Different risks in different settings
Most of our employees work in a low-risk physical environment such as an office or a call center. In these locations, issues such as psychosocial health and ergonomics need to be managed as part of our occupational health and safety (OHS) work.
More serious physical OHS risks are found in activities related to constructing and maintaining networks. This work is mainly outsourced, which means that dialog with and auditing of contractors is critical.
Supplier capacity building
By engaging with local contractors through training, auditing and capacity building, we can contribute to a better OHS environment in the markets where we operate. This is especially relevant in countries where local knowledge, understanding and resources are often seriously lacking. In some countries, especially in region Eurasia, we work with suppliers who meet few or none of our OHS requirements. According to our supplier audits, key elements of an OHS plan such as risk identification, safety equipment and training are often missing. In addition, we need to take into account differences in national OHS legislation.
Challenges to a common approach
We still face challenges in developing a common OHS approach in terms of expertise, awareness, processes and reporting. Because of the work and reporting culture in some countries, internal and external data does not reflect the actual situation since accidents and absenteeism are not always properly reported for fear of retaliation or contract termination.
Our OHS approach
As stated in the group OHS policy, our approach consists of promoting good health, identifying and reducing or preventing risks and rapidly reacting to ill health in all of our operations. We believe that all accidents, incidents, injuries, work related illnesses and unsafe actions and conditions are preventable and unnecessary.
Each employee must be aware of our safety standards and enforce them in the workplace. This includes completing provided training, reviewing communications and guidelines and ensuring that these standards are implemented without exception.
An OHS network of experts in all companies is led by group health and safety, which is part of group HR. These experts are trained internally and externally to ensure a similar level of expertise. The network carries out audits, supports the companies and shares best practice on a regular basis.
Activities during the year
OHSAS 18001 assessments and certification
OHS assessments were updated in all 15 major companies. The companies received evaluation reports and suggestions for improvement in relation to OHSAS 18001 (OHS management system) compliance. According to the assessment, most companies should be able to achieve certification by end of 2016. Based on the assessments, action plans on how to implement OHSAS 18001 were finalized by the local companies. Actions were largely the same as in 2014 and common to all companies:
- Improve expertise in identifying OHS risks in daily work through identifying, assessing and determining how to monitor them in a structured manner
- Improve management awareness and clarify accountability regarding OHS topics
- Carry out further training on the OHS policy and instruction for management and key OHS stakeholders such as contractors, HR staff and employees
- Improve documentation and reliability of reported data
Progress on these actions will be reviewed regularly and further action will be taken based on the results, with progress reported in local management team reviews. The findings of the assessments were also used to define updates to the OHS policy and instruction.
During the year, Ucell in Uzbekistan and Kcell in Kazakhstan received OHSAS 18001 certification.
75 percent of Sonera’s employees say they have enough flexibility in their work.
All companies organized OHS training for their employees. First aid training was especially appreciated and proved to be valuable: an Azercell employee who underwent first aid training saved another employee’s life by using methods learned in the course.
Additionally, supplier audit training was conducted for the OHS network, whose members will be performing supplier audits.
Planned activities in 2016
All companies shall have sufficient actions ongoing to be ready for OHSAS 18001 certification by end of 2016. These actions are largely the same as for 2015, and will be reviewed and supported by group health and safety.
In regions Sweden and Europe, focus will be on promoting and increasing employee well-being and engagement. Going forward the “engagement index,” which is based on the annual Purple Voice employee survey, will be used as a tool to measure, understand and develop engagement practices. We believe that better employee engagement and leadership will also help us reduce sickness absence.