The Finnish chemical industry’s Safety Award highlighted goal-oriented operations, new initiative and safety skills among young people | Trade Union Pro
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The Finnish chemical industry’s Safety Award highlighted goal-oriented operations, new initiative and safety skills among young people

16.4.2019 16:40
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On 16 April 2019, the chemical industry’s Safety Award was granted to Nalco Finland Manufacturing, Kraton Chemical and Neste. The prize for educational institutions was awarded to the Chemical Engineering programme of Centria University of Applied Sciences. Borealis Polymers and Nokian Tyres received an honorary mention.

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The Safety Award granted by the Finnish chemical industry is aimed at promoting safety in companies and educational institutions operating in the field of the chemical industry. In the category for educational institutions, the role of these facilities in developing safety skills and thinking among young people is emphasised.

Nalco Finland Manufacturing was the winner of the category for small companies. The company’s entire personnel is actively engaged in safety work. The company arranges extensive training to strengthen employees’ safety expertise and its safety observations also highlight safe conduct. The company’s activities and results demonstrate that small businesses can also take significant steps forward in safety matters.

Kraton Chemical came first in the category for medium-sized businesses. Over the past four years, the company has come on in leaps and bounds in safety matters, with the help of its entire staff.  It actively implements new safety initiatives and collaborates closely with other operators. One example of such activities is the company’s engagement in the Yrityskylä learning environment, which includes a miniature factory that introduces safety matters to schoolchildren.

Neste, the winner of the category for large companies, launched its comprehensive, company-wide Way Forward to Safety development programme in 2015. Safety culture, management systems, contractor management and process safety were all improved on the programme. All of the company’s employees participated strongly on initiating the programme, for example by giving their safety promises in teams and by developing their safety knowledge. The initiative resulted in significant improvements in the standard of safety within the company. It also gave rise to a new management model for continuous improvement implemented in early 2019.

The prize in the category for educational institutions was awarded to the Process and Material Technics, Chemical Engineering programme of Centria University of Applied Sciences. Its study entity TalenttiTehdas featured safety as one of the main themes. As the culmination of this course section, the students participated in a multidisciplinary accident simulation and prepared training videos related to the companies’ facilities. The course was realised in close collaboration with local industry, utilising methods that were similar to real-life situations.

The jury also awarded honorary mentions. Borealis Polymers has adopted methods based on social psychology as a new approach to the development of safety culture. Nokian Tyres has taken a huge leap forward in safety matters over the past two years.

In the category for educational institutions, the jury also wanted to highlight institutions that received a special mention: The Aalto University School of Chemical Engineering, the Department of Chemistry of the University of Helsinki and the Viikki Teacher Training School of the University of Helsinki. All these institutions have developed new courses and teaching materials in the area of chemical and laboratory safety that will also benefit other institutions.

- Being on the jury was such a joy. The applications demonstrated strong interest and involvement in the development of safety. Both companies and educational institutions have implemented new initiatives that will bring benefits to safety in the future too. We particularly encourage the sharing and utilisation of the good practices that emerged in this competition, says Merja Vuori from the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland, who acted as the competition coordinator.
 

The awards were presented at the Chemical Industry Federation event Kemiat kohtaavat in Helsinki on 16 April 2019. The prize has been awarded three times previously, in 2010, 2014 and 2017. This was the second time that the category for educational institutions was included. The competition was arranged as collaboration between the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland, the Industrial Union, Trade Union Pro and the Federation of Professional and Managerial Staff. This was the first year that the Finnish National Agency for Education participated in the jury.  The chemical industry’s Safety Award is part of the Responsible Care programme and the Turvallisuuskumppani (Safety Partner) collaboration initiative.