Health and Safety
Today there are many laws, ministerial decrees, and explanatory memorandums concerning occupational risk factors, purchasing manufacturing technology, organizing work, processing procedures, adopting workers' protection and prevention measures, which the employer must inevitably face up to.
Colacem has been working for years on workplace safety issues to ensure its workers a safe and healthy work environment. This policy has resulted in a 30% reduction in accidents, which moreover proved to be minor: in fact, in 2005 and 2006 the average days of absence were 2; in 2007 the average day of absence was only 1.
The strategy followed has always been characterized by transparency and cooperation with everyone involved. Transparency with the supervisory bodies, in orderly recordings, notification, and communication of accidents to INAIL (Italian Institute for Insurance against Industrial Accidents) and the local department of public safety; cooperation and involvement of all workers and trade union representatives in identifying health and safety issues and the possible solutions.
Colacem has formally defined, through a management model for workplace health and safety, the roles and responsibilities in managing safety, hazard identification and assessment systems, and safety control systems.
Training and Information
Colacem has focused on promoting and improving the professional aspects of its employees by offering frequent refresher courses, with a view to ensuring the development of greater consistency between the skills required by each role assigned to employees and those already in their possession.
Colacem has always devoted considerable resources for the best management of activities related to preventing and protecting workers from occupational hazards.
The results have been encouraging but, with a view to continuous improvement, in line with company development, a decision was made to provide additional impetus for the correct management of workplace safety and hygiene-related initiatives.
For this reason, an awareness and training project on workplace safety and hygiene was launched, which has the purpose to deliver punctual information to workers through more effective communication so they can learn about what they really need to work in safety.
In order to promote and disseminate safety culture among workers, the company has prepared a kit consisting of pictures, to hang in strategic points around the facilities, which reflect real work situations with short blurbs informing workers on the most common and recurring situations.
This system has particular advantages over “traditional training methods” such as:
it facilitates group discussion and active involvement of workers;
the simple and clear graphics stand out and are easy to remember, and provide new knowledge on health and safety issues;
it shows clear messages and meaningful images, to increase the attention span on safety-related issues, and induce socialization with one’s supervisors, managers, and co-workers;
it helps disseminate training and information to all workers (company employees and third-party companies working in the facility).
The REACH Regulation, concerning the Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals entered into force on 1 June 2007. REACH requires the registration of all substances, except those expressly excluded, manufactured in the European Union or imported into the EU.
In this area, Colacem has put a great deal of effort into punctually meeting all the deadlines set forth by this regulation and maintaining accurate documentation in order to monitor all substances used in its production process and to ensure compliance with this regulation by its suppliers.
In February 2005, numerous industrial associations chose to negotiate with the corresponding trade unions an “Agreement on workers’ health protection through the good handling and use of crystalline silica and products containing it”
The European decided to sponsor the project which envisions a flexible approach aimed at pursuing the goal of preventing and eliminating the risks linked to crystalline silica by adopting virtuous conduct agreed on between representatives of the industry and workers; from this negotiation the multisectoral Agreement came to life on crystalline silica (25 October 2006 with notification in the OJEU on 17 November 2006) to which the CEMBUREAU board voluntarily joined.
The application of this agreement by Colacem involved, in a first phase, conducting a risk assessment to identify those employees working in the production unit potentially exposed to respirable crystalline silica. Then, a work environment monitoring system was implemented to detect the presence of any dust, in accordance with protocol specified in the agreement. The surveys carried out on all the cement plants showed a very reassuring situation, with results to a great extent inferior to reference limits. Based on the results of the assessment we implemented the Good Practices described in the annex of the agreement, which includes outlines, in the form of example procedure sheets, for some of the activities (in part of a general nature, others specific to individual industries), presenting the risk of silica exposure.
The next steps concerned:
The identification and specific training of individuals in the company and facility involved in specific tasks regarding the application of the Agreement.
Informing and training employees on crystalline silica in general and the Agreement in particular;
Monitoring the application of the Agreement whose results are and will be the subject of reports to send every two years to the Italian Association, which will provide for summarizing them in the report of the Italian Industry which will then be sent to the European Association.
The implementation of the agreement has provided Colacem and the entire cement industry an opportunity to develop and promote health protection measures for workers who have been working for some time now in the group’s production unit.