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Evonik prevents accidents by also encouraging cautious behavior outside the workplace.
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Safety first—for many Evonik employees, this principle has long been part of their mindset. And the accident statistics at Evonik Industries have been decreasing for years. However, the accident figures for Group employees traveling to and from work are not so positive. As a result, Evonik launched a campaign in 2014 to raise its employees’ awareness of safety issues outside the job as well. Dr. Rainer Kohlen, Head of Occupational and Plant Safety in the Corporate ESHQ Unit, explains the concept behind the campaign.
Ever since we began keeping track of our Group-wide accident figures, the graph line for accidents on the job has steadily curved downward. By contrast, our commuting accidents have remained at roughly the same level for years. What's more, commuting accidents are generally more far-reaching than accidents on the job. For example, in many cases an auto accident, a fall from a bike or a motorcycle crash will have serious consequences that lead to a long absence from the job. Through this campaign we want to show our employees that our concern for their health doesn’t end when they shut the plant gates behind them.
Of course we have only a limited amount of influence on our employees’ behavior when they're on the road. But we hope that our campaign is raising their awareness of potential risks. We want our employees to be wide awake, with all their senses alert, as they come to work and travel back home. That's why we’ve called on them to describe the route they take to work, emphasizing potential danger zones. This process of judging risks has revealed some very telling information. For example, the employees at one of our locations reported that the view of a right-of-way sign near their plant was blocked. At another location, employees pointed out that a bike path had been overgrown by brushwood. In these cases we took action as a company. We got in touch with the respective municipalities, and in the case of the bike path we sent our gardeners to clear the path and make it safely passable again.
We’ve organized various join-in campaigns at many of our locations. During These "action days" the employees could, for example, cycle through a skills route for bike riders or have the roadworthiness of their cars checked by the German motor club ADAC free of charge. We also organized a very informative "action week" focusing on seat belt requirements. The employees responded very well to these activities, and I’m sure that quite a few of them rethought their attitude toward safety. But we're not going to stop there. In the years ahead we will continue to offer these kinds of activities.