructive interactions in the field of security," Erik said. "We want a safety culture that establishes mutual expectations for an accident-free workplace with our suppliers. They must live up to our safety requirements, and they should challenge us if they see areas we can improve. This kind of dialog and mutual commitment is essential".
Maabjergværket (MEC Bioheat & Power) in Holstebro
MEC Bioheat & Power is owned by the municipalities Struer and Holstebro and supplies 20,000 households in Northwestern Jutland with district heating.
"Our plants operate at very high pressure, high temperatures and have significant heights. It’s essential to be extremely safety-oriented in this industry," he emphasized.
Safety culture is supported by signage throughout the area, through regular safety briefings and exercises — and working safely is a requirement for all of its subcontractors.
"We work safely or not at all,” Erik explained. “That's how simple it is .We want to work with partners like B&W Vølund who can see themselves working within this culture, who can understand our priority and who can complement and deliver to our safety standards.”
"We and B&W Vølund have a difference in method, but not in culture,” Erik said. “We speak the same language and share the same values. It is clear that B&W Vølund puts resources into safety and sees safety as the most important priority on any job.”
“For example, we had a visit from B&W Vølund's HSE Coordinator and Production Manager who wanted to see the site and ensure that B&W Vølund actively contributed to our safety culture.
"At the same time, there was great interest in learning from what we do. The approach where we together make each other better is beneficial to everyone involved in the project,” he said.
Together, we strengthen safety
The cooperation on safety taking place at Maabjergværket is entirely in the spirit of B&W Vølund, says Ruth Kjeldsmark, HSE Manager at B&W Vølund.
"Our safety standards and culture are carried out by our senior management and managers in the field,” Ruth said. We believe it is critical to talk to the customer about safety to ensure everyone understands the task at hand. The time for reflection and discussion on how to address safety concerns, and avoid accidents, is well spent."
"Safety must be a culture you live and work for. We do not reach the goal just by means of hardware, but by behavior. Our safety culture is strong and at the same time flexible. We must be able to adapt to the given conditions, so it is always the highest common denominator we are working by. That's also how we focus attention on improving. We must listen and learn when we meet the customers so that we ensure that the best HSE practice is shared. Not only in B&W Vølund, but also with our customers. There is an expectation that we share lessons learned with our customer and it is a valued contribution,” she says.
Ruth Kjeldsmark: Work Environment Manager - HSE department manager.
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