At Nexans, Safety Is A Core Value
Somewhere in North America, a Nexans employee nicks their finger on a piece of equipment. They walk to the first aid station, apply an adhesive bandage, and get back to work. It’s nothing serious. But Steven Vermeulen wants to know about it.
The Executive Vice President in charge of Nexans’ Telecom & Data Business Group, Steven leads a global safety effort aimed at encouraging best practice for safe operations and eliminating risk.
“We monitor everything, from lost-time incidents and visits to the doctor to minor injuries; they’re all early indicators of potential problems,” Steven says.
“Eliminating or avoiding those problems makes us a better employer, supplier and community member.”
All Nexans employees in North America play a role in creating a culture of safety by learning to identify, assess and resolve workplace hazards and develop safe practices. Tools at their disposal include standardized safety rules, daily facility inspections performed by employees, safety assessment checklists to use before beginning a task, and Job Safety Analysis (JSA) training through workshops and team exercises.
“Everyone, at all levels of the company, must be involved in the development of safety best practices,” Steven says. “We take this very personally. No production goal is more important than the safety of our workers, customers and visitors.”
Along the way, incidents are closely monitored. Some companies might keep data like this hidden, but Steven says Nexans is committed to transparency.
“We don’t keep these things to ourselves,” he says, “because we see a benefit to sharing information. We are the first to say that we don’t have all the answers. We are committed to listening and learning. “
As an example, he cites the purchase of optical fiber made of glass: “Of course, glass has special handling requirements and that comes with associated risks. No one understands how to work with this material better than our fiber supplier. Who better to learn from?”
Over the past two years, Nexans North America has reduced lost-time incidents (injuries in the workplace resulting in time lost from work) by 67 percent, and decreased incidents requiring external medical treatment by 28 percent. Looked at from another angle, these reductions have prevented 28 employees from being severely injured at work.
These numbers are encouraging, but the company is not satisfied: “We are heading in the right direction, but Our True North is zero incidents,” Steven says. “I absolutely believe that is a realistic goal.”
A sign that hangs at the entrance of the Nexans Fuquay-Varina plant that tracks the number of days gone with out any incidents.
“We take this very personally. No production goal is more important than the safety of our workers, customers and visitors.”
Steven Vermeulen, Executive Vice President - Nexans Telecom and Data Business Group