Safety culture changes act by act

ARTICLE

11.02.2020 at 10:43
When a human error occurs on a site and safety is compromised, how do you raise the issue? Caruna's new safety coaches bring safety thinking and addressing skills forward in the organisation. Caruna always puts people's safety first. Everyone has the right to return home safely.

Injury frequency has long been a key indicator of Caruna's operations: the goal is to prevent all accidents. Much has been done to achieve this over the years, and to continue the work, the development of safety culture was designated as a key project at Caruna in 2019.  

"A safety culture is best visible in situations where you do your work without anyone else witnessing it. Safety must be ensured because it is important in itself, not because of control or other external factors. We are trying to influence these situations and thinking patterns through cultural change,” says Arsi Näkki, HSEQ Manager. 

At the beginning of 2020, work on the development of safety culture took a step forward, when eight Caruna employees engaged as safety coaches came together to learn how to promote safety culture to the rest of the staff. Coaching is the means. 

"We want to embed safety thinking deeper into the operations of Caruna employees and our contractors. Coaching is a good way to bring expertise to the organisation and thereby to the entire supply chain,” says Arsi. 

Safety is a matter close to our hearts 

safety coaches work in different roles in different units. One of the coaches is Niina Tervola, who works in the Customer Relations unit. She leads the corporate customer service team: the team helps Caruna's corporate customers with all issues.  

"Safety is reflected in my work, for example, when customers call us if they detect deficiencies on the sites. We guide our customers and their contractors on electrical safety, and my team also occasionally carries out safety walks and other site inspection visits," says Niina.  

As a supervisor, Niina was already familiar with coaching approach. The current training supported her previous skills, but also provided a wealth of new knowledge and ideas. She was also left with a concrete coach's booklet. 

"The top thing on my mind about the coaching training is enthusiasm. Safety was clearly a matter of heart for each of us and therefore everyone has a genuine desire to develop it," Nina summarises the mood of the training.  

Becoming a pioneer in safety 

Near misses and accidents are often related to human error, which can make it difficult to deal with them. As every incident is one too many, it is essential to be able to raise the issue and intervene in unsafe operations. Defects are an opportunity to learn and develop.  

Nina has been assigned five Caruna coachees, each of whom she will meet several times. The purpose of the meetings is to help the coachee find ways to handle safety issues effectively and constructively in various contractor meetings, such as on-site meetings.  

"Coaching takes time, but every coaching meeting is a reciprocal situation where both parties learn. I will certainly learn more about electrical safety," Niina anticipates. 

Safety is such an important issue that we need to invest in and spend time on it. The safety coaches also have the management's support. The entire Caruna management team has been trained in safety management, and each safety coach has been assigned a mentor from the management team. 

"Our common goal is to be a pioneer in safety. The management is committed to developing our safety culture, and every safety coach also has the motivation, enthusiasm and desire to develop our operations. At least that will not prevent us from succeeding," Arsi praises. 

The coming summer will measure what changes have taken place in the organisation. Will Caruna employees be able to address safety in a more constructive way in on-site meetings? Will we feel that safety is an integral part of everyone's job? It will then be decided how to continue the change journey. 

Caruna's safety coaches
Arsi Näkki and Niina Tervola bring safety thinking forward in the organisation.
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