Wienerberger’s vision is to be the number one employer in the building materials industry and in infrastructure solutions – a goal that includes, above all, safety at the workplace. The company therefore invests in ensuring a safe environment at its plants, in training for all staff members and executives, and in a broad range of health & safety initiatives.
Safety at work comes first
From forklift trucks to large and heavy machinery: Many employees at Wienerberger work with heavy equipment. Providing a safe working environment is therefore always a top priority. “The health and safety of our employees is a matter of fundamental importance, especially in the producing industry. As an employer, Wienerberger takes this responsibility very seriously”, says Ulrike Baumgartner-Foisner, Senior Vice-President Group Organizational Development & HR at Wienerberger.
The high priority accorded to safety is evident in the daily work routines at Wienerberger. In accordance with the “Safety First” principle, every top management meeting starts with safety at work as the first item on the agenda. In addition, the company makes every effort to keep its employees focused on the topic, insisting they proactively address safety issues and provide feedback on sources of danger.
“The health and safety of our employees is a matter of fundamental importance, especially in the producing industry. As an employer, Wienerberger takes this responsibility very seriously.”
Stated Objective: zero work-related accidents
As a leading industrial company with worldwide operations and 197 production sites, Wienerberger takes occupational safety extremely seriously. The Wienerberger Safety Initiative sets out mandatory requirements for safety standards and requires regular activities to promote occupational safety at all plants.
The company has a very clear vision: zero work-related accidents. Over the past ten years, the frequency of work-related accidents has been reduced by almost 80 percent. To improve its safety performance still further, Wienerberger continuously invests in operational machine safety, in initial and further training, in raising the safety awareness of its employees, and in the production environment. Regular reports on industrial safety document the progress that is made.
“Safety App”: reporting hazards via a smartphone
The “Safety app” developed by Wienerberger is a good example of how the company raises safety awareness: all employees can report potential hazards via a smartphone, for example by sending photographs. These are then processed, documented and reported without delay by the Health & Safety officers. The app has been downloaded more than 6,500 times and is an established internal tool at Wienerberger.
“Visible Leadership“ creates greater transparency
Another health & safety instrument at Wienerberger is “Visible Leadership”, which was designed, among other things, to create greater transparency and provide staff members with optimum support. In practice, this means that executives at all levels regularly visit the production sites and coach employees using a tried-and-tested approach. “It is quite simply a question of building up a safety culture – and that can only be done with the involvement of the management. In 2020 alone, top management visited 22 plants, in 2021 they had gone to 50 plants”, says Ulrike Baumgartner-Foisner. Safety training sessions are organized and held throughout the year.
Healthcare and COVID-19 measures
To protect the health of its employees, Wienerberger focuses heavily on prevention. All employees have access to regular health screening, medical services provided by company physicians, vaccinations and other services, such as advice on ergonomic workplace design and memberships in fitness clubs. Another focus area is best practice sharing: this enables employees to see what Wienerberger teams in other countries are doing and what can be learned from them.
A wide range of measures were implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic: Early on Wienerberger provided testing facilities, distributed face masks and introduced a work-from-home regime. Special COVID-19 task forces were responsible for ensuring a safe environment for employees working in the plants. Strict health and safety measures were implemented along the entire value chain. In addition, a psychological support hotline was installed, and regular management and team talks were introduced.
“During the Corona crisis, our main concern was to keep our employees and their families safe. We mastered the situation well and can now see light at the end of the tunnel. I am happy to work for a company that really cares for all its employees.”
Potential for the future: mental health
Wienerberger is currently offering an increased range of services in the field of mental health and mindfulness, topics which are continuously gaining in importance. In future, there will be an even stronger emphasis on employees’ mental health. Thus, for example, the provision of anonymous psychological support and psychotherapy will be expanded. In the area of occupational safety, the training rate will be steadily increased in the next few years and investments in machine safety will be made. In this way, Wienerberger provides a safe, motivating and pleasant working environment.