Arbonia's employees are the driving force, ambassadors, and key supporters of Arbonia's goal of supplying its domestic markets with energy-efficient, high-quality, and durable building products to promote energy-efficient new buildings and renovations for a resource-efficient future. They have shown themselves to be particularly dedicated, determined, and reliable under the difficult conditions and personal restrictions caused by the global medical emergency during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During this unusual time of the pandemic, Arbonia did not have to contend with an above-average number of absences or fluctuations, nor with reduced availabilities in distribution. As a result, it was possible to maintain production capacities at a high level. Particularly the commitment and conscientiousness in implementing the necessary protective measures at work as well as at home contributed to this.
Occupational health and safety is more than just avoiding accidents at work. Prevention, ergono mics, and well-being at the workplace are equally relevant. For Arbonia, occupational health and safety is a key issue. Developments are continuously monitored internally and externally, and risk prevention and health protection also play a central role in employee training.
The key figures for occupational health and safety cover the employees of all manufacturing companies of the Arbonia Group as well as the headquarters in Arbon, Switzerland. Pure distribution companies were not included.
Safety rests on many pillars
At the HVAC Division, the focus is on people. The health, satisfaction, and performance of employees are to be maintained and the sickness and accident rate min - imised. To achieve these goals, the occupational health and safety committee meets regularly in Plattling (D), among other places, and improvements are implemented where necessary. Internal area inspections and hazard analyses for all workplaces – by the company doctors, among others – are standard. During the COVID-19 pandemic, hygiene concepts were also drawn up and followed.
The division also cooperates with the industrial inspectorate and the employers' liability insurance association and undergoes external safety audits. For medical emergencies, it has efficient management plans with defined reporting chains. Employees are required to report dangerous situations immediately to their supervisor or the specially trained safety officer.
Employees are provided with the protective equipment and work safety clothing required for their work free of charge, and each employee receives safety instructions for their workplace. In addition, defibrillators are available at all locations. If an accident should occur or an employee is falling ill, shift paramedics and first aiders are available. Employees also benefit from company health programmes such as "Focus on People" and can take advantage of company medical care and preventative medical check-ups.
Involvement and training of employees
Employees are involved in the design of the occupational health and safety systems because they have valuable suggestions for improvement. The division offers regular internal and external safety training. Certain occupational groups, such as welders, crane operators, and forklift drivers, undergo special training, for example. In addition, employees can take advantage of training that is relevant to their field of work, provided by the employers' liability association for wood and metal. The statistics on sickness and accident rates provide a monthly overview of the current situation. The causes of each accident are analysed in order to eliminate dangers in the future.
The HVAC Division has been successful with its occupational health and safety concept. There are seldomly any absences due to accidents or illness. The employees are motivated and usually remain loyal to the company for many years. A low error rate and the high productivity underscore that occupational health and safety is well established in the division.
Bicycles for health
In the reporting year, the HVAC Division implemented further measures for the continuous improvement of health protection. For example, with the "Jobcycle" initiative, the company made it easier for employees at the Plattling site (D) to access e-bikes so that daily outdoor exercise could be better integrated into everyday life and the commute to work could also have a positive impact on one's quality of life and health.
Protecting and promoting health
For the Sanitary Equipment Division, the health of its employees has top priority, which is why it strives to keep sickness and accident rates as low as possible. In order to maintain and strengthen the health as well as the performance of its employees, it has initiated a wide range of measures. The employees of the division benefit from company health programmes such as the "Focus on People" programme as well as other activities. In addition, they have access to an extensive range of courses and training on a variety of subjects. They can also take advantage of company medical care and preventative medical check-ups.
The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated increased protection of employees also prompted the Sanitary Equipment Division to develop variable real glass protective partitions under the name "KermiPROTECT" or "Koralle SW100". These partitions elicited a huge response on the market. In addition to being used in offices, they can also be used in retail stores or restaurants. The glass products are distinguished from conventional Plexiglas variants by their high stability and permanent resistance to cleaning agents.
Careful prevention promises success
The division pursues the goal of identifying potential hazards before they arise. This is ensured, among other things, by regular meetings of the working committee. In addition to an analysis of the current situation, measures are derived to continuously improve occupational health and safety when necessary. Internal area inspections and hazard analyses for all workplaces – with the company doctors, among others – have now been implemented as standard. This makes it possible to identify specific challenges of individual workplaces or activities. In addition to this continuous internal self-auditing, the division also regularly receives feedback from external auditing bodies: These are area inspections by the industrial inspectorate and the employer's liability insurance association as well as external safety audits.
In the internal environment, the division acts through its predefined management plans and reporting chains. In order to identify any hazards directly where they happen, potentially dangerous situations must be reported immediately to the supervisor or the safety officers trained for this purpose. Shift paramedics and first aiders are always available in case of accidents or illness. The statistics on sickness and accident rates provide a monthly overview of the current situation and are a tool for management. In addition to this evaluation, the causes of each accident are analysed in order to avoid dangers in the future.
To protect the employees of the division, they are provided with the necessary protective equipment and work safety clothing free of charge, and they receive safety training when they start work. Another measure that can save lives in an emergency is the provision of defibrillators at all locations.
Codetermination and training
In the reporting year, the employees were once again involved in designing the occupational health and safety systems. The resolutions are not just specifications from the company but also the employees' own ideas and inputs. The specific training of certain occupational groups is essential for occupational health and safety; for example, special instructions are organised for forklift drivers. In addition, employees can take advantage of training that is relevant to their field of work, provided by the employers' liability association for wood and metal.
The occupational health and safety concept of the Sanitary Equipment Division has proven to be a complete success. There are seldomly any absences due to accidents or illness. Motivation and loyalty to the employer are the results. Coupled with a low error rate and high producti vity, this demonstrates that the division can show an exemplary result for occupational health and safety.
Fewer accidents and occupational illnesses
The Windows Division takes its duty to care for its employees very seriously. This is not only a matter of corporate responsibility but also has competitive reasons: Good safety management prevents costs and downtime and ensures a high production quality. Last but not least, applicants are increasingly paying attention to employers' safety standards and health benefits. The division aims to support its good reputation in this area through initiatives such as "Health & Safety first" and the new health and safety goals set in 2020, among others. These goals include lowering risks through the reduced use of hazardous substances as well as the systematic identification of ergonomically critical workplaces.
Safety data as a basis for planning
With regularly collected key figures and audits, the Windows Division is continuously improving its occupational health and safety management. Internal and external experts also contribute to this. In 2020, the division improved its accident analyses and introduced a new accident reporting system, among other things.
Occupational health and safety above the legal standard
The safety requirements in the manufacturing industry are high. All production sites are obliged to qualify safety specialists, in some cases also for individual topics such as environmental safety or handling chemicals. Inspections focusing on occupational health and safety and workplace controls are also mandatory. Instead of merely fulfilling these requirements, the division also has the implementation of the occupational health and safety measures checked by external authorities, such as the safety commission for the carpentry trade. The division also works with the Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund (Suva) and familiarises its employees with Suva's "Vital Rules", among other things. These rules cover topics such as securing objects and operating machinery according to regulations. Employees also have the opportunity to make their own suggestions for improving occupational health and safety. For this purpose, they can contact their supervisor or the safety specialist directly or submit their comments and ideas for process optimisation via the Intranet.
Comprehensive prevention and health services
The employees of the Windows Division can take advantage of comprehensive services in the area of health and occupational health and safety. These include occupational health management, company medical care and preventative medical check-ups, health and fitness programmes, as well as prevention campaigns together with Suva. After a long illness, employees also receive support in reintegrating into the workplace. The division also offers its employees individual ergonomic advice and training directly at their workplace. Aids such as standing desks and special mats for healthy standing are also made available to employees.
Regular training for risk protection
The Windows Division offers its employees the opportunity to attend internal and external courses to improve occupational health and safety. In 2020, for example, EgoKiefer in Altstätten (CH) held an emergency first aid course, and all installers received training on the topics of safety, health, asbestos, and assembly aids. In addition to general safety training, Slovaktual also conducted training in specific areas of work during the reporting year, such as handling electrical machines and forklift trucks. The regular training on health protection and hygiene at the workplace was also on the agenda. In addition to other training courses, the team leaders at Wertbau were trained in risk assessment, for example.
Occupational health and safety as a key value
For the Doors Division, occupational health and safety has a high relevance because it can prevent injuries and illnesses and, in extreme cases, even save lives. Invado therefore describes occupational health and safety as a key value and succinctly summarises its mission on occupational health and safety and hygiene as "Safety first. Always". The division constantly analyses and monitors the status of occupational health and safety in order to continuously improve. If accidents occur, their causes and consequences are precisely evaluated in order to be able to exclude dangers in the future.
The commitment to occupational health and safety also has advantages for operational processes and profitability and additionally reduces the risk of liability: Healthy employees mean little downtime, work processes can be planned well, machines are used optimally, and the product quality is high. For employees, it is motivating and strengthens their bond with the company when their employer is committed to their health and well-being and involves them in improving occupational health and safety. In every work contract, RWD Schlatter also commits to its customers to maintain a standard of occupational health and safety.
This task is everyone's responsibility
The division continuously sensitises its employees with appropriate information on the topic of occupational health and safety. Strict requirements and controls lead to high safety standards. The company's own committees take care of the different aspects of occupational health and safety; at Prüm and Garant, for example, these are the occupational health and safety committee, the health working group, the shop floor, and the works council committee for occupational health and safety. Occupational health and safety is also the responsibility of each individual employee, and everyone is obligated to report hazards and close calls. The division uses standardised processes to minimise hazards as much as possible. Prüm and Garant use a hazardous substances database and risk assessments, for example. Specific employee briefings on safety topics are standard at Prüm, Garant, and Invado. At RWD Schlatter, occupational health and safety is already included in the quality management but is continuously developed further by the safety officers and the shop floor management.
Active for health
Employees have access to occupational health services and health promotion programmes. The division subsidises membership in fitness clubs and yoga or Pilates classes. By promoting ergonomics, the division aims to prevent employee health problems such as back pain. In 2020, RWD Schlatter invested in new machines to reduce the workload, for example. By replacing older cranes and installing new ones, it was possible to improve ergonomics as well as efficiency in the cutting, manufacturing, and painting areas. The automation of individual production steps has also increased occupational health and safety. Every new employee receives a safety briefing for his or her workplace, and there are also regular training courses tailored to the requirements of different work areas. For example, there are training courses for technicians, engineers, and forklift drivers as well as instructions that authorise people to operate electrical and gas equipment. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, all training courses on occupational health and safety had to be cancelled at Prüm and Garant in 2020.
Risk protection in the time of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed considerable challenges for occupational health and safety. At Prüm and Garant in 2020, almost all activities of the occupational health and safety department revolved around protection against the virus. Thanks to the intra-company COVID-19 management, there were no production downtimes and no known permanent damage to health. Despite the difficult framework conditions in 2020, Invado also draws a positive conclusion on the topic of occupational health and safety: In an ISC occupational health and safety audit conducted on behalf of the ADEO Group, Invado achieved an overall grade of B with a score of 97 out of 100 possible points.