Several investments in occupational safety, well-being and education

Occupational safety is very important in Waste-to-Energy plants like Westenergy. The regulations must be followed stringently, and current issues are updated promptly. We also support the community and well-being at work in many ways.

According to Rauno Tuokkola, Maintenance Manager and Occupational Safety Manager, anything could happen at the plant, especially during maintenance shutdowns. Falls from scaffolding, cuts, injuries caused from hot objects or scratches caused by angle grinders are real risks. Fortunately, Westenergy has not had any accidents for two years. This is due to the daily controls of occupational safety:

– We follow the occupational safety rules very carefully and ensure that our service providers also comply with them. Anyone working at Westenergy undergoes health and safety orientation training, whether for a shutdown or a longer period. In 2017, the health and safety orientation became web-based, meaning that a person can already receive it before starting work, says Rauno.

A 15-minute occupational safety session will always be held with the staff whenever there is a current issue on occupational safety at the plant. Potential hazards and employee behaviour at the plant are regularly monitored during our occupational safety rounds. Each employee also makes notifications about close call situations that will then be reviewed and corrected. The goal is to make a total of 120 notifications during the year; the total for last year was 146.

Healthy staff

Westenergy is part of the national Zero Accident Forum, a network of workplaces that aims at continuously improving occupational safety and well-being as well as promoting good practices. In addition to occupational safety, Westenergy widely invests in occupational well-being and in the workplace atmosphere. Every year, staff are offered the opportunity to participate in various health promoting campaigns. Last year, First Beat measurements were made, using devices which follow a person’s heart rate for four days and tell, for example, about their sleep. Westenergy’s staff appears to be healthy: in 2017, the sick leave rate was only 2.98% and many employees were not off work for even a day.

Work in a small organisation is versatile and everyone can take responsibility here.

– In 2017, we made a work hygiene measurement at the plant. We wanted to see what kind of exposures can be found there. In 2016, a regulation on the exposure of personnel to electrical and magnetic fields came into force, so we also measured them last year. We noticed some items where the fields are strong; for example, near the generator and in the vicinity of the electrical cabinets, says Rauno.

Well-being through education, exercise and doing together

An important part of Westenergy’s occupational well-being is staff training. Each employee is provided with a personal training plan based in the development discussion, which considers both the employee’s own training needs and the company’s needs. Although every employee has undergone first-aid training, the participation in training is more widespread; for example, many members of the plant’s operating staff have undergone machine-technician training.

There are many ways in which Westenergy cares about a good working atmosphere: through various types of (often sporty) staff events and exercises together outside working hours.

– We are a physically active work group in a nice working community. Work in a small organisation is versatile and everyone can take responsibility here. (Environmental Manager Substitute, Juha Ripatti)

– I already liked the versatility of this place as a summer worker. Every day brings new tasks. It feels good to do important work for the environment, says Communications Officer Sanna Hautamaa.